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Value Over Price: Upselling Customers Through Consultative Selling

U.S. AutoForce - Friday, March 3, 2017

For most consumers, tires represent a major investment during the automotive ownership lifecycle. While price is almost always a key consideration for consumers, the ability of service advisors to take a consultative approach in selling to the individual customer is key to upselling them on their purchase. While many consumers initially say they “want whatever is cheapest”, this response is predicated on the fundamental misunderstanding that all tires are basically the same. Educating the consumer in order to help them see VALUE is key to upselling them on their purchase.

Service advisors have a responsibility to do more than just quote prices. Successful advisors utilize their knowledge and expertise to be consultative in their interaction with customers. Consultative selling, sometimes called “needs based selling”, is all about conversation between salesperson and customer. Service advisors need to take the time to talk with customers to understand their expectations for tire performance relative to the lifestyle demands of the customer’s vehicle. Based on that understanding, the advisor is able to make recommendations to the customer which position VALUE propositions over simple price comparisons. Let’s imagine two customers:

Mary drives a Ford Expedition and uses the vehicle for a lengthy work commute and to tow a large horse trailer to shows across the region on the weekends.

Amy owns the same Ford Expedition, but uses the vehicle mostly just for driving kids to school and for running errands around town.

Looking at our two customers, the demands on the tires they choose will be fundamentally different despite the fact that they both drive the same vehicle.

Given how the tire will be utilized, the service advisor can point out differences between tire options relative to price. Tire lifespan can be an important factor in positioning value with a consumer. A more expensive tire might last significantly longer for Mary who drives more miles and tows her horse trailer, making the overall value significantly more attractive.

Specific tire features can also convey value to a consumer based on their lifestyle. For Amy driving kids around town, the perceived security of run-flat technology might make a more expensive tire a more attractive choice. By effectively interviewing the customer to understand their lifestyle, service advisors will be better equipped to identify the value propositions likely to resonate with them.

By talking the time to thoroughly understand customer needs, service advisors can identify products that best fit the customer’s lifestyle. Through a consultative approach and identifying differences between products relative to customer needs, the service advisor will be better able to upsell the customer simply by providing them with the knowledge to recognize VALUE in their tire purchase as a greater consideration than simple price comparison.