1. You don’t inspect shocks and struts.
Are you simply looking for catastrophic damage? Do you only look at the shocks and struts once the driver complains of a noise or when the vehicle can’t be aligned?
The first step in selling ride control may be the inspection process. A visual inspection of your shocks and struts can let you know a lot about the state of the ride control units. It is a chance to ensure the vehicle is road-worthy prior to put your very own life at an increased risk.
Seek out signs the units may be leaking oil, such as accumulation of road grime or oil inside boots and dust shields. Be on the lookout for “witness marks” that indicate the suspension could have bottomed out recently. Make certain all bushings and hardware for the ride control units are still about the vehicle.
Walk around the vehicle and perform the tried-and-true “knee-on-the-bumper” test. It is a opportunity to quickly seek out abnormal behavior, though this test is not really conclusive by itself. If you notice binding or looseness, or if the car does not get back to the original ride height, there might be a problem with the ride control components.
2. Your test drives need work.
When you don’t perform a test drive, you will be not using your most powerful ride control tool: perspective. A technician or service writer behind the wheel brings fresh senses to the vehicle that haven’t been dulled by a large number of miles.
You should have a precise list of symptoms and related conditions the individual might be experiencing, before the test drive. Around the test drive, you should have a definite and methodical plan that inspects for ride control component replacement and other unperformed repairs.
A good test driver will be able to observe conditions or problems with the car that have developed so slowly the owner is unaware of them – like degraded shocks and struts. One of the secrets to becoming a good test driver is to find a driving “loop” or route that includes a variety of road conditions. A predetermined loop adds a consistency which helps you spot small problems.
For suspension road tests, your test loop should consist of sections: a flat and straight section; an area to examine braking and acceleration; a location with a dip or bump; and an area that offers both left and right turns.
Use a parking area or rarely used area of road to the braking and acceleration part of the test. This test can be used to detect brake pulls, torque steer and worn or loose suspension or steering components. Check for excessive nose-diving during braking. This may not be normal and may be a result of worn springs or other ride control components.
Excessive suspension bouncing could possibly be the result of weak shocks; bottoming out of the suspension may be the reaction to weak springs. Check for steering difficulties which might be the result of mechanical binding or interference.
Any excessive body sway could indicate worn springs, shocks or stabilizer assemblies. Listen for any excessive tire squealing during turns. This can be caused by incorrect alignment settings or even a turning angle out of specifications.
Developing a methodical and consistent test drive loop and procedure can improve the chances of you coming back from your test drive with an understanding of the problem the property owner is experiencing. Also, an agenda and a loop can eliminate distractions that could lead to a crash.
3. You don’t work with an inspection form.
The technician should be supplied with a checklist to make notes. Some ride control manufacturers can provide you with printed forms. These forms assist the salesperson become more confident in the selling process.
A complete inspection lays the groundwork for excellent customer communications and increases the possibility of a sale. The outcome of the inspection can help personalize the sales pitch to the individual customer.
4. You chicken out on the recommendation for loaded struts.
Even if the customer will not buy today, the inspection form, sales approach and pitch will likely keep with the consumer beyond the generic “recommend loaded struts.” They will probably return, which implies your efforts will never be in vain.
5. Your car is in need of a ride control tuneup.
To boost your confidence in selling loaded struts, have new units installed on your own vehicle. You will be impressed by the difference in case your vehicle has more than 50,000 miles. Also, you are going to sell more units because you have a better view of the perceived value.
By holding local clinics where you can drive vehicles in various states of ride control degradation, some ride control manufacturers allow you to. These events are typically kept in parking lots on specifically created courses that magnify certain vehicle dynamics at low speeds. These events can energize a shop to sell ride control products more effectively.
6. You are frightened of losing a tire sale.
Tires are certainly not cheap. Are you afraid to recommend new shocks and struts because the customer might bolt for the door when they hear the price for new loaded struts, when you get near to the sale? You shouldn’t be. New shocks and struts protect your time and money in their tires.
It really is time for brand new ride control components, when a vehicle is ready for its second or third set of tires. This is founded on mileage along with the expense and premature wear that degraded ride control can have on new tires.
7. You utilize your squinted thumb and eye to check ride height.
OEMs include ride height specifications and measurement procedures in their service information for most reasons. The main reason is that springs wear out. The ride height also can be used as a diagnostic tool to determine the condition of your suspension. This requires more than your thumb then one closed eye.
Research the factory methods and specs to properly measure ride height. Neglecting to do this can impact the life in the shocks and struts and all of angles of alignment. Among other considerations, engineers design the chassis and ride control components so that the ride height places the suspension at a particular point midway in its travel. Midway may not be the center, however.
Most springs are constructed with metal. Have a coat hanger or welding rod and bend it in the same area several times, as a simple example. It would eventually break from metal fatigue.
8. You start towards the bottom and try to work your way up.
Do you be cautious? Do you get started with the least expensive option and try to work your way up? When selling ride control components, it is really an effective sales tactic to start with premium products first instead of the economy or less-expensive option. This gives you a little room to provide the individual options that meet their vehicle and budget life expectancy.
Chances are that the customer wants the best. Starting the estimate with the least expensive alternative can lower your profit. Sure, quoting the lowest price might get some customers within the door, but it really may leave some customers wanting more.
9. You hate hearing “no.”
It has been estimated by one shop that 50 percent of their ride control sales happen on the second visit. What this means is a large percentage of its first time sales pitches for ride control were shot down on the initial try.
Don’t give up.
10. There is no incentive to sell loaded struts and shocks.
First, try increasing at least the amount of ride control component inspections and recommendations to customers. Next, set a sales goal.