with Paul Kordon, Dentmasters (Tysons Corner, Virginia USA)
What follows is unfortunate but predictable. One guy comes in at $150 while another bids $550. Same dent, same car, two totally different prices. Inevitably the guys who are closer to the $150 mark blame it on their “market” but is that really the reason for the wide gap?
Here are a few reasons why many retail PDR techs CAN get $550 for that job no matter what geographical area you are in or what you believe your “market” will tolerate.
- Any given vehicle will cost the same to purchase, operate, maintain, and repair in any given market.
- High quality PDR results are always superior to a conventional repair. Always!
- The vehicle is returned to a true pre-accident condition & value.
- Turn around time on repairs are always shorter than a conventional repair.
These points are irrefutable. They are solid facts that are recognized by most in the industry including insurance companies and conventional repair shops. But do our professionalism, salesmanship, and prices reflect that?
The facts are true. The proof exists. But we still have one problem…our customers don’t care. Why? Because we haven’t educated them about why they should care. Why haven’t we educated them? Because many of us haven’t taken the time to be educated ourselves.
It’s time to get professional. That means taking the time to get educated about our industry and about presenting our service with pride and understanding. Not just understanding the PDR industry better but understanding how it fits into the broader auto body repair industry as well.
“Sometimes the best way to understand what we need to learn is to look somewhere we haven’t looked for something we didn’t know we were looking for.”
I’m talking about asking some of our conventional repair shops questions about their industry, or looking for new tools from a different industry to be used in our type of work, or attending other industry seminars and conferences. It’s amazing what you find when you ask questions and keep your eyes open for something new.
We are the experts, so we must take our jobs seriously and approach each customer interaction and repair with true professionalism backed by industry knowledge and innovation.
Let me take a minute to drop some knowledge. The truth is our PDR customers are looking to spend their hard earned money on a high quality, legitimate solution. First you must own the position of someone who can solve their problem. Own it! Sell yourself as well as your service. Both the solution you offer and the expertise you present hold great value in the customer’s mind.
Secondly help your customer understand the difference between PDR and the alternative.
PDR is faster, retains the vehicle’s original factory paint and parts, restores pre-accident value, and avoids a vehicle history report.
In my opinion these points make PDR a better value than conventional repair.
I can hear your thoughts now! “Wow! With all those benefits to the customer how can I continue to tell them that we charge fifty to seventy five percent less than a conventional repair?”
Well here is my answer: STOP TELLING THE CUSTOMER THAT!
That’s right, I’m raising my voice. This is really important and we have all done it! Many of us continue to unintentionally lowball our own prices. If our service really is more valuable than the alternative then we need to stop selling it as if it is less valuable.
Ok now I hear your next question, “But customers, including insurance companies will never pay a PDR company more than it cost to perform a conventional repair.”
Retail customers as well as insurance companies will pay higher than conventional prices for PDR! I have seen it with my own eyes and continue to see it more and more. You will get push back! You will not close every estimate! You will have to negotiate, educate, communicate, and…ready for it…SELL, if you want to realize these results. Once PDR technicians get on the same page, and start using these techniques to justify the value of our service, higher retail and insurance prices will become the norm and not the exception
I can hear your next thought even now! “Did he say sell? Hmmmph!”
Yep. Remember that you are a professional. Professionals sell. They sell themselves, their knowledge, their skill, their influence, and even their agenda! Be a professional!
Treat customers like you would want to be treated
- Have integrity
- Be a person of character
- Practice honesty
- BE PROFESSIONAL!
- If you don’t think customers can see through that then you’re fooling yourself!
- Look them in the eyes
- Say hello
- Call them Ma’am and Sir
- Be genuine
- Care about them
It’s amazing how using these simple approaches will create a sense of trustworthiness in your customers. Once you’ve fully educated them about the process and earned that trust, the final price is a very small factor in the customer’s decision to give you their business.
Remember this; We are all retail consumers. We all prefer to spend more on a product or service that is backed up by the retailer, or that promises to do what it says it will do. We all are willing to pay a little more for convenience and for a quicker turn around time no matter the service. Every one of your retail customers feel the exact same way.