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Always remember to ask for the sale

By Liz Keener

Recently my car required an oil change. Since I bought my pre-owned car from a dealership that carries a different brand than my car’s manufacturer, I couldn’t go to the selling dealership for the oil change.

So the search began. I only made a few phone calls before tasking my husband with taking the car in. But those phone calls I made surprised me. When I called, no one tried to book an appointment.

I called, asked how much the oil change for my specific make and model would cost. I was given a price, and then I said I might call back, and I hung up. No appointment was made. This dealership lost not only an oil change customer that week, but a potential service customer (and maybe even a trade-up customer in the future).

Because I bought my car at a dealership that doesn’t carry the same brand as my car is, I’ll likely need a dealership to help me with future needs not covered by my extended warranty. So it would make sense that if I can find a dealer to give me a top-quality oil change, that I’ll gladly return to the same dealership for other service needs.

When I called one particular dealership, the price of the oil change was reasonable, but of course, I was still shopping around, as many customers do. Instead of simply letting me hang up the phone, the woman answering the phone should have said, “Your oil change will cost $39.95 (or whatever the price was), what time this week should I schedule you in for?” or “Your oil change will cost $39.95. I have an opening at 8 a.m. tomorrow; does that work for you?” If she would’ve, I would have agreed to set an appointment.

Instead I hung up. My husband brought my car somewhere else, and I’m still in search of that dealership that will turn into my regular service stop.

It’s not a big change to add those lines to your phone script (hopefully you have one), and it’s not even a high-pressure sale. It’s a question. It’s a commitment to your customer that you’re prepared to take care of her. With that one question, you just might make a customer for life.

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