Informing Clients About the Diagnostic Fee

It's All Covered
Under My Warranty, Right?

A great topic for your next training session
How to Inform Clients About the Diagnostic Fee

How many times a day do you think your team hears this statement?   


"It's all covered under my warranty, Right?"    


It is always risky to make this promise because as soon as we do, we find out that something has happened to cause the repair to be declined.  It usually only takes one or two times for an advisor to have to tell a client "It's not covered", for them to understand this situation needs to be handled differently. So based on request we decided to help them out.


As a defense mechanism advisors often blurt out the fee before anything has happened to make clients feel confident that they are in a place that truly cares about their concerns.  We recommend that they always wait until we have completed the entire walk-around process to talk about money.   Never make a big deal about the fee or ask for it up front.  Remember in all selling the relationship has to start before we talk about price.   Our job is to make clients feel comfortable with their decision to leave their vehicle in our hands while building in the value of the dealership.


Warranty Client


"Mr./Ms._______ you have given me some great information to pass on to your certified technician about your concerns. All I need is a signature approving the diagnostic fee of $____ to get started.   I will do everything possible to get an approval for the repairs from your warranty company/manufacturer so you will not owe anything (unless they require a deductible).  If for any reason they will not cover the repair, I will call you with a complete estimate before we proceed.


This word track makes it clear that the advisor is an advocate for your client not an adversary.  In your training session practice the explanations about extenuating circumstances or wear that may play a part in the decision.


No Warranty Client


"Mr./Ms.________ we appreciate the opportunity to take care of your concerns.  We will have a certified technician thoroughly inspect and diagnose your vehicle.  Once we have answers, I will put together a complete estimate and call for your approval before we proceed with the repairs.  All I need now is for you to approve our diagnosis fee of $____ and we will get started."


After this word track is delivered you could easily add in your follow-up call word track giving the one hour window.


"You can expect your first update call between __ and ___.   Which number will be best at that time?"


Keep in mind with some concerns you may have to ask for more time or at least let the clients know of the possibility.  The promise of a call before you proceed with more time or repairs will be your best way to reassure your clients.


If you up-sell maintenance and have a diagnostic fee, give one total price for all after your benefit based presentation.  Too many numbers can overwhelm and you will lose the sell.


After you have reviewed the word tracks remember to role-play! Practice is the key getting your team to deliver this message with confidence!


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Comment by Sally Whitesell on August 7, 2014 at 10:01am
I appreciate both of your comments and Bernard, I couldn't agree with you more!
Comment by Marsh Buice on June 3, 2014 at 3:10pm
Great word tracks Sally- I will share with my service dept! Always appreciate your work ;)
Comment by Bernard London on June 3, 2014 at 1:31pm

Great article Sally. This is a tricky one that comes up a lot. In my experience as an advisor and manager and now trainer/consultant I saw/see this a lot. One of the key factors here is the "marriage" between service-sales and F & I. How many times do we hear  "---my sales person / F & I manager told me everything will be covered----". I am aware that often in the front end closing process there is so much going on that many times the customers do not "hear" everything that is said. Warranties and after market service contracts need to be explained very clearly and the acceptance of understanding needs to be a part of every sales closer / F & I manager's "menu". Revenue generated from from service contracts can be a huge plus for the service department and if introduced correctly by the "front end" it should not be an issue. Full disclosure, transparency and honesty up front, on the part of the service adviser/consultant, is extremely important here.

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