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Things I learned from my mechanic this week.

May 20, 2011

My wife and I have two local mechanics that we work with.  One is a small gas and service station, and the other one is part of a well-known national franchise.  I tend to lean towards the latter and she the former.

I recently had a lot of work done at the national franchisee, and I was quite happy with the price and follow-through on the job.  There were repairs that were suggested that I chose to delay, as I wanted to budget some dollars over time.  Also I am considering selling the car anyway, so I wanted to look at more of a minimum level of work.

My wife got an oil change from the independent gas/service station about 2 weeks ago.  She paid a little tiny bit extra for a multi point safety check, and was informed that we probably have about 10K more miles until we need brakes.  With that in mind, we formed an informal intermediate-range budget plan in mind, knowing that her daily driving habits would mean we wouldn’t need brakes until well into next year (her office is about 300 yards from our street and she often walks to work).

So imagine my surprise when my wife tells me 10 days later that the brakes feel funny, and are making an awful sound?

Yeah, I bought front brakes and rotors last night.

Turns out that the small independent gas/service station has a reputation among the other mechanics in our area.  We would have never known this as consumers, but apparently they are famous for trying to cut customers a break by under-estimating and  being as gentle as possible when forecasting repairs.  There is an underlying fear of turning customers away when faced with massive repair bills for a full-scope of work.  In reality, instead of doing us a favor, they actually ended up hurting us by NOT giving us the full-scope of the potential repair.  They probably just glanced at the pads and figured the fronts were fine without removing anything to closely examine.

Yes, I’m not pleased I paid additional for a “safety check” and they didn’t pick up on something as important as work brakes and pads.

The issue here is something deeper.

(1) As a  sales professional, if you intentionally pitch LESS than the potential client REALLY needs to meet their needs, are you really doing them a favor?

(2) Pitching low and then taking the “nickel/dime” approach if done purposefully or accidentally due to sloppiness or laziness, is not acceptable.  If done purposefully it is nothing short of unethical.  If done accidentally it’s sheer incompetence.

Given that you may be pitching a prospective client in a competitive situation – always be sure you are (a) full in understanding of the client’s (FULL) needs, (b) mindful of being able to stack up your solution to your competitions apples/apples, and (c) always operating with the client’s success in mind instead of a hazy perception of what their expectations “might” be.


One Comment
  1. Joe permalink
    May 23, 2011 4:11 pm

    Thank God the horse was on the side of the car!!

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