DON’T BE LIMITED BY YOUR OWN PERCEPTION

Mechanics are underselling their experience and abilities, says Craig Baills of Highfields Mechanical

For years our industry has been internally boxed up by our own perceptions, our own opinions and our own values, limiting our ability to grow and move forward.
Your perception is not that of your customers and your opinion is not necessarily theirs and thus, we can hinder the profitability and development of our business and trade through our own perceptions.
As mechanics and as mechanics that have turned business owners, by nature we want to fix problems; and fix cars specifically. We do this to the best of our abilities and we are damn good at it, but we often let our perception of value and cost dictate what the cost of a repair should be.
Too often we undersell our experience and abilities because we can complete a job quickly and efficiently due to our experience and skill set.
Too often we see a business down the street, or on the internet, undervalue a job because they have no objective perception of how to value their ability or they don’t realise what the consumer’s actual expectation or perception of the value of the job is. Often the two are worlds apart.
Delivering quality, value and professionalism in all aspects of our trade is where we are at right now. From the moment we first answer the phone or a face-to-face enquiry, our customers start to develop a perception of expectation when they deal with us.
If we drop the ball at this point of enquiry, we lower our standards and lower our perceived value. If we deliver courteous, friendly service with great communication, and present a quality workshop, our perceived value increases.
Once we receive the vehicle and carry out the necessary repairs, putting our finishing touches on the service or repairs, the perceived value can again increase or decrease.
The repairs we carry out, and in particular servicing, more often than not won’t be recognised by the consumer. However, if we take the time to let them feel and experience our quality of service, the perceived value continues to grow.
Adjustment of handbrakes, a clean windscreen, a washed car, lube stickers, a clean dash, drop off and pick up, loan cars and convenience are all things which build confidence in the minds of our customers that we have provided value and quality and as such, diminishes notions that we may feel of being too expensive.

Experience is a commodity that cannot be sold to the cheapest bidder – experience takes years to develop and maintain, so please don’t undersell your experience or ability just because another shop claims they can do a job quicker or cheaper.
Instead, sell your experience and your value and deliver quality service to meet the expectations of your customers while remembering the perception of the customer starts from the moment they lay eyes on your business.
Good business owners will try to understand the perceptions and mentalities of the consumer they want to deal with and deliver great service to this market, while investing back into their business to increase profitability, improve growth and deliver quality.
If you sell yourself and your business as cheap, that will be all you get: cheap! If you promote and deliver quality, you guessed it, you will get quality, and in particular you can sell an appropriate price tag that will come along with it.
We are very often guilty of making decisions for our customers because we feel a repair may be too expensive, not worth it, or quite possibly, they cannot afford it. Give them the decision, communicate with them, explain the options and give them choice.
We often try to read a customer, but at the end of the day, we don’t know their situation. Instead, offer advice, service and value and don’t let your perception of a customer or their vehicle get confused with the customer’s perception of the expected outcome. Provide options for repairs and give the consumer the facts to manage their perception of what is required.
For every customer and every job, always play your best hand – the odds of a great return will always be much greater and the outcomes and perception so much more beneficial.
Here’s to the future,
Craig Baills
Highfields Mechanical