How to Reply to Unspoken Questions with Unspoken Answers…

Today’s post was written by Bud Abraham (Oregon, USA), who is the owner of Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems. Bud also runs a very successful blog with numerous articles, which will help not only detailers, but all car repair professionals, to boost their performance.


Even if this article Bud wrote for car detailers, the principles described here are 100% applicable to the collision repair shops owners. Indeed, taking care of your customers’ cars is a service, and impression or “feeling” as Bud is referring to it, is the key for success or a cause of poor customer satisfaction. What I particularly liked, is the idea of VAS (value added services), which do not cost a lot, but leave a sweet aftertaste. Car body shop repair shop should, for example, deliver the vehicle to a customer clean and with pleasant scent applied. There are many inexpensive ways to make your customer feel good. These small things will put your business ahead of the competition and bring you returning and happy customers. 

“Being in the detail business you are in the “service industry,” versus the much easier task of selling products.

As a detail business owner much of your success, realize it or not, is based on the 80% principle: “Over 80% of how your customer decides if you did a good or a bad job is based on their relationship with you.”

Yes, success in the detail business is largely based on your customer’s “FEELINGS.”

But there is good news/bad news to this story….

The “bad news” is that customers do feel uncomfortable, vulnerable and even intimidated (especially women) when they leave their vehicle with you. For many you are a tolerated irritation for customers.

The “good news” is that you can manage this, and the feelings of your customers with “valued added services.”

Unspoken Questions & Unspoken Answers

No doubt you very often hear verbal questions such as “How much for…? or “Do you use a buffer on my paint?” or “How long will it take for the carpets to dry?” And, of course, the “How soon can you fit me in?”

But the customer does have questions that they don’t verbalize. For example here are some of the “Unspoken Questions:

  1. Can I trust this person? Will they steal something from my vehicle? Will they damage my vehicle?
    Sure you and your employees are trustworthy, BUT a first time customer does not know this.
  2. Are they going break something and not tell me?
  3. Will they do the job correctly, no swirls in the paint? How will I even know if the job is done right?
  4. Will they stick with their quoted price, or call me and tell me that they have found something that is going to take more time and cost more money?

The BIG question for you is the “Moment of Truth” Unspoken Answers that you provide to reassure the first time customer.

The value added services you can provide goes a long way to provide answers to the Unspoken Questions.

Whatever value added service (VAS) you provide: a paint sealant vs a wax; a anti-stain treatment on carpets; water repellant on the windshield are all things that have value for the customer and do not cost you much of anything.

The result of the VAS is “cheerleaders” that will sing the praises to everyone they know about you and your detail business.

So try to remember your customers have Unspoken Questions to which you can give Unspoken Answers. It is all about how much time and attention you provide the first time customer. Take your time with all customers so their Unspoken Questions are answered.

This is what makes for a successful detail business not how well you buff the scratches out a paint finish or how clean you make the interior.

As always, good detailing”



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