Be Prepared

Order Reprints

Have you prepared for your first impression? Being prepared will help you stay on top of your appearance, confidence, communication and what is the best value-added service to offer. If you hesitate, you may lose out on a second opportunity.

We are human. We draw conclusions from what we see with our eyes. Personal appearance can say a lot about us. When we are clean and well groomed, others will more likely be drawn to us. Not only does our personal appearance matter, the entire store’s appearance matters when we are dealing with customers. If we take pride in caring for ourselves, we will most likely take steps in caring for the store and customers.

Without a doubt, we also want our employees to respect and appreciate us as the employer, but we need them to understand, without the customer they would not have a job. Every customer is valuable, no matter the situation.
I ran across this quote from Henry Ford the other day, and I believe is fitting, “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”

If we want to respect and appreciate customers, we must first respect ourselves. Customers actually feel the difference when dealing with someone who takes pride in their work versus someone who does not. By holding our heads up high, looking them in the eyes and being presentable, we convey confidence, and confidence is the key when communicating.

Communication and body language are one in the same. We communicate with our eyes, our body and our lips. However, before we communicate, we must also listen well. If we do not understand what our customers’ need, we may miss everything. If we get to know our customers, we may be able to find out the trips they are planning, how many vehicles they own or better yet, how many friends and family members they know who need their vehicle serviced, too. Get a good understanding of your customers and be prepared, because what you say and how you say it matters.

What is an investment?

Have you ever heard the saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” It is true. Sometimes there is value in spending a dollar versus saving a dollar. When you make this decision, you are choosing to invest in your employees, customers, quality and growth.

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.

The question is, is there a difference in saving a dollar versus spending an extra dollar for a service? What does the term, “value-added” mean? I believe there is value added in spending an extra dollar for a service if the customer understands what they are paying for.

I once read, “Respect is earned, honesty is appreciated, trust is gained and loyalty is returned.” How true this is, and of course, if you want to work with someone like this or have a customer resipicate loyalty, then you have to practice these things. If you treat your customers with dignity, respect and appreciation they will most likely be customers for life.

Realizing the importance of appearance, confidence, communication and being prepared have helped many gain and retain customers in today’s competitive marketplace. It has been said, “People may forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

AMBER KOSSAK is president and CEO of Solid Start, manufacturer of True Brand Products. She has been in the automotive industry for almost 20 years and is serving on the AOCA board of directors. She can be contacted at: For more information please visit:


Related Articles

Are You Prepared?

The Opportunity in 2018: Keep Your Customers Safe

Customer Service: What Strengthens Your Relationships?

You must login or register in order to post a comment.