It wasn’t so long ago that extended warranty had a very bad time in the press. Even now there are plenty of mixed views as to how worthwhile it is for consumers to pay for something they might never need, or already be covered. Temper that with the suspicions consumers might be harbouring – is the salesperson on commission and will the retailer (God forbid!) make a profit from selling it? – and it’s reasonable to assume that nobody would ever want to pay money for extended warranty on top of their already-expensive purchase.
So why bother even asking? Surely it’s better to not risk losing the sale and forget about extended warranty completely?
It depends on the warranty provider of course, but if there’s some good which has surfaced in the wake of its bad press, it’s that many extended warranties are now so much better. They have to be, because they are scrutinised far more closely than ever before, and not just by consumers. Reputable warranty providers are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which means that consumers are protected against fraudulent and mis-sold policies. The policies must deliver on their promises, and these are required to be clear and transparent and be sold correctly.
In addition, the providers are well aware that other insurance plans are available. This means that if an extended warranty is sold to somebody who is already covered for everything the warranty pledges to protect, then that sale is non-compliant and penalties could follow. Why risk your integrity, your credibility, even your company for the sake of a fast buck?
As a result, many extended warranty providers specialise, and it’s within those areas of speciality that extended warranties are able to prove their worth, because here they can cover products for breakdown and/ or accidental damage and provide a service level for which there is no real comparison with more generalised, even mandatory, insurance policies.
But still… on the shop floor? When you’re looking at someone who backs away at 100mph as soon as you mention those dreaded words: ‘extending your peace of mind’?
Well, that part is down to you, and your approach is crucial. Here are three golden rules to remember when selling extended warranty:
- Some customers may be more skeptical than others, and some people will say No on principle, but many people are open to the idea and providing they’re not already covered by another insurance plan, and the proposition makes sense and has clear benefits, then they will go for it. The key here is to tell every single customer about extended warranty.
- Timing is everything. It’s no good ‘reminding’ someone that you can offer them a five-year service plan for a few extra pounds when they’re at the till. You might as well hit them with a cricket bat (the reaction will be similar). In order to make customers feel comfortable with the idea, and to allow enough time to show the benefits of extended warranty properly, you need to bring it into the conversation early, usually around the time you start to get interest on the product you’re demonstrating. Try it. Don’t spring it on customers suddenly but test them first, see how receptive they are.
- This leads into rule number three, which is to think of extended warranty the same as you would a boxed product customers can take off the shelf and pay for at the till. If that sounds too simplistic then remind yourself that an extended warranty has features and benefits the same as anything else on your shop floor, so you sell the benefits, link them back to your customers’ needs and manage their objections.
Selling extended warranty might take some practice, but it can be done, and the more you try it the easier it’ll get. Just remember:
- Not everybody will say no, so mention it to every single customer.
- Bring it into the conversation early.
- Sell the benefits of extended warranty as you would any other product on your shop floor.
T21 recently worked with an extended warranty provider and produced a series of training films to illustrate these three points. Feel free to watch them here: URL: https://vimeo.com/channels/t21retracaresamples
Modern Retail Editorial Board
Director, T21 Training and Development