Every dealer should be doing a Vehicle Health Check (VHC) on EVERY car.

VHCs are important not only from a legal ‘duty of care’ point of view, but also from the point of view of customer service and of course because they also provide an opportunity to massively improve the performance of our aftersales department.

When we get VHCs right, and start identifying the work that is needed on their cars, and if we present it properly, the customer really appreciates the service, and this is where our opportunity lies for converting the VHC red work into guaranteed extra business!

In this article, we’re going to be looking at the four main ways dealers can increase and convert red work from VHCs.

  1. FramingThe Top Four Ways to Increase & Convert Red Work from a VHC

Clearly, in order to be able to convert VHCs into red work, you need to be actually carrying out VHCs!

For some reason there are some dealers who don’t like doing VHCs, maybe because they feel they are a waste of time and money.

However, if a customer takes his or her car into a dealership and the car leaves in an un-roadworthy condition and there’s an accident, the dealer could find themselves legally liable for someone else’s safety. Therefore, we have an enormous duty of care to the customer to say, “We have your car and we want to make sure it’s fully roadworthy before we give it back to you.”

VHCs are also an important aspect of customer service – for example, if I brought my car in for a service and three days later there was a fault on it that was missed, I’d be thinking, “Why didn’t they tell me that while they had it? Why do I have to contact them and then wait for them to come and get it and fix it again?”

So, it makes great sense for dealers to carry out a Vehicle Health Check on every car to make sure customers’ cars are safe and roadworthy, both from the customer’s point of view and from a legal duty of care point of view.

And you should tell the customer what you are going to do and why – in the world of psychology there is an expression…

              “He who sets the frame controls the game.”

  1. Positioning

Positioning is about letting the customer know that you’re going to do a VHC. So, when a customer calls you to book their car in, the key thing is to let them know, there and then, that you’re going to do a Vehicle Health Check and why you’re going to do it.

Put Aftersales at the Front of your Business not the Back!

If you do not tell the customer in advance and you subsequently find faults with their car, they might think that you’re trying to upsell just for the sake of it.

The customer needs to know what to expect, so you therefore need to position it right at the start of the conversation.

When they first call in, you say, “By the way, just to let you know, whilst we’ve got your vehicle we’ll be completing a full Vehicle Health Check on it to make sure that everything is okay. And if we find anything, we will let you know.”

Plus, we need to remind them of the VHC when they actually bring their car in – position the VHC as an added value service.

I also advise putting a value on the VHC – maybe positioning it with the words; “Just to remind you, we will carry out a complimentary Vehicle Health Check, usually worth (say £47).”

  1. Context

A lot of people present everything thrown up by the Vehicle Health Check and then ask the customer, “Do you want to buy all of it?” But in reality, not everything will need to be done immediately – anything safety-related (“red work”) will need to be carried out immediately, whereas other repairs might be able to wait a few weeks or until the next service (“amber work”).

So, in terms of putting things into context, we should point out to the customer that we’ve done the Vehicle Health Check as promised, (worth £47) but then stress that not everything we have found needs to be done right away – this immediately says to the customer that we are not trying to sell them anything they don’t need!

When presenting things to the customer, the customer must believe that what we’re presenting is genuine.

For example, we might say something along the lines of, “So the total cost of everything we have found is (say) £658”.

But, “The cost of the things that need doing immediately is only (say) £127″.

By putting the costs into context in this way, you’re putting the red work in the context of the whole bill and therefore it doesn’t sound as much, and it is much more likely the customer will authorise you to do ALL the red work.

  1. Choose the Decision Maker

Make the customer the Decision Maker – ALWAYS – and you can only do this if you use ‘context’ as in 3 above…

Aftersales advisors generally don’t like asking customers for money because they’re worried about the cost (but usually they benchmark the customer reaction based on their own perception of how much money the extra work is costing rather than leaving the customer to actually form their own view) plus, often, we don’t see ourselves as salespeople and feel awkward asking customers for more money!

I’ve sat next to many service advisors and listened to their telephone calls, and have seen the fear building up as they get ever closer to the point of having to say to the customer, “It’s going to cost you an extra ‘x’ amount”!

But positioning the cost within the context of the bigger picture – as I illustrated in 3 above – is far easier because it allows us to place the decision-making authority with the customer, as follows…

For example, it is far easier for us to say something like; “So, I guess it’s just for you to decide whether you want to authorise me to do all of the work that needs doing (the £658), or whether you would prefer to just authorise me to get the smaller amount of (the £127) done?”

It’s really important that you let the customer do the decision-making.


At the end of this whole process, whatever the customer buys from you they feel much more comfortable making the decision. Because they understood it, knew what it could have cost them, and appreciate the fact that you’ve only asked them for the money for the red work, customers are much more likely to say YES! to the upsell on red work.

Remember, if I can help with anything please do let me know, and do leave a comment and share your views and opinions…

Good Luck and Good Selling!