Don't Do a Hertz

The Client Letter
June 21, 2012
Phoenix, Arizona
Sunny 81 degrees

Don't be like Hertz. Get smart, take control.

Yesterday, I rented a car from Hertz.

And I got the question you always get when you rent a car. Something to the effect of, "Would you like the comprehensive insurance protection?"

If someone from Hertz is reading this, I'd like to offer a very simple way to drastically increase the number of people they get to opt-in to the additional insurance.

The short story is: stop asking questions like this.

Here's a rule of thumb I learned a long time ago. If you won't be equally satisfied with getting a Yes or a No to your question, then don't ask a Yes or No question.

So here's a simple fix for Hertz (I accept check, credit card or wire transfer):

When your representative approaches the part where they offer the additional coverage, consider doing something like this: (NOTE: I don't know the details of the coverage options, so I'm just making this up to illustrate the point.)

"We offer three types of insurance coverage for your rental. Option 1 is to use whatever coverage is offered through your existing car insurance. Unfortunately, without reviewing your current policy, there's really no way to guarantee what coverage you do or do not have. Should your existing policy extend coverage to a rental car, you would still be personally liable to compensate Hertz for any lost fees due to downtime if your rental requires repair. Should your existing policy not extend to rentals, then you would be personally liable for any damages to the vehicle.

Option 2 would provide coverage for any damage to the vehicle on a reimbursement basis. That means you are responsible for repairing any and all damage to the vehicle, and then may request reimbursement from Hertz.

Finally, Option 3 would provide full "no-hassle" coverage for the vehicle. Should any damage occur, you are not liable in any way. In addition, you are also offered $1 million of additional liability coverage to protect you from any damage done by the vehicle to other's property. In a nutshell, if anything happens to the vehicle, it is our problem, not yours.

Which coverage option do you prefer?

What the guy at Hertz did was to ask the "do you want it" question first. He had offered no context, no explanation. His question puts the customer on the defensive from the getgo.

He said something like, "Do you want the coverage?"

Then I said, "How much is it?"

That's not a promising way to start a sales presentation.

Now imagine we're not talking about a car rental, but a client project worth $5,000, $10,000 or even $20,000.

With that much money on the line, do you really want to be asking questions like the guy at Hertz?

No you don't.

How you ask questions is important.

You don't just need the right questions, you have to ask them in the right way.

Remember this when you're talking to your clients.

It is important to develop this skill so it's a habit that requires no thought to execute. You just do it without thinking. That's the level you're trying to get to.

You will not believe the doors you can open when you ask a well placed question the right way.

If you haven't learned the smart way to do this, today is the day. Get this now.

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