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Turn Your Service Department into an Opportunity for Vehicle Sales

By September 11, 2017 October 30th, 2017 No Comments
Service Department Sales

Continuing with our them of service-related tips and tricks is the following article about how you should be thinking about your service department strategy.

Selling on the Service Drive

-Bud Scannavino

Every day vehicles leave your service department still needing repairs and maintenance. Many of the owners would have been happy to purchase the work if only they had been asked. Others were asked, but the service advisor didn’t know how to answer the customers’ objections.

Even worse, some of those service customers who declined repairs would have gladly traded their vehicle for a new or used one from your lot, if they had been approached about that possibility correctly.

Treat the Service Drive Like a Showroom

The number one problem for people in sales is getting in front of enough qualified prospects. But qualified prospects show up in the service drive every day. Work that opportunity like you do the sales floor.

Train Your Service Advisers Like You Train Salespeople

Even though theirs is a sales job, and a very important one, SAs are expected to show up with fully developed sales skills. Yet the simple fear of rejection alone can prevent many good SAs from asking for every needed sale. So, institute some SA training on dealing with rejection and on overcoming objections. It makes sense.

Low-Cost, High-Impact Training for Service Advisers

Cross training among staff is inexpensive but often ignored. I saw one dealership where a retired professional salesman was happily driving the shuttle van for service customers while the turnover rate among SAs was astronomically high. The sales knowledge he could have shared with the SAs would have made their incomes climb to amazing heights.

Likewise, some of your professional sales staff might enjoy working the service drive, and in the process, teach their skills to those SAs who are eager to learn.

Consider the Customer’s Frame of Mind

Coach your SAs how to demolish the fear of rejection. If customers bring their vehicles in the SAs can presume that:

 

  • They want their vehicles fixed
  • They want their vehicles to be reliable
  • They want their vehicles to be safe

 

How different that view is from the negativity that can creep in.

Make it Fun

Coach them along. When management is involved ‘elbows deep’ in training it makes the SA staff feel important. Hold weekly meetings to review success stories, some accounts of lost sales, and to foster shared encouragement among the SAs,

Every Customer Has a Need – Uncover It

Not simply the mechanical needs of their vehicle, but their motivation for buying repairs (or for trading for a new vehicle) should be uncovered. Is the client concerned primarily about the safety of their family while in the vehicle, reliability on long trips, preserving the value of the car or something else? Many SAs automatically presume every client is an economy, low-spending buyer, but good training will overcome that frame of mind.

Teach them questioning skills to uncover hot buttons, and how to ‘sell to the buying motivation.’

Ask for Referrals

You don’t see this much among SAs. After customers have agreed to their purchases, or when they are picking up their vehicles, ask them one simple question: “Who else do you know with a vehicle like yours who might be needing some work?”

About the Author:

Bud learned the trade of automotive mechanics after high school, earned the A.S.E. credentials CMAT with L-1, and owned a repair shop. Bud eventually changed careers, earning an MBA from Yale. For a day job, Bud’s career is in financial services. As a freelance writer and advertising consultant, he writes automotive articles, blogs and advertisements. His clients enjoy his explanations of complex technical, management and marketing issues in easy to understand language, along with a touch of wit and humor.

 

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