Form an Alliance in Your Dealership and Reap the ROI Benefits
Knowing how and when to approach each unique customer is challenging. Then there’s the challenge of unifying your entire team, specifically Service and Sales, to capitalize on service drive upgrade opportunities. They are too good to pass up; in fact, they may hold the key to dealership success.
With the whole team on board, it’s easier to meet goals and ensure that every service customer has options to upgrade to a newer vehicle.
Look at the following best practices and consider adopting some or all to ensure your team is prepared to provide the best opportunities to your service drive customers.
What Successful Dealerships Do
Taking tips from those doing it well is always a good place to start. However, every situation is unique, so you must adapt these practices to fit your needs and tailor them to work for your dealership. Below, you’ll find some closing tips from automotive experts, ready to be implemented to maximize your service drive’s profitability:
- Foster an atmosphere where joining the Service-to-Sales team is sought-after
- Promote collaboration between Sales Managers and Service Managers
- Incorporate Sales and F&I personnel into your weekly fixed ops meetings
- Pair each sales consultant with a Service Advisor for seamless cooperation
We Are All on the Same Team
First, ensure your staff is proficient in working with your dealership’s data mining platform. An employee training refresher can get everyone on the same page and identify employee knowledge and process gaps.
Cross-train employees with a basic understanding of the service department and sales processes to seamlessly assist customers in a joint effort. This enables them to identify better upsell or cross-sell opportunities and work as a team to deliver the message to the customer.
Provide incentives and recognition programs that motivate your service and sales teams to work towards a goal together. This helps foster a collaborative climate that celebrates teamwork.
Cross-Department Communication Is Key
Establish clear communication channels between service and sales teams. Regularly share insights, feedback, suggestions for process improvement, and success stories to foster collaboration.
Integrate a Customer Experience Management (CRM) or a Customer Data Platform (CDP) with your service and sales processes to ensure that communication and data sharing between the service and sales teams is accurate and up to date.
Being open and listening to those on the front line and how their experiences can contribute to modifications in the service and sales process shows your staff that their knowledge is valued.
Get Down to the Nitty Gritty
Take a step back and evaluate all parts of your processes, including the physical layouts of your departments. Making simple strategic alterations can pull your teams together. Here are some tips to consider in your evaluation process:
Identify an office area for your dedicated Service-to-Sales Team
Preferably, the office will be near the Service Drive. Designate a sales consultant to man the Service Drive at peak times and create a system in which Service Advisors turnover possible leads to designated sales consultants.
Identify who is responsible for approaching a customer
Typical persons in this role are the Service to Sales Manager, Service Advisors, and/or BDC employees. Having a plan before starting a conversation with a service customer is in your best interest. What topic are you going to start with? Will a transition between staff occur? If so, at what point?
Prepare for the visit
Review upcoming service appointments and use AutoAlert to identify qualified opportunities, such as…
- Customers in equity positions
- High vehicle repair costs with parts you have in stock
- Customers who purchase pre-owned vehicles could be intrigued by one that has been parked on your lot
- Customers who have exclusively bought new vehicle and you have 2023 models in stock
- Or customers showing shopping behaviors of a recent lifestyle change
Then, based on their data, plan how to engage these customers. Review deal sheets, prep deal jackets, and talk with the pre-owned manager that could pique the customers’ interest.
During the service appointment
Have your presentation sheets ready for your customers. Utilize the AutoAlert suggested word tracks to help guide the conversation and be available in the drive and the lounge. Be prepared to talk to customers about your buy-back program or an upgrade to a newer vehicle. Have personalized offer statements ready to present and attach a letter to the invoices of the top equity class service customers upon checkout.
After the service appointment
The follow-up is just as important as the prep work and initiating the conversation. You can set up and automate emails to remind customers of the opportunities presented or schedule a call from the manager or a BDC representative to discuss further inventory and payment options. It’s always a good idea to ask yourself if there’s anyone you missed yesterday that you can contact today. Don’t forget to document all communication in AutoAlert so that valuable information remains handy for your next opening.
When customers arrive in your service drive, unaware they can upgrade to a new vehicle, there is an excellent opportunity for making a sale.
A well-versed team ready to act on actionable data increases the odds of a positive customer experience. Being prepared with the details, communicating value, and setting up the next interaction are all essential steps to a sale.
By overlapping a strong service drive approach with an optimized sales process, you can create a well-oiled machine that enhances satisfaction and revenue generation while building long-term relationships.