Ninety percent (90%) of the car dealers we talk to over the phone, at trade shows, and in one-on-one meetings, have zero processes in place to buy or sell cars from the service drive. That means only 10% of car dealers are taking advantage and selling cars to those who should be in the market for a new car and are in the dealership right now.
And, those that are taking action and trying to sell from the service drive are achieving sales of only 0.5 percent of RO’s compared to our clients who are achieving 4% to 5% with a customer-focused approach. In fact, after the third month of implementation, Bulldog Kia – Bogart, GA had a 4.68% closing rate from the service drive. They had 427 RO’s and 20 sales in a 30 day period.
Now, I know many of you who are reading this blog post right now are still skeptical as you put sales and service in two completely different silos. And, as you’ve either never thought about your service drive as a vehicle to sell more cars or tried it and failed, let me share four service drive selling undisputed facts that only 10% of today’s car dealerships are taking advantage of.
Service Drive Selling Undisputed Fact #1: It’s the greatest, most cost-effective opportunity within your dealership right now to increase sales immediately and permanently
Dealerships are spending at least $400 per car sold on advertising – whether it’s direct mail, email campaigns and newspaper/TV/radio/magazine ads or 3rd party leads – to bring more people into their dealerships. Many dealerships are paying even more money for advertising as they are implementing social media marketing and mobile marketing campaigns on top of all their other marketing efforts. We know this because we manage client’s marketing campaigns through our Auto Point Division.
Yet, car dealerships with a service drive have customers coming in every day who:
- Have manufacturer’s warranties expiring and will want to experience maintenance savings
- Are paying interest rates that are too high
- Have equity in the car that can be used as a down payment on a new vehicle
You don’t have to worry about getting these people into the door – and spending extra money. They’re already in your dealership. They just need a customer service representative to review their needs and let them know about their options.
Service Drive Selling Undisputed Fact #2: It’s the most effective way to prevent your competition from stealing your customers
If you don’t have a service drive conversion process in place, you have no way to tell whether or not the service drive customers (that are already inside your dealership) are or should be in the market for a new car.
So your customers are leaving the store and they’re exposed to advertising from your competitors constantly. Now, as the customers are already in your store, if you took the opportunity to reach out and speak to them about their needs you can capture people in the market before your competitors.
Service Drive Selling Undisputed Fact #3: If done correctly there is no better way to increase both your customer service and service satisfaction indexes
Many car dealers are afraid to try to sell cars from their service drive as they’ve tried to place a traditional salesman in the service department and it failed miserably. Instead of selling more cars, customers became turned off with their service experience. It’s because they approached selling cars from the service drive the same way they would in the showroom.
Instead, you have to make it about improving the customer experience. You want it to be about quality assurance – where you are making sure that their service needs are met. And, while you review their needs (and their information), you let them know about their options and how they can save money in the long run. Our clients are not only experiencing 20-25 more cars sold per month out of their service drive, but they are also experiencing increases in both their CSI and SSI.
As a Quality Assurance Representative at one of our customers in Canada told us recently; “Exclusively selling cars out of service was new for me. I am a closer and have always worked the front. I had to actually “calm myself down” and not “go in for the close” as fast as I normally would. These customers came in for Service, not to buy a car. Once I really focused on this I saw results.”
Service Drive Selling Undisputed Fact #4: Data mining tools miss 70% of the car selling opportunities from the service drive.
There are several data mining tools available in the market today. But that’s all they are – a tool. They don’t have any answers for the traditional selling approach. Plus, data mining tools can’t help car dealerships with customers that come in without an appointment.
That means dealerships miss out on 60-70% of the opportunities, as that is the typical percentage of people that come in for service without an appointment. You need a service drive selling process that allows your dealership to put customers through the sales process whether they have a scheduled appointment or not. Data mining is just a very small part of that overall process.
Interested in learning how you can sell more cars from the service drive?
Join us for a free webinar, where we’ll talk about industry trends and show you why now is the time to really focus on sales through the service drive. We’ll also share an example of a customer that has been converting 4-5% of their RO’s into new car sales for months.
Register for this free webinar now: Click HERE to register!
In today’s world, there are many standout companies when it comes to customer service; Zappos and Nordstrom being a couple of examples. These companies focus on providing their customers with world-class service and, because of that, people are willing to pay more while maintaining fierce loyalty. Not only do these companies earn the loyalty of their customers through the service experience, they transform many of them into brand advocates. The reason their customers patronize them and recognize this level of customer service is that it is, unfortunately, not the norm in today’s world.
Zappos and Nordstrom are not in business to lose money. In fact, both companies profit through their reputations of providing great customer service that, in turn, increase their customer base by attracting new customers eager to share in the experience.
The Olive Garden restaurant recently sympathized with a patron whose parent’s house had just burned down and decided to comp the party’s entire meal. The patron posted a photo of the comp’d receipt to the Internet in an effort to thank and show appreciation for the Olive Garden’s good deed. Because people aren’t used to acts of kindness and service from companies, many were skeptical and questioned the receipt as a PR stunt even after the patron posted links to news articles reporting the house fire and the Olive Garden’s PR agency denying their involvement. The photo quickly went viral and has not only spread through social media but has also been picked up by prominent news agencies like Yahoo!, The Huffington Post and the Consumerist.
By providing an exceptional customer service experience; your customers will become loyal and share their experiences with others. Even though people may begin with skepticism, by providing a consistent experience of excellent service, word will spread and customers will not only go out of their way to patronize your dealership but also to encourage others to do so.
Through technology, we’re more capable than ever to provide this experience to our customers in an easier, more efficient manner that will lead to increased revenue, loyalty, customer retention and consistently excellent CSI scores while allowing you to maintain an acceptable profit on your services.