Like many car dealerships, Kelly Nissan was hesitant to sell cars from their already extremely profitable service drive.
So, they focused their advertising and marketing efforts on getting people to their sales floor – instead of those prospects that are already inside the dealership right now, getting work done on their cars. And, they were spending at least $400 to $600 per car sold on advertising.
Here Are the 3 Excuses Kelly Nissan Used to Explain Why They Weren’t Selling Cars from Their Service Drive…
Reason #1: They have tried selling cars from the service drive in the past- and it didn’t work.
When Kelly Nissan first thought about selling from the service drive, they rotated sales executives from the sales floor into the service drive. These sales executives who spent about 95% of their time on the sales floor failed to adapt to the service drive. They were using the same, pushy sales strategies that new car salesmen are known for on customers who came in specifically for maintenance or repairs and not to be sold to. That’s why their conversion rate from the service drive was less than one half percent.
When you have potential customers for a new car in your dealership for other reasons you can’t come across with a hard sell. You need to take a quality assurance process where you go over their account in full to ensure that their service needs are met. And, while you review their account, you let the service customers know about their options and how it can be saving them more money in the long run.
Reason #2 – They failed to get buy-in from both the sales and service departments
Many sales from the service drive efforts fail simply because there isn’t any buy-in.
Since the beginning, when car dealerships added a service drive to their dealership for additional revenue, the sales and service departments were always in two completely different silos:
- The sales department is responsible for bringing in new car sales from the sales floor
- The service department is responsible for bringing in additional revenue through maintenance and repair programs.
Part of this mentality is the fact that service managers get commissions on the services being performed – and they’re afraid that they’ll lose commissions if you turn a service customer into a “new car sale” customer. And, they’re afraid they’ll lose commissions if you turn service customers off because they’re not at the dealership now to get sold.
Car sales executives don’t buy-in to selling cars from the service drive because they know service customers are there for repairs and that the typical conversion rate from the service drive is one-half percent. Why would they want to be taken off the sales floor where they feel that they are more likely to close a customer on a new car deal?
Reason #3 – They were afraid to harm their CSI & SSI numbers
Because, the service drive is a profitable revenue center for Kelly Nissan (and for many car dealerships I speak to), they were afraid to try to increase car sales from the service drive. They rely on customers coming back on a regular maintenance schedule and they don’t want to push these customers away to other dealerships or mechanics.
Now, we showed Kelly Nissan real proof that they’d actually increase their CSI and SSI numbers by taking a quality assurance approach – and at the same time increase their new car sales from the service drive.
Here Are the Actions Kelly Nissan Took In Order to Sell 25 Cars per Month from the Service Drive
We challenged the Kelly Group to try our quality assurance approach with one of their dealerships – and see if they experience improved results from their service drive. With our guidance, support and technologies they:
- Created a team of quality assurance professionals who were given the tools to identify prospects in the service drive that should be in the market for a new car and trained in a personalized 8-step process that shows customers you are truly interested in meeting their service needs. Now, they were not just taking sales executives and putting them into the service drive just armed with data that they received from a data mining program.
- Integrated telemarketing, merchandising and consultative marketing strategies to help them gain a 4% to 5% closing rate. Their quality assurance reps would call the service customers and confirm their appointments plus using proven scripts, they’d let the customers know that they’d like to speak to them personally to go over their account and ensure that their service needs are met. At the dealership, customers find merchandise throughout the service drive that lets them know that the dealership is looking to buy “high quality cars.” Plus, the service customers receive a personalized letter from the GM that discusses in more detail how the dealership is looking to buy back cars. During the one-on-one session with a quality assurance rep, the customers go through a complete account worksheet to ensure that the dealership has the latest information on their account. From there the quality assurance rep can explain their options and show the savings they received.
- Kelly Nissan showed both the sales department and the service department how they BOTH will benefit from this quality assurance program. They showed their teams how it’s about improving the customer experience and how this will positively affect the whole dealership.
The Results Achieved…And Your Next Steps
By changing the way cars are sold from the service drive, Kelly Nissan is selling at least 20 to 25 new cars each and every single month from the service drive. These are additional sales that they would not have gotten otherwise.
Watch their video testimonial HERE
Now all of the dealerships are using the Service Turn technology to identify prospects within the service drive that should be in the market for a new car and they are using our 8-step quality assurance process. Instead of converting one-half percent of their service drive customers into new car sales – they have a 4% to 5% conversion.
During our next webinar for car dealers, service managers and sales managers, the former GM of Kelly Nissan will share with you in complete detail how he used the 8-step quality assurance process to get more car sales from the service drive.
Register for this free webinar now by clicking HERE!
Yes, data mining is part of our EDGE Service Turn program and yes we are telling car dealerships that they should not rely on data mining services. You see, data mining is only “part of” our program as we offer clients a full-service, technology-driven program.
Here’s what’s wrong with most data mining services and software…
1. Data mining software and data mining services are great at identifying prospects who should be in the market for a new car – but they leave sales executives hanging afterward.
There are many reputable data mining services, programs and solutions that help sales executives at car dealerships identify the best service prospects that should be in the market for a new car. They provide sales executives with all the information they need including:
- The car owner’s current interest rates – and the rate they can be getting right now if they got a new car
- Book values and auction market reports so sales executives can offer their clients appealing trade-up values
- How much is being spent on the car for maintenance issues so sales executives can show clients the maintenance savings they’d be experiencing if they got a new car
However, what good is this information if your sales executives do not know how to use this information to turn service customer into new car buyers? You see, data mining companies that offer their tools as a solution for car dealerships (rather than part of a solution that offers support to a process) enables car dealers to continue the traditional sales approach in the service department that’s converting less than 1%! In fact, the industry average for selling new cars from the service drive is .5%, while our clients are experiencing an average of 3% to 5% closing rates from the service drive.
It’s not your sales executives’ faults that you are not selling more cars from the service drive. They do not know any better. Instead of adapting to a new environment where customers are not looking to be sold, they are relying on the same strategies that worked on the sales floor as all they are given is data.
We offer clients an entire process that helps car dealers sell cars through service by providing:
- Complete manager’s report
- Appointment confirmation phone scripts
- Merchandising that lets customers know that the dealership is interested in buying high quality cars
- Letters from the GM that provide a highly personalized customer experience
- Client information worksheets that are designed to demonstrate your genuine interest in getting to know about the customers while showing the customers that they really need to get a new car now
- Rep training as sales executives need to know how to use the data to provide service customers with a unique customer experience that focuses on quality assurance first.
I’m revealing our 8 step quality assurance process that helps Kelly Nissan sell at least 25 additional cars per month (from the service drive) that they would not have gotten otherwise. Not only is Kelly Nissan getting more cars sold but they’ve also increased their CSI & SSI!
Register for this webinar now! https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/970279266
2. Data mining tools help you find the people that might be interested in buying a new car for a variety of reasons but then you have to get them into the dealership somehow.
On average, car dealerships are paying $400 per car sold on advertising to get people inside their doors. Their spending money on telemarketing, sales reps performing cold sales calls, radio/TV/newspaper/magazine/internet marketing and now even social media marketing.
Car dealerships are spending all this money on lead generation – and they’re totally forgetting about the leads that are already at their dealership. That’s why I help clients focus on the customers already coming in for service (maintenance and repairs of their current car). You don’t have to worry about getting them to the dealership – as they already have scheduled appointments (meaning existing new car sales opportunities.)
3. Car dealerships are only taking advantage of 30% of new car sales opportunities using data mining tools.
Data mining tools like Auto Alert can’t help car dealerships with customers that come in without an appointment. That means dealerships miss out on 40-50% of the opportunities, as that is the typical percentage of people that come in for service without an appointment. You need specialized car dealership software and technology that allows your dealership to quickly identify prospects for a new car and put them through the new car sales conversion process whether they have a scheduled appointment or not.
4. Because of the financial crisis – the data can be inaccurate
After the global banking and financial crisis, banks are making their own decisions on the residual value of the car and their estimated current value of the car in order to reduce risk and cut their losses. This is resulting in inconsistent information and inaccuracies that sales executives would be unaware of if they do not have a process to evaluate the customer’s current situation.
You see, the data and the technology should not be the end solution. You need a complete process that offers a personalized, human touch that gives customers the service experience they are looking for while letting them know about their options.
To see how your car dealership can sell at least 20 to 25 new cars per month from the service drive (while simultaneously increasing your dealerships CSI and SSI) – register for our next case study webinar where we show you how the Kelly Group gets a 5% sales conversion from their service drive month-after-month.
Register for this free webinar now! https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/970279266
Today’s world is full of review sites and social media- the epitome of information at your fingertips. And because of this, reviews have become that much more important for customer retention and new client business. Search engines are becoming increasingly savvier by routinely displaying reviews (and review sites) very high in search results. Many dealerships are recognizing this and paying more attention to them, thus creating processes to encourage customers to share their experiences when buying a new vehicle. This feedback is great and can help foster your next sale.
However, why solely focus on just the sales department? Your service department is the life-line to your customers after the sale is completed, from routine maintenance and repairs to aftermarket accessory purchases to the encouragement of buying their next vehicle from your dealership. Feedback on our service department is equally, if not more important, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
We all know it’s easy for a consumer who has had a negative experience to leave a horrible (or less than flattering) review of your dealership without any help from you. And, it takes a little more effort to get a happy customer to actually leave you a glowing evaluation. Does it have to be this hard? No; by taking the few minutes to engage the customer to ensure they are satisfied, then asking them to share their positive experience, can be that simple. Most customers who feel they have been well treated and received good value will be more inclined to share their experience, even if the request is suggested by your service team. For those customers who chose to share a less flattering review, do yourself a favor and reach out and try to turn a less positive review into one more favorable. People can (and do) change their written opinion if they feel you made an effort to turn a wrong into a right.
Don’t fall into the trap of focusing only on sales reviews, thus neglecting your service appraisals. Unhappy customers don’t distinguish between the two departments when sharing or reading negative feedback. In a perfect world, you would never have to deal with negative reviews or be in fear of customers rejecting your business because of an off day. But in today’s world, where information is shared in real-time and at a moment’s notice, you need to be prepared to take the good with the bad. Whether it is sales or service, potential customers will certainly see all the shared feedback and will make their buying decisions based off another’s experience. How you deal with the feedback is what really matters… it can either make you stronger or set up for failure.
Here are a few thoughts on why you should be encouraging your service customers to leave reviews for your dealership and how those reviews can translate into more revenue for your store as a whole.
- In most dealerships, the service department produces a large percentage of the dealership’s income. And because of this, I would argue that there are more people using search engines, such as Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, looking for dealerships to service their cars than to buy a new car. Maximize this opportunity to spread the word.
- The competitor base is larger for service than sales. When you factor in competing dealerships, aftermarket car care centers and DIYers you need to grab the attention of your service customers. When buying a new car, customers have limited options if they are drawn to a specific brand. For example, if you are a Ford store, even in a dense auto market, you may only have 5-6 real sales competitors. However, for service your competition can quickly escalate to 50 or a 100 (depending on the marketplace) with all the various service options available. Make yourself stand out from the pack.
- All dealerships strive to turn their sales customers into service customers. Apply this same logic to turning your service customers into sales customers. The fact remains that many of your service customers, if happy, will consider your dealership first when looking to buy a new car. Capitalize on this.
- On any given day, your service department, in reality, is going to be in touch and capturing the attention of more customers waiting for or having service performed on their vehicles than sales. It’s a numbers game. Take advantage of this opportunity. The best marketing is free marketing. Let you customers sell your business for you. AND, on the chance that you have a negative situation arise, work hard to turn it around. Don’t turn a blind eye to any opportunity.
With search engines incorporating more social signals into their algorithms, it will become increasingly important for you to get your customers talking about you. If you don’t already have a process in place to solicit reviews from service customers, start one today.
Final thought… at the end of the day, any customer review is an endorsement that can help you win new business, whether it is service or sales. Encourage your customers to sell your dealership, as word of mouth is the best form of advertising. It costs nothing and can empower you to gain a lot.