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!
Customer: “Is my car ready?”
Advisor: “Let me check…. I’m not showing that its ready yet, ma’am.”
Customer: “Do you know when it will be?”
Advisor: “I’ll have to check with the technicians. We’ll be sure to call you when it is, however. It should be done by the end of the day.”
Is this a conversation your service advisors or cashiers are having with customers? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have this conversation instead?
Customer: “Is my car ready?”
Advisor: “Hi Mrs. Smith, the oil change has been completed. The tech saw that the fluids were low in a couple of areas so he went ahead and topped them off. Your car is in the service bay currently getting the tires rotated and balanced. ETA on completion is about 30 minutes. Is there anything else I can answer for you?”
Not only would a customer be impressed, it would probably save your employee from having that same conversation with the same customer 3 hours later. Not to mention the time it would take them to track down and get the information from the various people involved to deliver it to the customer.
In today’s world filled with instant access to order statuses, tracking numbers and information, consumers are now used to getting immediate answers. With all the available technology at our disposal, and with that technology decreasing in price while becoming more powerful than ever, there’s no reason why a dealership can’t implement a similar tracking feature into their operations.
Having a system like this in place not only puts the power of information at your disposal for the purposes of customer service; it makes your operations more efficient. Gone are the days of the service advisor having to track down the tech to find out what’s going on with the customer’s vehicle. The tech doesn’t have to go to the parts counter to request parts for an RO, and the parts counter no longer has to track down the tech to deliver the parts.
Even at the most basic level, a system like this is worth its weight in gold. Of course, MPi takes this philosophy and multiplies it by a hundred but whether you go with a full-featured system like ours, or implement one of your own, the fact remains that customers want information. The more effort it takes to get them that information, the less time that service advisor has to write new ROs or upsell existing ROs on recommended repairs.
Businesses across the world are embracing and integrating technology into their operations to increase both efficiency and customer service. It’s time for your dealership to embrace technology and use it to create a more efficient and customer-friendly operation.