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!
Dealerships are typically slow to embrace technology. In some cases, it’s for budgetary reasons and for others it’s out of a lack of a sense of need. A recent article in WardsAuto.com reinforced the need for dealerships to streamline their processes. The article explains how as car manufacturing improves and service intervals grow, the only way for a dealership to increase or maintain its current service revenue is through the ability to service more vehicles.
This is increasingly being done through the digitization of repair orders; more streamlined processes during the write-up involving iPads or mobile devices that contain all the customer’s service history at a glance. This is similar to systems that many hospitals have adopted.
WardsAuto.com advises that dealerships should “expect a different breed of car buyer who want a more hands-off, yet transparent, way to engage the dealership.” At the same time that manufacturers are creating onboard computers that will wirelessly relay vehicle data to the dealership, customers are adopting mobile device apps and expect businesses they patronize to as well.
Improving workflow between departments is key to increasing efficiency. At the same time, dealers don’t want to miss opportunities that they could have upselling a repair order. Just as dealerships have adopted CRMs to control sales processes, technology can be used in the same way. It can help to control service processes and ensure that shortcuts aren’t taken while writing repair orders. It can also ensure that the dealership successfully captures all revenue opportunities by correctly presenting them to the customer.
WardsAuto.com explains that many dealerships are embracing paper-free systems that allow them to decrease paper and storage fees as well as employee error, while also reducing warranty chargeback costs.
Service advisors of the future will need less expertise because all of the technical information will be at their fingertips. Qualities that make a good service advisor will change from auto technical knowledge to customer service and sales skills. Dealerships will always need human interaction, however. Most consumers don’t want to deal with push-button robots in the nature of gas-station car washes (press 1 for 85,000 mile service, etc.) What they want is more transparency and efficiency in the processes involved in getting their cars serviced.
Dealerships that adopt technology, streamline their processes and make a more pleasant customer-centric service experience will position themselves well to compete with the independent auto shops for the extra service business that they’ll need to acquire to maintain and grow fixed ops revenue for their stores.
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.
Transforming your Service Drive into a Sales Drive
In this presentation Holland will address how to empower the service department with tools that build connections with customers and drive owner retention. Although the obstacles can appear formidable, your service department can flourish in today’s rapidly changing automotive landscape. How auto dealer service departments will remain profitable and viable contributors to the business with fewer units in operation, longer maintenance intervals, and higher vehicle quality is a challenge. The subsequent reduction in vehicle volumes means that every visit, no matter how small, needs to be viewed as a vital opportunity. Many service directors are leveraging technology to be more efficient and profitable.
Technology in the service lane helps dealerships:
- Turn service customers into new vehicle sales customers
- Inspect every vehicle thoroughly to boost per-repair-order parts and labor profitability
- Hone customer-engagement processes to improve customer retention
- Conquest the service business from customers’ families and friends
New technologies in the service department have helped dealerships:
- Increase annual service revenues 21% and more
- Boost revenue per repair order $55 and higher
- Double the volume of vehicles inspected
- Increase fixed absorption rates 20%and more
- Sell up to 6 times as many vehicles out of their service drive
The ideas Holland will share are to help your service department create a plan for profitability despite today’s challenges in automotive services and repairs.
Attendees will learn five key actionable points:
1) How to develop a client retention strategy that builds trust between the dealership and the customer
2) How to develop processes that turn service customers into new vehicle sales customers
3) How to create follow up marketing strategies that engage customers who’ve declined recommendations
4) How to create a personalized service experience utilizing mobile technology
5) How to identify new opportunities and metrics to use to identify and remedy inefficiencies in service work flow.