How to Increase Points of Sale
It doesn’t matter if the customer comes in with an old vehicle or a brand-new car, every customer that walks through a dealership’s doors is an opportunity for fixed operations to sell more than one service.
According to NADA’s 2018 Mid-Year Report, the average dealership sold $294 in total service and parts sales per customer repair order.
According to Kemp Evans, division manager, performance coach and consultant for M5 Management Services Inc., a dealership could be missing out an average of $500 per RO on lost service opportunities.
That being said, there’s a fine line between selling more work and scaring the customer away.
If the customer has a conversation that involves them paying for more repair work right off the bat, that could be a potential loss of a customer or money, says Joe Keagy, performance consultant and coach for M5 Management Services Inc.
Keagy recommends that an employee stops thinking of the customer interaction as an “upsell.”
In fact, the word “upsell” could give the customer the impression that the service, parts or collision repair departments are trying to sell to them when they’re not, he says.
Making the extra sale starts by not trying to sell the customer anything that is not a needs-based service, Evans says. Every sale needs to be delivered by the technicians showing the customer they have his or her best interest at heart.
After decades of experience as a service advisor and service manager, Keagy and Evans, who has worked in every position in the dealership over 30 years, share the steps they have gleaned from years of offering more services to the customer without making the sale obvious.
Step 1: Address the customer’s concerns.
The first thing a service advisor or estimator needs to do is to address the customer’s current concerns, Keagy says. Before anything else, address the customer’s primary concerns, which includes why the customer walked through the door that day.
Step 2: Go over multi-point inspections.
Then, Evans recommends weaving the fact that the dealership performs a multi-point inspections into the conversation. The multi-point inspection will be performed during the repair. He says multi-point vehicle inspections should take place every time a customer brings a car into the facility. These inspections can provide later proof of the repairs done on the car and the technician has a chance to include visuals into the process, such as photos of the car.
Step 3: Cover all areas of the vehicle.
When it’s time for the technician to go over the results with the customer, Keagy says it is vital for the employee to not only go over everything that is broken or “bad” on the vehicle, but to cover the “good” parts, as well.
A bad example of selling to the customer includes phrases like, “If you don’t fix it today, it could break,” and, “This item is a couple years old, so it if it doesn’t get fixed, it might not start today.”
Step 4: Phrase the pitch.
When going through the repairs that the vehicle needs, Keagy says that the first thing prioritized should be the customer’s safety.
Say the tech noticed a noisy wheel bearing, which could be problematic for the customer down the road, he says. Emphasize that the item is a safety item and that it is not going to fail that day or the next day, but sometime in the future.
Phrases to include in this exchange include: “We recommend you consider getting the repair done soon,” or, “doing it the next time you come in.”
Evans recommends prioritizing the low-priced items to the customer—like windshield wipers, engine filters and tires—because these items are ones that will need to be replaced soon and do not cost the customer a lot of money. These items are easy ones to show to the customer that they need to be replaced within the recommended 6–8 months if the customer lives somewhere with heavy rainfall.
Step 5: Offer a second appointment.
During the delivery, the technician should offer the customer a chance to schedule a second appointment a few weeks down the road. If the customer declines, he says that the staff should document that the customer declined a follow-up and have the customer sign paperwork.
Step 6: Document the delivery.
After the customer leaves the store, there are steps to take to ensure the business does not encounter liability in the transaction or lose the sale, Keagy says.
He says it happens quite often where the service advisor doesn’t document the transaction and a customer comes back in with a battery that didn’t start. When the staff pulls up the repair order, it will say that they recommended a battery replacement in a few months.
Step 7: Follow up with the customer.
Evans recommends staff calling the customer after the first 48 hours. Through a quick turnaround call, the dealership can determine quickly what went wrong in the service and offer alternatives to meet the customers needs. For instance, if it is a transportation issue preventing the customer from coming back for service, the dealership can offer a loaner vehicle, or, if it is a price issue, the dealership could offer some alternative parts pricing options, like the ones offered through GM and Ford.
“This should be an informal call,” Keagy says. “They already know the items that need to be fixed, so just follow up in a personal manner.”