Replicate in Service What Works for Sales

Sales is a different world than service at a dealership. With that acknowledged, there are certain things I think service departments can and should replicate for one big reason – those practices are time tested and flat out get results.

Let’s look at a handful of ideas service managers can borrow from sales.

  • Daily kick-off meetingsThe kick-off meeting is a long-time ritual in sales. Every morning, in or near the showroom of nearly every car dealership in the country, there is a group of salespeople huddled up. Most of them are pounding caffeine from a cup of coffee or a Red Bull and gearing up for action.

    Here is what I like best about the morning shift meeting:

    • It enforces the importance of being on time for work
    • It sets the focus for the day
    • It’s an opportunity to discuss key issues, such as
      • Items impacting daily shop capacity (carry over vehicles, techs that are off)
      • Number of appointments scheduled
      • Current CSI scores
      • Week- and month-to-date performance
        • Labor sales
        • Flat rate hours
    • It doesn’t last long
      • A good kick-off meeting starts on time and ends in less than 10 minutes
    • It’s an opportunity to train, which leads us to…
  • Training, training, and more trainingSalespeople receive more training in a month than most service advisors get in a year…or five years. This should not be allowed to continue at your store. Training is an investment in the future. It requires time and energy now but will pay off every single time that advisor is better equipped to:
    • Do a great walkaround that engages the customer
    • Properly question a customer to get the information needed for a perfect repair order
    • Present a maintenance menu
    • Ask for the sale
    • Successfully manage their time during the day
    • Nail an active delivery
  • Daily performance trackingHow many new and used units are out this month? Your sales manager will know, and so will the dealer and/or general manager. But how many GMs and DPs know off the top of their head how many hours have been sold in service yesterday, this week, or for the month? In my experience, just a handful.

    A big reason for this is that sales managers have a strong love for publicly posting results. They have white boards up in the sales office with all kinds of data. We need to bring this performance tracking mentality to service. It takes just a few minutes each morning to pull up sales and CSI numbers for posting.

  • A sales managerWhat is the role of a sales manager? That position has a much narrower focus than that of the typical service manager – they just want to get rubber on the road. A service manager generally has more employees to oversee and is expected to handle:
    • The service advisors
    • Customer complaints
    • A hundred questions a day
    • Technician issues
    • The loaner vehicles
    • Warranty billing
    • Internal vehicles
    • Hiring
    • Shop doors that break
    • Stocking the soap and toilet paper in the rest rooms
    • The list goes on…Having someone designated as the service sales manager can help take some of the load off the service manager’s shoulders. That person can step up to make sure the advisors are doing the things they’re there to do – sell service and take care of the dealership’s customers!
  • Delivery is a BIG dealWhen a car is sold in the sales department, it is a big deal. Salespeople spend a large amount of time delivering that new/used vehicle to their customer. In service we too often breeze through the repair order review, grab the customer’s credit card and send them out the door with their keys. We need to bring a sales-like focus to ensure that customer’s experience ends on a high note.

    How do we replicate and adapt the sales approach when doing service redelivery?

    • See the delivery as an opportunity to wow the customer
      • Reception and delivery are times the customer will remember six months from now when they need service again – stress how critical these minutes are with your advisors.
    • Slow down to go faster
      • Taking just a few extra seconds going through the invoice and multipoint inspection pays off in big ways, as customers will leave with fewer questions about what was done and why the price was the price.
    • Walk every customer to the door of their vehicle
      • Once payment is collected, the business of the service visit is concluded. Advisors need to take this time to cement the relationship with their customer. Walk with them, open doors and thank the customer for their business. This is truly earning the right to serve that customer the next time…the real definition of customer retention.

Our sales counterparts do a lot of things right…let’s borrow their best practices and take your service department to the next level. If you have questions on how to get started, give M5 a call.

Written by Adam Wright

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