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Don’t Miss Revenue Opportunities!

It is widely known that Service is the lifeblood of all dealerships and, in many cases, keeps dealerships financially in the black. With the inundation of service requests by consumers, largely due to the increasing amounts of recalls that we’ve seen in the last few years, service departments are finding it more difficult than ever to accommodate all of the customers that need their attention in a timely manner. Shortages of technicians, and shop capacity diminishing due to demand, can easily see service advisors move away from a consultative selling mode and move towards a “get ‘em in and out!” mentality. While it’s easy to see how this could happen as service advisors – and dealerships – want to accommodate as many customers as possible, dealerships are skipping sales steps in the name of efficiency and customer experience and leaving money on the table. So, here are a few tips that you can utilize when it comes to service recommendations. As a Dealer you should be holding your Service staff accountable for ensuring they are taking advantage of the opportunities and explaining how important they are to the overall profitability of the dealership: Let’s start with the multi-point or “courtesy” inspection that should be completed on every vehicle in for service. Of course, every service advisor will present the results of the inspection to the customer. The question is that, as service advisors get busier, do they miss things that could easily increase “upselling” in service? And it starts by showing the customer what passed! If you present the items that passed and then those that are recommended you will be off to a great start! Now on to the tips… 1. Service Advisors Forget to Sell - Customers don’t necessarily “want” to spend more money for services that they weren’t expecting, but many will do so if they are convinced that the vehicle’s safety and life will be negatively affected by not doing so. Informing a customer that their vehicle needs X service and that it will cost $X without explaining what the service is, why it’s important and what the consequences of not doing the service, gives the customer an easy way to decline the service, and so the service advisor moves on. The problem is that oftentimes customers decline service not because they don’t want to keep their vehicles maintained and operating safely, but rather because the service advisor has not explained fully why it’s important. Service advisors should always take the time, no matter how busy the service drive is, to fully explain the reasons for the recommendations and the impact failure to complete them could bring. 2. Review Service History - many service advisors fail to review past service visits and reinforce the need to complete previously declined recommended services. Many customers take service recommendations with a skeptical perspective, so unless they’re a gear head, they many not truly understand why or how important a recommended service is, and so they decline it – even if it’s just being declined “for now” in their minds, thinking “I’ll go ask a family member or do some research, to see if I really need it”. Then of course they get busy and forget about it and even if they did go ask that family member or do that research, they forget the answer by the next visit. You can’t tell a customer that they need new brake pads or tires on one visit, then, assuming the brake pads or tires weren’t replaced in between, fail to reaffirm it 3-6 months later! That kills their confidence in the advisor and the Dealership! Ensuring that technicians are continuing to “re-recommend” any previously declined services from each customer accomplishes two things:
  • It reinforces the integrity of the original recommendation
  • And builds trust while reminding the customer that they needed this service
Depending on the technician that did the MPI in each visit, recommendations from previous visits could differ from a current visit. By “re-recommending” previously declined services, the dealership stands a better chance of capturing that service business. The only valid reason not to “re-recommend” a previously declined service is if a customer informs the service advisor that they had the service done elsewhere and the technician can visually verify that it was. 3. Time is of the Essence - How many services get declined for the simple reason that the customer wasn’t contacted in a timely manner to get permission to do the additional repairs? If the advisor waits until later in the day to contact the customer often the only reason they decline it is because they think their vehicle won’t be ready when they needed or expected it. Research time and again proves the faster the MPI is completed and the customer contacted, the higher the likelihood that the customer will agree to the additional services assuming that everything is explained properly by the service advisor. What rational customer does not want to keep their vehicle running properly and safely? Cars tend to be the second largest purchase that a consumer makes in their lives and they rely on their vehicles to transport themselves and their families to work and school safely. The loss of a vehicle can be financially devastating to many American families. The mere fact that the customer is at your dealership versus having a family member or local mechanic do the work means that they not only value the quality of service that a dealership provides, but that they are also relying on the experts at your dealership to let them know what, if anything, their vehicle needs. The bottom line is, if you make sure that your service advisors are being thorough in their service recommendations to every customer, then reinforce and validate any past declined services and verify the best contact methods with each customer to ensure fast communications and recommendation resolutions, you will see less declined service and higher repair order values! Do you have a suggested blog topic? Email me at andyc@aseamericas.com or leave it in the comments. Until next time…
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Don’t Miss Revenue Opportunities!

It is widely known that Service is the lifeblood of all dealerships and, in many cases, keeps dealerships financially in the black. With the inundation of service requests by consumers, largely due to the increasing amounts of recalls that we’ve seen in the last few years, service departments are finding it more difficult than ever to accommodate all of the customers that need their attention in a timely manner. Shortages of technicians, and shop capacity diminishing due to demand, can easily see service advisors move away from a consultative selling mode and move towards a “get ‘em in and out!” mentality. While it’s easy to see how this could happen as service advisors – and dealerships – want to accommodate as many customers as possible, dealerships are skipping sales steps in the name of efficiency and customer experience and leaving money on the table.

So, here are a few tips that you can utilize when it comes to service recommendations. As a Dealer you should be holding your Service staff accountable for ensuring they are taking advantage of the opportunities and explaining how important they are to the overall profitability of the dealership:

Let’s start with the multi-point or “courtesy” inspection that should be completed on every vehicle in for service. Of course, every service advisor will present the results of the inspection to the customer. The question is that, as service advisors get busier, do they miss things that could easily increase “upselling” in service? And it starts by showing the customer what passed! If you present the items that passed and then those that are recommended you will be off to a great start! Now on to the tips…

1. Service Advisors Forget to Sell – Customers don’t necessarily “want” to spend more money for services that they weren’t expecting, but many will do so if they are convinced that the vehicle’s safety and life will be negatively affected by not doing so. Informing a customer that their vehicle needs X service and that it will cost $X without explaining what the service is, why it’s important and what the consequences of not doing the service, gives the customer an easy way to decline the service, and so the service advisor moves on. The problem is that oftentimes customers decline service not because they don’t want to keep their vehicles maintained and operating safely, but rather because the service advisor has not explained fully why it’s important. Service advisors should always take the time, no matter how busy the service drive is, to fully explain the reasons for the recommendations and the impact failure to complete them could bring.

2. Review Service History – many service advisors fail to review past service visits and reinforce the need to complete previously declined recommended services. Many customers take service recommendations with a skeptical perspective, so unless they’re a gear head, they many not truly understand why or how important a recommended service is, and so they decline it – even if it’s just being declined “for now” in their minds, thinking “I’ll go ask a family member or do some research, to see if I really need it”. Then of course they get busy and forget about it and even if they did go ask that family member or do that research, they forget the answer by the next visit. You can’t tell a customer that they need new brake pads or tires on one visit, then, assuming the brake pads or tires weren’t replaced in between, fail to reaffirm it 3-6 months later! That kills their confidence in the advisor and the Dealership!

Ensuring that technicians are continuing to “re-recommend” any previously declined services from each customer accomplishes two things:

  • It reinforces the integrity of the original recommendation
  • And builds trust while reminding the customer that they needed this service

Depending on the technician that did the MPI in each visit, recommendations from previous visits could differ from a current visit. By “re-recommending” previously declined services, the dealership stands a better chance of capturing that service business. The only valid reason not to “re-recommend” a previously declined service is if a customer informs the service advisor that they had the service done elsewhere and the technician can visually verify that it was.

3. Time is of the Essence – How many services get declined for the simple reason that the customer wasn’t contacted in a timely manner to get permission to do the additional repairs? If the advisor waits until later in the day to contact the customer often the only reason they decline it is because they think their vehicle won’t be ready when they needed or expected it. Research time and again proves the faster the MPI is completed and the customer contacted, the higher the likelihood that the customer will agree to the additional services assuming that everything is explained properly by the service advisor.

What rational customer does not want to keep their vehicle running properly and safely? Cars tend to be the second largest purchase that a consumer makes in their lives and they rely on their vehicles to transport themselves and their families to work and school safely. The loss of a vehicle can be financially devastating to many American families. The mere fact that the customer is at your dealership versus having a family member or local mechanic do the work means that they not only value the quality of service that a dealership provides, but that they are also relying on the experts at your dealership to let them know what, if anything, their vehicle needs.

The bottom line is, if you make sure that your service advisors are being thorough in their service recommendations to every customer, then reinforce and validate any past declined services and verify the best contact methods with each customer to ensure fast communications and recommendation resolutions, you will see less declined service and higher repair order values!

Do you have a suggested blog topic? Email me at andyc@aseamericas.com or leave it in the comments. Until next time…

Discover how Profit by Action is the right solution for your Automotive Dealership

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3 Tips to Improve the Results of Phone C...

Phone Tips

Many dealerships subscribe to some type of call tracking service that records incoming phone calls, however, many sales managers neglect to listen to the calls on a regular basis. Typically, it’s not until the end of the month when they’re trying to squeeze out those last few units for the month, that the call tracking service comes to mind. They listen to calls and then, oftentimes, want to bang their head against the wall.

How salespeople handle incoming calls with prospective buyers can make or break a sale, causing the customer to choose a different dealership or brand entirely. Many sales people believe they can sell the car over the phone and close the deal without ever meeting the prospect!

Therefore, making sure that staff handling calls are prepared to do so by having the right training and approach, is vital to getting more prospects in the door and opportunities to make more sales. Yet far too many dealerships neglect to teach and coach, their salespeople in effective ways to handle incoming calls.

Here are three tips that will help sales managers prepare their staff to handle incoming calls more effectively:

  1. Smile – When you smile while talking on the phone with someone, your attitude is naturally transferred within the conversation. Ensuring that there is a smile on your face makes a great first impression with the customer on the other end of the line, and we all know how important first impressions are! If your attitude is positive, the customer will sense it and be more interested in talking to you.
  2. Tone Matters – It’s not simply smiling while on the phone but how you are speaking. We all know that saying things with different tones can change the meaning of what is trying to be communicated. Being conscious of how you are speaking with a customer – keeping an open, friendly and helpful tone – will start a relationship on the right foot and make the customer more interested in doing business with not only that individual salesperson but also the dealership.
  3. Be Conversational – Just like when a customer is standing in front of you on the lot, make sure that you’re having a conversation with them. If you can find common interests and start building rapport with the customer, you greatly improve your chances of them trusting you and liking you before they’ve even met you in person.

Finally, you everyone needs to understand the definition of success when answering the phone. If they don’t know what success is and have that as a goal, the conversation can easily be cut short without the salesperson accomplishing anything. Have you ever heard a salesperson answer the phone, have a customer ask if a particular vehicle is in stock, for the salesperson to simply reply “No” and have the customer simply say “Thanks” and hang up? That’s a lost opportunity!

So, what is the definition of a successful phone call? There are 2 goals…

  1. Get the Customer’s Contact Information – Even if nothing comes from the phone call, succeeding in getting the customer’s contact information allows the salesperson to follow-up with the customer. What if your dealership gets a unit in-stock the day after the phone call in which the salesperson simply said it was not and the customer hung up? Without contact information, the salesperson would have no way of reaching out to the customer to let them know.
  2. Make an Appointment – It’s one thing to have a great conversation and have the customer say that they’ll come down and look at the car. It’s quite another to not only get their contact information, but also get the customer to commit to a day and time. This builds a sense of obligation on the part of the customer. In addition, if a sales manager calls and confirms the appointment, it allows the dealership to reinforce the appointment while making the customer feel valued and welcome. That will greatly improve your show rate and opportunities. Statistics show time and again that the closing rate of sales appointments is far higher than walk in traffic! So book it!

Start making sure that your sales staff understand the importance of handling incoming calls properly. Make it a subject of your Saturday Sales Meeting, talk about it at your daily huddle, listen to calls that are recorded and coach your team on what they did well and how they can improve. Make it a habit, define success, and reinforce the message on an ongoing basis! Doing so will sell more cars, make more money and the dealership will be more successful!

Happy Selling!

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Creating Pay Plans that Create Profitabi...

Creating Pay Plans for Profitability

Say the words “We’re changing Pay Plans” in a dealership and everyone starts to run for the hills! This is typically because pay plans in our industry are usually designed with little thought, flexibility, or consideration for what you are actually trying to achieve. The pay plan is written around “So how much do you make now?” or “what does the average person make in that job?” instead of what really matters, Incentivizing, Motivating, and Rewarding employees to achieve GOALS!

Spend even a little time defining your goals, and then creating a pay plan in line with those goals, and your employees will reward you with improved employee retention, performance, and a winning culture! My workshop will provide you with the skills and tools to create Pay Plans that Drive Profitability!

For example, here are 3 tips for designing a successful pay plan:

  1. Position not Person – When designing the pay plan make sure you do it for the position not the person. In other words, just because Bob looks good on paper don’t give him a “Special” Technician pay plan to do the same job as your other Technicians of the same skill.
  2. Define Success – If we don’t know what success looks like, monetary compensation, performance achievement, and any other areas we expect, how can we know if the person achieved success or if the pay plan had any impact on their performance at all? And how do they know what they are trying to achieve? Define success and then monitor results!
  3. Win = Win – A successful pay plan will result in a win for both parties involved. So, the Dealership gets a win and the employee gets a win. If the employee earns more money than ever, yet the Dealership is far less profitable, you can bet dollars to doughnuts that the pay plan will be out with the trash in no time!

Remember these 3 tips when reviewing, adapting and creating pay plans for your Dealership! And Make sure to attend my DSES Seminar where I will share with you the skills, tips, and practical examples, for “Creating Pay Plans that Drive Profitability!”

Be Profitable!

Discover how Profit by Action is the right solution for your Automotive Dealership

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Unleash the Power of Your Phone

Everyone is obsessed with talking about the latest Chat or email solution for Dealerships to try. Most dealerships have a solution in place to handle chat and email and place a lot of focus on ensuring potential customers get the information they need in a timely and efficient manner. That is great and of course needed, but the conversion on these types of leads tends to be low as the prospect may still be in the research phase and not planning to purchase for up to 3 months. Basically, our goal is to turn what is essentially a warm lead into a hot prospect, ready to walk through the doors at the dealership and complete the deal simply by using the power of your phone.

This leads us to our old, neglected and trusty friend, that we seem to have forgotten! The telephone, yes the phone. Considered by many as ancient technology, dealerships do little more than make sure they have a telephone to answer calls and really spend little if no effort on the customer experience. We spend time and money training on how to, and how often to, respond to emails and chats, but when was the last time your team received training on how to properly handle a phone call?

According to a recent Media Hawk survey, when a prospect phones a dealership they are likely to buy within 48 hours! That makes for one HOT lead with a high conversion probability, if your team handles the call correctly. But leave the call on hold for more than 40 seconds, or handle it wrong, and they will often move on to the next dealership and the opportunity is lost.

So train your team to know the basics:

Do

  1. Fast Beats Slow – answer on the first ring!
  2. Answer with a smile – Tone of voice makes a difference!
  3. Ask for the contact details – give information, get information!
  4. Ask for the appointment – Invite them in.. Do not wait until the end of the call.

Don’t

  1. Use jargon – The prospect doesn’t know what it means
  2. Be distracted – give the person your undivided attention.
  3. Tell them to research on the internet – you should be their trusted source of information!

A small investment of time and energy will – unleash the power of your phone!

Discover how Profit by Action is the right solution for your Automotive Dealership

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Develop Managers to Grow Your Bottom Lin...

Department Managers have an enormous impact on your Dealerships Profitability. That impact can either be positive, or negative. The choice is really up to you. We would never let the coach on the field without a playbook and a strategy, yet as an industry we let our managers “play” every day without the skills and support to manager their teams. Ask yourself “do I have a plan in place to ensure my managers have a positive outcome on the bottom line?”

Managers have so much influence over the daily operations of the business you would think we spend tons of time and money developing leaders who understand how the business operates, how we make money, deliver great customer experiences, get and keep great staff, plan the business, all of the essentials in running a successful department and dealership.

Unfortunately, we find there is no strategy or plan for these essential team members. Managers are just good people, doing the best they can with the tools provided. The average department manager has been promoted through the ranks (which can be a very positive thing) but actually never received training in how to be a manager and be successful in the job. Sure, we show them how to work the computer (a little), how to handle customer situations, and how to juggle, and say “get on with it”. But do we actually have a plan in place to improve their skill set, knowledge, and understanding of how to drive the business and contribute to the bottom line?

Here’s how to start turning the tide for your team and increase your managers skills and knowledge:

  1. Make it a topic of conversation – At your next Managers meeting ask the Managers where they believe they might benefit from additional training. Then act to fill the gaps.
  2. Create a training plan – Making Manager training a monthly habit drives the whole team forward and gives you a “Topic of the Month” to focus on with your team. For example, ASE’s Profit By Action training portal does all the work for you and provides a 12 month guided training and support plan for each Manager.  www.profitbyaction.com.  The Profit By Action training plan includes every topic a manager needs to be a success, from the basics of the business, to financials, to operations, to recruiting and managing the team.
  3. Follow up – At each Managers meeting have each Manager say 1 thing they learned that month and how they applied it to the business to drive the bottom line!

Take the 3 actions above and your team will have the competitive edge to drive profitability and increase your bottom line!

Questions or want to talk more? Message or email me andyc@aseamericas.com

Discover how Profit by Action is the right solution for your Automotive Dealership

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Profit by Action