As you probably know by now, I made my name helping turn dealerships around during the toughest time the industry’s had in the recent past. During the recession, while dealerships were going bankrupt every day, my clients had their best years ever! Not one or two—all of them!
Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve shared with them over the years, to help make that kind of impact in their success and profits.
STOP COMPETING JUST ON PRICE – OFFER CONVENIENCE!
When it comes to your service department, the truth is that people are totally numb to the idea of a $29.99 or $24.99 or even $19.99 oil change. They’ve seen it too many times, they know that real quality costs more, and frankly, with some half-baked quick-lube place down the street that offers the same price while they wait, a lot of people just don’t want to deal with the hassle of making appointments, going to the dealership, dropping their car off and dealing with finding rides, or waiting for the slower, higher-quality service offered there.
So take the hassle out of it! Offer loaner cars. Not just to big-ticket customers, to every customer. It sounds like a lot to offer, and it does take some initial investment, but the simple fact is, it will pay for itself in no time. If you offer a loaner car even with just an oil change, your customers will be amazed! It adds convenience to their day, which for most people is far more valuable than a little bit of savings. More importantly, you get time with the vehicle to perform a full inspection. Then, if you find maintenance items or repairs that need to be done, since they already have the loaner car, it’s easy for them to say yes!
BECOME YOUR CUSTOMER’S “CAR GUY” (OR GAL)
Sometimes, a customer just has a question or a worry. It happens a lot more than you think! For most vehicle owners, their car is a giant, expensive mystery, and if it starts doing something weird, it can be scary! Unfortunately, people are so used to going to their dealership or other repair facilities, and getting high-pressure sales tactics, and even scare tactics thrown in their faces, that they’d rather just live with the worry, and hope in vain that nothing serious goes wrong.
Instead, encourage your Service Advisors to make themselves available to customers with no pressure. Once a customer feels like he or she can simply come to their Advisor and ask questions, or get concerns dealt with, without added hassle or feeling forced into anything, then when you do find something that legitimately needs to be dealt with, you’ll have enough trust built with them for it to simply not be an issue. I can’t tell you how many times my clients (or even my own dealerships) have told me that when using this technique, when a customer does come in and work needs to be done, they just smile and toss the advisor the keys, saying “I trust you. Do what needs to be done.”
Wouldn’t that be nice to see in your own service drive?