As the weather heats up, sales traditionally tend to cool down in the dealership. We’ve all been there. This year, though pent-up demand has caused sales to soar for some, economic uncertainty still looms over many car buyers, and it will be prudent to focus on multiple revenue streams.
So, how can your dealership weather the uncertainty and keep profits steady?
My recommendation: focus on service sales.
Even as many people are still spending much of their time at home, a dependable car continues to play a critical role in daily life. Your customers need their cars to commute to work if they are essential employees, to run important errands and to provide safe travel if public transportation isn’t available.
Service and repair thrive during traditional slumps, and this summer is no different. Here are some helpful tips to boost your service revenue and make this a summer to remember.
Market your customer safety steps
Staying healthy is on everyone’s mind these days. Implement measures and processes to keep your customers safe, then communicate what you’re doing through targeted customer emails and mailers.
Online service scheduling and payments help reduce unnecessary contact between your customers and staff. They also deliver a hassle-free experience that today’s customers often prefer.
You can also offer contactless pickup and drop-off, and extend service hours so you can accommodate more customers while eliminate over-crowding.
Some service centers are taking it a step further and moving closer to a fully no-contact model to handle minor repairs or service. This idea is modeled on the pit crew in a race that surrounds the car and gets repairs done fast, all while the driver sits safely inside the car.
You can also help customers feel safe and secure by touting extensive sanitation procedures, including regular restroom cleanings, face shields in front of service desks and vehicle wipe-downs after service.
Create a special sanitizing service package
The idea here is to offer a special deep cleaning service that kills bacteria on hard and soft surfaces of vehicles.
I’ve seen a few dealerships do this with great success, including a couple that offered this service for free to first responders. What a great way to help your community and create goodwill. You can bet many of those people will remember this and become loyal customers.
Make sure to use an EPA/FDA approved cleaners and widely market what you’re offering. Lean on your CRM to pull targeted marketing lists to spread the word to current customers and leads. Prominently display the package on your website and post it across all social media channels.
Create special summer driving packages
The family road trip is making a comeback. According to travel app GasBuddy, nearly 1 in 3 Americans are planning to hit the road this summer. And that number could go up, especially later in the summer.
In our experience, the top three performing summer service campaigns are the same ones you’ve probably been doing for years. These are a radiator/coolant flush, air conditioning check and oil change/multi-point inspection.
This year, the messaging needs to be tweaked to emphasize the cleanliness of your shop and communicate in the way customers feel most comfortable. This is where all those measures you’re taking to keep customers safe come into play. Talk about what you’re doing in every communication so customers can be reassured that you are putting their health and safety first.
Keep in mind that most people are not mechanics and they often don’t know why a service needs to be done. Tailor your marketing messages to the “why” and “how often” and avoid industry jargon.
For best results, practice multi-channel marketing. Drop a mail piece or send an email and follow up in a few days with a phone call to ask if they would like to take advantage of their special offers.
There’s a huge space right now for your dealership to boost profits by being innovative with service. Despite travel reductions, you can lean on service sales and out-of-the-box thinking to stay strong through uncertainty and keep summer sales steady.