Presenting Maintenance is Not a Choice, it’s a Responsibility!

-by Kristopher Hampton for AutoSuccess Magazine

How would your clients feel if, while leaving your store, someone shared that their advisor didn’t tell them about all of the maintenance recommendations for their vehicle? Do you think they would be mad, disappointed, surprised? Would they ever trust your store again? Keep in mind that when we lose their trust in the service department, we also lose it in sales. Why do we give our advisors this type of control in our current and future production and profits?

You might have advisors that do give recommendations. Congratulations, you’re ahead of the game! But what are they recommending and is it recommended consistently? In order to give the best service, your recommendations should be based on time or mileage, your climate and driving conditions. Don’t make the mistake of losing major revenue opportunities by following the minimum required factory standards in normal driving conditions. I can’t think of one area of our country that falls in the normal category. We all have traffic, fluctuating temperatures and extended idling, even if it is at our favorite fast food drive-thru.

According to NADA data for 2018, the average dealership only closes 20-30% of their potential sales in service.

This is a shocking statistic! How are 70% of potential sales are being missed? Understanding these reasons is the first step towards improving. Let’s look at 5 common reasons sales are missed.

  1. Advisors rush through the write-up and don’t give a sales presentation at all.
  2. Maybe they mention services, but they never ask for the sale. It is more of a suggestion or something they “Might want to think about.”
  3. Advisors recite lists with individual prices instead of giving a professional benefit-based presentation.
  4. Technicians rush through the MPI or worse yet, pencil whip it without actually inspecting anything.
  5. Recommendations are ignored as the advisors just staple them to the back of the receipt in the hopes that their clients will come back.

Clients not only want, but they expect to be given professional guidance and direction to help them make an informed buying decision

Let’s take a few moments to explore why advisors choose to skip this opportunity. Yes, it is a choice and it is costing you a lot of money. I think it is safe to say many advisors think they will stimulate anger, disappointment, and a loss of loyalty by telling clients about recommended services. While many clients do not like to hear they need to spend money, they will appreciate the information if it is presented correctly. When clients show frustration, is often because they do not understand the need for or the benefit of the services they are being asked to purchase. When they are given simple explanations and benefits, they understand that this is important information and their advisor is doing them a service by presenting it.

Your clients deserve to know they can rely on your service team to give them the best advice so they can take care of their 2nd largest investment. They rely on their cars for daily transportation and depend on having a safe driving experience for their families. Your service advisor’s job description should spell out this responsibility by starting with a very descriptive paragraph. Consider the following example:

A service advisor’s job is to build trust and confidence by keeping every guest informed on how to best maintain their vehicles for longevity, optimal performance, resell value, and to avoid expensive repairs. It is mandatory to advise clients on every recommendation from the factory based on our driving conditions, as well as to present any dealer recommendations based on time, mileage and MPI results.

Check to make sure your store has a complete job description and training plan that prepares every team member to perform these responsibilities with ease. If we want to improve, we must take the time to train every advisor by providing word tracks and performing role-plays until they are confident in giving full menu presentations. Can you imagine the increase in revenue just by taking that 30% up to 40% or 50%?  Now we need to make sure your shop is prepared for the additional work, but let’s save that for another article.

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Comment by Tom Loyalty Coach Wiegand on June 12, 2019 at 4:30pm

There's always excuses, and never a valid one.  Valid is the operative word here. IF maintenance and repairs are transparently "VALIDATED" to the customer, closing ratio will exceed 80% all the time. Imagine!

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