Issue Date: Service Advisor Apr 1, 2011, Posted On: 4/5/2011
Great ideas for selling more service The next time your service manager calls a meeting and asks for suggestions to bring in more customer pay service business, be prepared. Here are some tried and true practices from dealerships around the country:
1. Participate in "Welcome Wagon" mailers. These are put together by marketing firms and bring together a number of local merchants. Your free oil change offer comes in the same envelope with restaurant coupons, shoe store ads, etc. If your coupon is lying on the table when potential customers need service, there’s a good chance they'll give you a try. The word FREE in bold letters is an especially effective tool.
2. New developments in new car owner clinics. This old idea is constantly being updated:
Hold the clinics on Saturday mornings. Serve coffee and doughnuts. If your dealership has a car wash, offer to wash customer cars for free on Saturdays as an attendance booster.
Dealer gives $100 to the sales person that gets the most customers to an owner’s clinic.
Bring in an accessories display. Show customers what’s available in appearance and performance products. Big profits here!
Survey attendees to see what they found most useful and least helpful.
Create a theme. One dealership built an owners' clinic around a safety theme. They offered a free safety inspection and invited other public safety organizations like the fire department, police, and ambulance company to give demonstrations. Refreshments can turn the event into a family outing that will attract more people than just your new car customers.
Focus on concerns of new car owners that go beyond the warranty and maintenance items. Demonstrate how to use the other bells and whistles that the salesman sold: how to set the radio buttons, find and use the jack to change a flat tire, getting more from the heating and air conditioning system. On newer vehicles, these things can be a little confusing.
3. Send out birthday cards, service reminders, anything to foster the customer relationship.
4. Call customers who haven't been in for a year and find out where they've been getting their vehicle serviced. You know it's not your place, so offer something of value to bring them back.
5. Encourage your dealership to create an online newsletter and make sure the service department gets prominent coverage. Your dealership's ad agency can do this. There are vendors that specialize in online newsletters for car dealers.
6. Any customer that buys more than $700 (set your own figure) worth of labor and parts ought to get his car detailed for free. They'll notice and it will go a long way toward easing any dissatisfaction with the cost of the service. This one is guaranteed to work!