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Be a Sales Pro – Work the Service Drive

Question: Is a sales associate’s selling responsibility complete once the customer drives off in his or her new wheels? For too many sales associates it is. This is a mistake.

 

Of course, the action all sales associates thrive on is, indeed, in the front of the store. After all, it’s there one basks in the glamour of the new models, the showroom lights and the rainbow of colors – all which get the selling juices flowing. An up walks through the door and don’t heartbeats increase?

 

In my study of dealership selling strategies, it seems we too often end the Road to the Sale at the point when the customer takes delivery. Look a little further down this road though and you’ll notice it leads to additional selling opportunities for the sales associate.

 

This part of the road to the sale too often left untraveled is the service lane. It is by engaging the customer again here that the customer’s sales associate deepens this key relationship.

 

Associates often need your leadership to meet their customers there. After all, the urge to remain in the familiar showroom to grab the next up can be almost overwhelming. However, associates who put in the time, effort and engagement to solidify relations with existing customers in every way possible is a long-term investment, odds are one that will prove more profitably for the associate and the dealership than the next walk-in.

 

Pursuing customers every time they come in for service is smart. When associates revisit their customers as they come in for service, associates create ongoing sales opportunities several ways. They can:

 

  • Offer the customer a familiar face in an otherwise unfamiliar environment
  • Be outgoing and courteous, by welcoming the customer to service, seeing that an advisor greets them properly and otherwise letting the customer know the associate has his or her back
  • Anticipate and answer questions – where’s the restroom, how is lounge Wi-Fi connected, where is a vacant office if needed
  • Meet customer needs by taking advantage of the opportunity to ask if the customer has any issues with the vehicle, the staff or the dealership; perhaps the associate can offer to review key vehicle and features operations as a refresher to the original delivery
  • Ask customers if they might be interested in accessories for their vehicle, and then direct them or that information to the advisor
  • Learn how to improve their personal performance by asking customers how the associate or dealership might improve techniques and processes
  • Ask customers for referrals.

 

We too often fail to ask customers who they know – family, friends or associates – who might be considering or shopping for a new or pre-owned vehicle. Now is a  fine time for the associate to hand the customer several of his or her business cards and explain how the dealership referral system works and make sure the customer understands how it benefits him or her too.

 

Meeting customers again, in the service department, is a time-tested method for building customer rapport and trust that creates a more engaged relationship between the associate and customer. Done often and done well, “selling” in the service department can help create a repeat purchaser of not only services but also a new or additional vehicle.

 

Associates should be trained to take advantage of these opportunities – don’t assume every associate is so motivated. Hold them accountable for purposefully seeking out their customers scheduled to be in service on those days they work the floor.

 

Furthermore, to make this process more surefooted consider implementing process or systems that automate this service appointment notification via email or texts to the respective associate’s desktop or mobile device.

 

Selling this way in the service drive may not be glamorous or exactly the sales associates’ cup of tea. However, building lasting rapport with customers that helps engage them deeper in the dealership should be a fastball required of every associate.

 

Sometimes, though, associates require a little redirect and training on this phase of growing lifetime customers. Leadership and accountability here by senior managers – holding staff responsible for the Road to the Sale as well as to the sale road less taken in service -- will ensure greater success for all concerned.

 

Views: 1008

Tags: Sales, Selling in the Service Drive, Service, Service Department

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Comment by Kurt Kubicki on January 30, 2012 at 5:18am

Great point Bert, thanks for bringing it up.

Comment by Bert Martin on January 29, 2012 at 12:26pm

Understanding the need to work the service drive for many, many, years, this is an important post but lacks the central understanding of the salesperson creating a relationship with the service advisor and assisting the customer as a team.  The ability of a salesperson (especially a green pea) to establish a relationship with a service advisor is essential to the culture and a proven process in dealership operations.

Comment by Kurt Kubicki on January 29, 2012 at 9:18am

Thanks Marsh, Michael and Allen. Establishing those personal relationships by taking the time to look a little further down this road can lead to pure gold, as we know.

 

Comment by Michael J Collins on January 28, 2012 at 12:07pm

very good blogg. The salesperson forgets that the best and easiest customers to close are your service customers. They already know you, like your dealership and will listen to your recomendations. The best salesperson in the store is sitting behind that service counter. The service writer! They can sell more cars than your showroom sales floor. They may not be working together. 

Comment by Allen Friello on January 28, 2012 at 10:12am

This is a fantastic post - It focuses on the importance of a genuine 1 to 1 relationship between the customer and the Professional Salesperson - Too often this relationship gets tripped up or is complicated with additional hurdles some dealers have chosen. Relationship selling is important as ever. Treating your customer like a client and not a wallet is a true sign of a Sales Pro.

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