When I ask about sales training or dealership education programs during dealership visits I hear pretty much the same thing. A great majority of dealers talk about someone in the sales department who took this class or that. The point: Most dealers put more emphasis on training sales department folks than all the other departments combined.
When you think that in all likelihood your service advisors and your parts counter folks have more interaction with clients, or more “ups,” than any vehicle salesperson gets on a daily basis, wouldn’t it make sense to put the same type of effort training those advisors and counter folks to sell as well? Stable dealership profitability does not start with your vehicle sales department. It begins with your service and parts departments.
Service advisors are perhaps the most important contributors to a service department’s sales and profitability. They are the front line. They meet and greet, advise and guide, build lasting relationships and communicate and follow-up. Sounds a lot like a sales department sales process, don’t you think?
Think about this (yes, I’m holding the mirror up): The more times a client visits and uses a dealership’s service department, it dramatically increases the chances that the client will purchase a vehicle from that dealership. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
You want return clients? Your greatest opportunity for client retention begins, or could end, in your service department. Folks that find a service department they trust, they don’t leave. The whole department is like a family friend that should spend the holidays with them. A little tongue in cheek I know, but closer to truth than not.
And then we have what is not being sold that should be sold over our parts counters. Much of the time our counter folks don’t take the time to advise and guide what should be purchased. The majority is focused on order taking. “Customers just want to get in and then out,” and “We’ll show them next time,” are normal excuses as to why what should have been sold, wasn’t sold. They focus on the low-hanging fruit and forget about what’s higher up (sound familiar?).
You can never be too busy to make sure that you take full advantage of every interaction and sales opportunity. Like your service advisors, train those folks behind your parts counter like you would the folks that work your vehicle sales floor. They’re just as important, and you’ll get a better return on investment in your parts department and service department if you invest in them.
Have a great April...MM
Mark Mooney is the principal of Mark Mooney Powersports Consulting, a Santa Cruz, California, company that works with OEMs and powersports dealers to strengthen dealership performance. Mark is a nationally known speaker and teacher that works with dealers throughout the United States. Mark Mooney Powersports Consulting is “empowering performance and strengthening profitability through practical solutions.”