This article was written by contributing writer Susan Medrano, SVP and General Manager of Synchrony Outdoors.
An astounding 97 percent of powersports consumers have purchased aftermarket items in the past 12 months, according to Synchrony’s recent Outdoor PG&A Credit Product Study. That statistic suggests that dealerships have a significant opportunity to increase aftermarket sales. To help capture this additional revenue, every department within the dealership should be trained in sales, including parts and services teams.
It’s only natural that the majority of sales-focused conversations center on vehicles, versus aftermarket products or vehicle servicing. After all, the purchase of a vehicle is likely the biggest powersports purchase the customer will make. But when the transaction is completed, the sales journey shouldn’t end. This is the time for dealers to shift into the aftermarket phase, where the focus can be on anything from protective clothing like helmets or goggles to trailers and mechanical equipment, as well as servicing, as owners will need to return to the dealership for regular maintenance of their new vehicles.
That’s where parts and service teams enter the equation. Once these professionals are sales enabled, they can help generate some of the highest margins for a dealer. Consider widening the scope of sales training beyond the new, used, and finance departments to include parts and services. Some initial areas to focus on include:
- Sales resources: Share foundational sales elements such as external training videos, tools, and OEM resources. These will give trainees a quick immersion into the world of sales and help them get up to speed on the key messages and processes. At Synchrony, we provide training programs to our partners to teach employees how to use financing options to help meet consumer needs.
- Internal sales meetings: Invite your parts and services managers to these meetings, giving them the opportunity to hear from experienced salespeople to further their education and ask questions.
- Their unique role: The parts and services teams should understand they aren’t being asked to walk the floor like typical salespeople. A sale is a solution to a problem, and that’s what these teams excel at, working with the customer to fix problems.
Once services and parts are trained, it’s time to focus on actual sales. Financing should be a part of the conversation from the beginning. As the parts and services teams ease into the sales waters, introducing the dealership’s available financing offers is a good way to help the customer feel comfortable making informed decisions based on their actual buying power and decrease the risk of second thoughts when it’s time to pay.
For example, a customer purchases a new side-by-side but also wants to add extra items, including a stereo, cab enclosure, and high-end wheels. These add-ons can drive the cost up dramatically, and it’s understandable that the customer may be hesitant, especially if they have not been presented with the available financing options. Here the services department can help by proactively outlining those options, such as the Synchrony Outdoors credit card, which can be used at than 5,000 powersports dealers across the country to purchase aftermarket products and pay for and servicing. According to our research, 86% of our powersports customers said they also used some type of financing for their aftermarket purchases.
Tracking Lost Sales
No dealership has a 100 percent sales success rate. That’s why it’s imperative to track lost sales, whether it’s equipment or apparel that was ultimately left on the table or a transmission rebuild that the customer ultimately chose to hold off on. In either instance, the deal might not be lost for good. By tracking these details and flagging those that were not completed, services teams have critical insights that they can use to proactively connect with customers, for example, “I know you were interested in a new helmet, boots, and jacket, but you didn’t purchase.” From there, they can ask if the customer was presented with all the available financing options, such as deferred interest—65% of powersports consumers said they are open to promotional financing for aftermarket purchases of less than $750.
If the transaction in question was a transmission rebuild, ask why they declined to go through with the repair, if they chose to go somewhere else, or if they are planning to sell the vehicle or save up for the service. Here again, is the opportunity to present the payment and financing options. These scenarios will not result in sales 100 percent of the time, but even if 10 percent are successful, that’s a significant amount of revenue that otherwise would have been lost.
The key is to remember that whether customers are shopping for a vehicle or a helmet, these can often be very emotional purchases. By knowing the available payment options, customers may have more choices as they peruse the show floor. You can include these financing details on the price tags so customers can see them as they shop. And at the end of the day, they can leave with precisely the items they want without being overwhelmed by the amount they have spent up front.
The dealership’s goal is to meet the many needs of its customers, from the first time they step into the store and every time thereafter. One way for the dealer to keep them coming back is to empower the parts and services teams with the skills to connect customers with the items they seek while helping to ease any financial anxiety that may seep into the process.