I could make a case that the Service Advisor is the most important job role in the dealership. We’ve all heard that sales sells the first car and service sells the rest, and the Service Advisor is the linchpin that makes this possible. In many cases, customers aren’t excited to bring their car in. It could mean hundreds of dollars (or more) in repair costs. Your job is to maximize profit for the dealership and delight the customer so that they want to come back and do business with your store again.
Let’s discuss some of the keys to selling service. These three critical keys aren’t steps in a process. Rather, they are built into your entire interaction with a customer. There are more than these three, but mastering the following keys will increase your engagement and interaction with customers.
The first key is start positive and end positive. When presenting repair recommendations to a customer, start with the green. Follow that with recommendations, and finish with a positive statement. For example, “Mrs Smith, I have great news. Overall your vehicle is in really good shape. The brakes are in good condition. You’ve taken really good care of your car. As you can see this report card shows mostly green. I wanted to bring to your attention, the tires are really worn. I’ve priced some options for you, and replacing them will dramatically help improve the vehicle performance. Once the tires are completed, Mrs Smith, your vehicle will be back in great condition and back to all green on the report card.”
Next, focus on the customer. They can tell when you’re in it for the money or when you’re there to help. Never put the money before the customer. Most importantly, focus on the customer and not the car. This is difficult to do, but will drastically improve your results.
What do I mean? Let’s talk about transactional versus relationship selling.
Transactional selling is short-term. The advisor is primarily concerned with the transaction and selling the product with little or no emphasis on the customer needs. It is based on price and money, with little regard for loyalty.
Relationship selling in long-term. It involves building a relationship and getting to know the customer. You focus on their wants and needs. It’s more about lifetime customer value and less about one-time RO value. This fosters loyalty.
Finally, plant a seed and create a need. This can impact your current RO, but more importantly future opportunities with the customer. For example, “when was the last time you performed a coolant flush?” or “ when was the last time you had the air filter replaced?” By asking this simple question your customer will establish their own need. It also lets them know they may need to be thinking about that coolant flush or air filter.
When selling service remember to start and end positive, focus on the customer, and to plant a seed and create a need. When you are able to consistently achieve these three key touchpoints you will not only be a better Service Advisor, you will create trust with the customer. This will enable you to achieve your end goal, which is to create customers for life.