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The Secret to Selling Cars in Service

*This article previously appeared in the Reynolds and Reynolds FUEL monthly newsletter*

By Hayley Holmes

If you aren’t selling cars from your service lane, you aren’t selling enough cars. Your best customers are already in your dealership, specifically in for service, and there are a few things you need to remember about them:

1. They are buyers. They already own your product or are servicing their vehicle with you.

2. They like you. There are mechanics on nearly every corner. If they didn’t like you, they’d find someone else.

3. Their trade-in has been maintained. Most customers visiting service departments frequently keep their maintenance up-to-date, which is exactly what you’re looking for in your pre-owned inventory pool.

4. They have time. They have already allotted time to be at your store.

Combine these four factors and your service lane is a gold mine. How do you get these customers to buy while they’re in your store?

Data, data, data. Did I mention data?

One of the biggest objections you’ll hear from customers in for service about upgrading is disbelief. When approaching service customers, you need data to fall back on, or even better, jump start the conversation.

You’ve probably heard of Predictive Analytics. It’s being able to predict what a customer is likely to do next based on behavior and historical outcomes of other consumers in similar life circumstances. Predictive Analytics helps determine who to talk to about what vehicle.

A customer targeting tool fueled by Predictive Analytics goes beyond equity and analyzes the profiles of your entire customer database to identify customers likely to buy regardless of – or in spite of – their equity position. Customers you normally wouldn’t approach become a source of profit.

Real-time information.

Not every customer in for service is a scheduled appointment. You’ll often see last minute walk-ins wanting a typical oil change. These customers can be just as valuable, and it’s important they’re not overlooked as potential lead sources.

Predictive Analytics has the ability to analyze the data almost instantly to identify the quality of the lead. Within minutes, you will know the likelihood of the customer upgrading, and what specifically they’ll likely upgrade to.

Show that you recognize them and value their time.

The two most important words are not please or thank you, but instead are your customer’s first and last names. Personalize your approach and show your customer you value their business. If you don’t explain to a customer within the first fifteen seconds why you are talking to them, you are going to lose them.

“Hi Mike. I’m Kent, the used car manager here at Tolson Motors. I see that you’re driving a 2015 Honda Civic. I’d love to purchase your car today. Mr. Wilker, what would you say if I could get you into a new Honda Civic at a similar monthly payment?”

If you get a “no”, follow up consistently.

Hearing a “no” today does not mean you’ll hear a no tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year. Make it clear to the customer you’re interested in them and their vehicle through automated marketing efforts. You can personalize the message and make it consistent to your original offer. This conveys your professionalism and loyalty to earning their business.

Selling cars in service can be easy with the right tools. Equity mining fueled by Predictive Analytics and automated follow up takes the stress and pain out of the process.

About the Author

Hayley Holmes is the product planning manager at Reynolds and Reynolds for XtreamService. She formerly served as a marketing specialist and team lead, providing XtreamService to dealerships, and assisting to build and develop the marketing services team.

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