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Auto Dealers Embracing ‘Green Light’ Up-Sell Strategy Boosting Monthly Parts/Labor Sales $100,000 and More



            Las Vegas, NV, August 15, 2011, MPi (, the leading provider of vehicle inspection tools, processes, and consulting for auto dealer service departments, announced today that dealerships using its “green light” upsell strategy are reporting substantial growth in monthly parts and labor sales.


“We’re averaging $100,000 a month in upsell parts and labor using processes that help advisors earn customers’ upsell ‘green light’ go-ahead,” says Brian Pearce, Parts and Service Director for Superior Honda of Omaha, Omaha, NE.


“We’ve been practicing upsell processes for about two years now and we’re realizing an additional $231,000 per month in upsell parts and labor sales a month,” says Todd Sylvester, Service Director for Northside Lexus, Houston, TX.


An upsell is any recommended service or repair beyond that originally identified by the vehicle owner.


The green light strategy that dealerships like Superior Honda and Northside Lexus use to boost upsell results centers around a multi-step vehicle inspection that confirms owner-identified vehicle needs. Then the technician immediately checks the vehicle for any other safety, performance or convenience needs that might merit upsell attention.


Upsell recommendations that may be identified are described for the consumer in detailed and visually instructive reports, a Know Your Vehicle Report that explains why recommendations for that customer’s vehicle are being made, and a Recommended Action Plan that outlines the priority of any additional recommended repairs. Together, these tools help build credibility and trust in the advisor’s recommendations.


Says Sylvester, “The first step to upsell success is the relationship the advisor builds with the customer, which begins when the customer brings in a new vehicle. Advisors can want to avoid new-car customers for the simple fact new cars don’t need work, certainly not upsell work. But this is the place where the all-important relationship for the long haul is established, and I train my advisors that this is the point where they begin exceeding customer expectations of what dealership service should be.”


Sylvester’s point, learned from MPi’s World Class Inspection program, is that a relationship built early in the customer’s experience with the dealership when service needs will generally be minor, if at all, helps build the kind of bridge that can bear the weight of bad news as that vehicle ages and does require customer-pay work the advisor will likely recommend.


“I attribute much of this success to MPi and its ongoing advisor training on the upsell process,” Sylvester notes, “which has made us more consistent in what we do from advisor to advisor. Upsell dollars per RO parts and labor have doubled since then and lead to improved CSI as well.”


Superior Honda uses these processes to improve its service business too. “We’re generating a little more than $67 in upsell per RO – two-to-three fold greater than what we were doing before embracing these processes,” Pearce says. “Our monthly return on investment makes this program well worth it for our store.”


Sammy Reagan, Dealer Principal at Infiniti of Omaha, says not only has practicing this strategy helped grow his service department’s upsell parts and labor dollars, but boost after-sale retention too. For instance, his shop now recaptures 35% of Declined Service customers within 30 days.


His service department practices Infiniti’s Quarter-Time Rule. It specifies that upsell presentations happen within minutes of the customer’s arrival in service. For a scheduled 90-minute job, for instance, upsell recommendations need to happen within the first 23 minutes.  “That was a challenge when techs waited until the initial job was completed to inspect the vehicle for other needs,” Reagan says. “When we started with MPi we flipped the inspection process so every service began with the vehicle inspection – and upsells went up substantially.”


The uniformity and consistency in upsell processes this green light strategy creates helps dealerships establish the kind of confidence in their services and trust in their people that are critically important to stronger service sales.


“Having gained this trust, advisors are more likely to receive customer’s go-ahead to have recommended upsell services or repairs completed,” Sylvester notes.

Reagan agrees. “This consistency in how we inspect, present and build value into our service business has also helped boost CSI and today we’re the second-highest customer retention dealer for Infiniti, west of the Mississippi River.”


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