The service department at dealerships is mostly passive, not actively seeking out new clients. No one’s going to turn down new customers, but actively drawing them in? Likely not. And when dealers do, you’d probably agree that it’s with loss leaders like oil changes and alignments at a bargain-basement price. But there’s a better approach.
Third-party research can prove extremely valuable to keeping your service department at full capacity year-round. For instance, the sales-focused 2019 Experian Automotive Quarterly Briefing has data that can be extrapolated for service’s benefit.
Some interesting American stats to consider:
- Light trucks accounted for nearly 56% of vehicles that changed hands in Q1 2019.
- Vehicles in the ‘sweet spot’ – 6 to 12 years old – change hands less frequently.
- More than 48% of NEW vehicle registrations were CUVs and SUVs.
The one thing consistent in these three stats is that they’re all PRIME candidates for your service marketing.
Truck buyers spends more on their vehicles than any other segment. Not only are part and services more expensive compared with a passenger car, but they’re usually due more regularly. Many dealers already know that trucks are a great well to tap for service revenue, but few do it consistently.
If your brand is a major truck seller like Ford, Chevrolet/GMC, Toyota, or Ram Trucks, it would serve you well to make yourself known as a Truck Center. Be the expert in your field locally. When someone needs a truck, truck accessories, or truck repairs, the first thing they think of should be you.
Owners of cars aged 6 to 12 years are often keeping their vehicle going a long as possible. They know the repairs and maintenance will start to add up and will turf their vehicle when it gets to be too much. They’re looking for a shop that isn’t going to nickel and dime them to death yet will be able to keep their car going reliably. I see dollar signs in ‘sweet spot’ cars.
Create regular marketing campaigns for local car owners advertising a no-BS approach to maintenance and repairs. That’s what they want – dealership experience without being oversold or pressured. If you can create that relationship with locals, you’re going to win their ongoing service business and, when the time comes, their new car purchase.
Tap into their pride. These car buyers are notoriously proud of their cars. Given the opportunity, they’re going to finance a few extra dollars per payment to have their vehicle personalized. They need the option to add accessories, organizational items, upgraded wheels, and any other vehicle dress-up at the time of purchase.
Work a sales-service collaboration for accessory packages on new SUVs and CUVs. Customers will love that the accessories can be financed, and they’ll love the customized look even more.
Every week, reports are released for the automotive industry from finance, service, and especially sales. Read them. Think about opportunities. Make your store different than the rest by implementing original ideas. With the plateau and threatening regression on the horizon in sales, your service department is going to be more important than ever.