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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jim Bell

Jim Bell National Sales Executive

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Let's Accessorize!

I am hearing across the industry from people all over the country that February was an incredible month. We are no different. Not only did we have a great month, the Parts Department had a record month as well. Living in the snow belt, we would expect that to be with a successful Body Shop. This year has been different though since we have had a mild winter. We have only moved cars 2 or 3 times to plow. Body Shop is holding its own, but has a little less business since mother nature decided to get with the global warming this year.

So how did the Parts Department have a great month with wholesale to the Body Shop down? Two words...Accessory Sales. When a customer decides on their new or certified vehicle of choice, the salesperson will get all of the paperwork together for the Business Department and then while waiting, ask the customer how they would like to "personalize their new________." I have no idea what the percentage of customers that decided to purchase accessories, but for the parts department to have a record month while wholesale was down a little, that has something to do with what the sales department contributed.

So what are you doing with your accessory sales?  This will help the dealership in two ways. One, it will increase profit in the parts department. Yes, it is a wholesale to the sales department, but profit is profit. Then the sales department will have additional profit in the accessory sales.

With consumers keeping their vehicles longer (average age of vehicle on the road 11 years), we as salespeople have to take advantage of every profit center possible. So how can you make it successful?

  1. Pay the sales team differently. Don't make the accessory sale as a part of the commissionable gross. Pay them the percentage of accessory gross separate from the deal and don't pack the commission.  It goes back to the WIIFM?
  2. Have an accessory sale sheet and or accessory catalog for the vehicles to be presented at the time of the sale.  Ask the customer how "would like to personalize your new vehicle" and not "would you like to buy some accessories for your new car?"
  3. Be consistent. Offer it on 100% of your customers. Even the ones that beat you down and down, chances are, they are ones to take care of their vehicles and will probably at least buy all weather mats.

Hopefully you will be able to at least add a $100-$200 or more to your per vehicle average, but every little bit helps, right?  How are you presenting accessories if at all?

Lindsey Auguste
Good points, Jim. The Accessories Departments can often be untapped gold mines if you work it right. As Dennis Galbraith says, "Work the front end for show, work the back end for dough!"
Chris Costner
Great post Jim. The money is just sitting there for the taking. We just have to have a process in place and ask for it. Puzzles me why outside companies can make it a billion dollar industry yet most dealerships barely get it off the ground. I have heard a few say it is because of price but I don't believe it as most of the products can be residualized if need be to make it all fit. I like your approach and it certainly shows why you and your team are firing on all cylinders. Great work and thanks for sharing.

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