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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Get Creative with Lost Soul Marketing

How are you recapturing customers who have not returned to your dealership for service work? Are you communicating with customers who purchased from you but have gone elsewhere to service their vehicle? What type of incentives and messaging are you providing to these segments of customers to entice them to visit your Service Department? If you’re like most dealers, you’re losing customers every day to aftermarket service facilities for a variety of reasons; they think your dealership is more expensive or it takes too long to complete service work. Even with these misconceptions about having service work performed at your dealership, you can reach out and combat these assumptions with creative lost soul marketing.

Offer Competitive Pricing
One of the biggest fallacies about dealerships is that they are more expensive than aftermarket service facilities. To combat this misunderstanding, make sure you research your local aftermarket competitors to ensure your pricing is in line and then tout your competitive pricing, as well as advertise that your factory trained technicians are using certified OEM parts that are made specifically for your customer’s vehicle. Also, show your customers a side-by-side comparison of everyday services so they begin to realize servicing at an aftermarket is not less expensive and often times more costly.

Offer Convenience Options
There are several ways you can demonstrate to customers that servicing at your dealership doesn’t mean it will be a hassle. If you have the ability to do it, offer an express service in 45 minutes; this probably won’t apply to every service you offer but it could work for most minor services. Also, think about offering a free pick up and drop off shuttle for customers. Lastly, you can really step up your competitive advantage and allow customers to stop by without an appointment to have service work performed. These types of processes within the dealership demonstrate to customers that your Service Department is just as easy, if not easier, to work with than an aftermarket service facility.

Some of these ideas won’t work for every dealership but if they are an option for you, try implementing them now or put your own spin on some of these ideas to draw more customers back to your Service Department. Additionally, don’t forget to market these changes to customers so they’re aware and can begin using them.

David Zwick
I agree that "Lost Souls" are a huge opportunity for increased revenue as you had their business at one time. We have found that giving customers the option of not coming into your store, by delivering a loaner and bringing their car in for service is much more effective than discounting. While shuttles back to their home or office are what has worked in the past, giving customers the option of not coming into the store at all is what most customers are looking for. The crazy thing is they generally spend more money and have better CSI when they get what they want.
Kristen Williams
Thanks David for your comments.

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