By Luciano RosDirector, Dealer Relations,automotiveMastermind
With the increasingly competitive automotive retail industry, dealership leaders seek innovative ways to increase sales and reach new buyers. While traditional methods like showroom displays and digital advertising remain essential to dealership success, there is an often-overlooked goldmine- right under their noses: the service drive.
Working the service drive efficiently and effectively has proven to be a game-changer for dealerships looking to reignite sales and solidify their success, especially for proactive dealers who take a data-driven approach to engaging their best service-to-sales opportunities.
Mining your dealership service appointments for potential revenue opportunities and investing in the right tools, technology, and team to support a targeted approach can transform your service drive into a powerful sales engine.
Building an Effective and Efficient Service-to-Sales Funnel
The dealership service drive not only offers the opportunity to convert customers and nurture future buyers, but it’s also critical to building customer loyalty.
By actively investing in customer retention and loyalty efforts through the service drive, dealerships of every size can:
Proactivity and personalization are key to engaging loyal customers and qualified service-not-sold prospects. Don’t just look at every upcoming service appointment in your dealership management software as a pending sales opportunity. Not every customer is a candidate. An every-customer-is-a-candidate approach can seriously affect your CSI.
Task your team to review service appointments ahead of time to identify and pre-qualify sales prospects such as those who are:
To gauge customer interest before their appointment, engage customers before they’re at the dealership with introductory messaging, such as offering a complimentary appraisal. Finally, don’t forget the follow-up, especially for those customers interested in the appraisal but who don’t convert right away.
Four Considerations for Your Dealership’s Unique Service-to-Sales Process
The service drive presents a unique opportunity for dealers to support their loyalty and conquest efforts. It enables dealers to stay in consistent contact with buyers between purchases.
But to bring more traffic to the dealership service drive, dealers need to adopt data-driven dealership marketing support.
1. Craft a plan to fit your dealership.
Every dealership of every size and location will work differently, no matter how much overlap there may be among the competition. While the plan will differ from dealership to dealership, success in the service drive will almost always come down to a few factors:
2. Leverage predictive marketing for service success.
With so much data available at our fingertips, it’s well beyond the ability of any human alone to absorb, digest, and make informed decisions. That’s where analysis-based marketing comes into play, powered by AI-based analytics tools that can digest massive amounts of data.
These tools identify patterns and traits that would be indistinguishable by humans and ultimately deliver actionable projections and suggestions. When leveraged by a member of your BDC or dedicated service-to-sales team, these tools allow dealerships to automatically identify owners who fit into any number of categories. These prospects will be primed for engagement, from customers approaching major service milestones to those driving well-cared-for, in-demand pre-owned models.
3. Focus on customer experience in the service drive.
Aside from ensuring your team is doing service walks and introducing service writers to potential buyers, the best way to fuel your service-to-sales marketing is to sell the meaning of service. Focus on keeping it simple and leaning into “Features-Benefits-Value” marketing.
Consider how much more powerful a mailer or email would be with personalized messaging to connect with a headline. For example, “FREE: Peace of mind to keep your 2018 Ford Explorer on the road for years to come.”
4. Continuously monitor your marketing efforts.
Every successful process you implement needs to be measured against expectations. Of course, no two dealerships are the same, and the goals of some dealerships may differ from others. From the beginning, set SMART goals for your service department marketing efforts, which are:
To determine the goals for your team, you must assess your current process in every way possible.
As dealers face new and evolving challenges, no dealer should leave their sales and marketing efforts up to chance. By creating a data-driven service-to-sales process fueled by targeted predictive marketing and supported by a well-equipped dealership team, dealers are empowered to generate sustainable success, regardless of what lies ahead.
Luciano Ros is Director, Dealer Relations at automotiveMastermind. With 20 years of experience in the automotive retail industry, Luciano has served in various dealership roles specializing in luxury sales and client relations. At automotiveMastermind, he applies this knowledge to support results-driven performance for dealers.