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Success Story: Selling Out of the Service Drive

Comprised of five stores across the United States, the Jay Wolfe brand has been a household name for many years. Together, this dealership group has achieved a stellar reputation by catering to the customer, training their team and working as one unit for the good of the group. Click cover to read from our digital magazine. Lee Hubbard started his career in the automotive industry in 1977 as a porter in a s […]

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Auto dealer, auto dealership, car service department, dealer service department, auto success, auto magazine, lee hubbard, jay wolfe acuraComprised of five stores across the United States, the Jay Wolfe brand has been a household name for many years. Together, this dealership group has achieved a stellar reputation by catering to the customer, training their team and working as one unit for the good of the group.

Lee Hubbard started his career in the automotive industry in 1977 as a porter in a service department and has worked his way up to become the dealer manager of Jay Wolfe Acura, located in Kansas City, Missouri. He received a valuable bit of sound advice from his first boss, Larry Van Tuyl, CEO of the Van Tuyl Group. He advised Lee to start working from the back end until he got to the front end. Lee did just that, learning along every step of the way, and never looked back.

Lee always knew that the service department was a hidden gem within a dealership — one that could far exceed any other department if given the right opportunities and environment. Over the years, he examined and experimented with many ways to get the sales department to work within the service drive. He would create programs that, in the short-term, would attract 20 extra sales in a month from service. For one reason or another, though, the programs always seemed to quickly fall apart. One of the biggest reasons none of these programs seemed to take root was the inevitable resistance and blowback from the sales department not wanting to stretch out of its comfort zone and explore service drive opportunities; often, it was more work to get everyone to be on board than it was worth putting together the campaign. Lee knew, however, that this reluctance was unacceptable. Something needed to change.

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Lee reached out to Team Velocity for help in building a program that would increase the dealership’s bottom line and be workable in the long term. In October 2015, Team Velocity introduced the Upgrade Program, a platform where the customer is able to easily move to a new car with the same or similar payments as they have with their existing car. This platform seemed to be the missing piece of the puzzle and really showed what the service department could do.

Here’s how they did it… UPGRADE
​An Upgrade Team was developed and trained to help customers coming in for an RO learn of opportunities available to them for an upgrade. This approach had to be handled very delicately, though. While the program is extremely rich in what it brings, it has to be worked differently than how negotiations are worked on the sales floor. Lee Hubbard did not want his loyal customers thinking that they would be “sold to” — or worse, harassed — each and every time they came in to get service done on their vehicle. It had to be a soft approach, which meant that the right team had to be in place, and they had to have the proper training.

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TRAINING
Lee first approached his existing sales team. He asked them why they should be chosen to be included in the Upgrade Program sales approach. Each team member had to have an open attitude for training from Team Velocity, and to use the soft approach to sales taught for this unique program. Lee is also very involved in the Upgrade Program’s numbers and proposals. He worked every deal because he knew this would work. With the right team in place, right out of the gate, they produced 30 extra sales in the first month and, in every month since October 2015, they have produced between 36 and 41 extra sales from the service Upgrade Program. And, not only have the new car sales increased, but repair orders have been off the charts.

MARKETING SERVICE
Since its success, the emphasis on new sales marketing has fallen as the dealership started focusing mostly on their service department. Direct mail, emails, traditional marketing and other media efforts are pushing customers to the service department. This not only brings people to the dealership for service, but they are also introduced to the upgrade program during that time. Jay Wolfe Acura offers reimbursement on ROs done in the previous two months if a customer upgrades to a new vehicle. “Customers are walking in with the direct mail piece asking to upgrade to a new vehicle because of the service reimbursement program.” Lee said. And, while the dealership is selling more cars in the short term, the long-term indicators are also encouraging; the loyal customers are multiplying by focusing on this part of the dealership.

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PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
Jay Wolfe Acura led the way by focusing on marketing the service department and incorporating the upgrade program. They were so successful that the other dealerships in their dealer group have followed suit by applying the same procedures in their stores. The key to running a successful service department? Making it work internally between the departments in the dealership. This is achieved by finding the right team, providing the proper training, making sure the team has the support of management and exploring strategic vendor partnerships to find the right process for your store.

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IN A NUTSHELL
Jay Wolfe found a hidden gem in their service department and since October 2015 they have been averaging close to 40 sales per month from their service drive.

  • RESEARCH – Studied the best practices of the dealership and uncovered the service department as a hidden gem that could far exceed any other department if given the right opportunities and environment.
  • INTEGRATED STRATEGY – Delivered consistent branding and offers across all targeted media channels – direct mail, emails, traditional marketing and other media efforts to push customers to the service drive.
  • TRAINING – With the right team in place and proper in-store training, right out of the gate, Jay Wolfe Acura produced 30 extra sales in the first month and, in every month since October 2015, they have produced between 36 and 41 extra sales from the service Upgrade Program.
  • UNDENIABLE RESULTS – As a result of Hubbard’s strategy and dedication, Jay Wolfe Acura can attribute 44.4% of sales to the upgrade program and 71.6% of service RO’s can be attributed to the program.

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