Everyone has opportunities in the service drive for capturing additional sales and, often times, the focus is on the service advisor role and what they are (or are not) doing to improve performance in this area. But I want to help you breakthrough to your advisor team, in helping them sell more, without harping on the usual need for better walk arounds, more consistent menu presentations and professional selling skills. No doubt, these are critically important, but the root of the problem goes deeper than that.
Walk through a typical scenario with me first, then I’ll give you an approach to use with your advisors that will increase their sales and give them the confidence they need to sell day in and day out.
The number one call I get when dealers or general managers are looking for help in their service department is with regard to advisor selling skills, such as getting them to “upsell” or to show a menu to a customer.
“My new advisors do a poor job of selling …”
“My veteran advisors do a poor job of selling …”
“My express advisors do a poor job of selling …”
You get the picture. No matter the age, the experience, the market or the franchise, advisor selling skills is a universal pain point when it comes to dealers, general managers and service managers.
It could be any number of reasons they’re not doing a better job on hours and dollars per RO: Are they too busy? Is the shop so booked (short on technicians) they can’t handle work for a week or two? Do they lack training on how to sell to customers? Fear of the customer saying “no”?
But my guess is that you’ve missed the “elephant in the room”:
Many of your advisors don’t like the idea of being a “salesperson” and, in fact, have a negative view of salespeople that drives their behavior in the service lane.
How do I know? I ask advisors all the time and they tell me they don’t like salespeople, don’t trust them and don’t like the word “sales,” but they know it’s part of their job.
So, what do they do? They go out of their way to be overly casual and comfortable with your customers, avoiding anything they perceive (key word!) as being too “sales-y” or pushy, to the point that they may even talk them out of getting services completed!
Now, what can YOU do? Take a new approach with your advisors. Schedule a brief team meeting and walk them through five important questions/answers:
1. “What is your primary mission as a service advisor?” Write down their answers … should be interesting. Then reveal to them that their primary mission is to “advise your customers on the safety and reliability of their vehicle, every day, no exceptions.”
2. Now ask them, “Do you consider yourselves to be salespeople?” Again, write down their answers and compare them to the correct answer, which is: YES! Every one of your advisors is a salesperson.
3. Who are some of the salespeople you encounter every day?
• Ex: the cashier at the grocery who asks if you want to “round up” for the local shelter
• Ex: the waitress who offers you dessert after dinner
• Ex: the kids on the street corner selling Girl Scout cookies!
4. Name a time when you bought something from a salesperson … what did you like about them? (“they were helpful, not pushy, but knew their product/service, gave me choices”).
5. What are some of the best qualities of great salespeople? Have them write their answers down. Now share with them that great salespeople use words and techniques that make them great advisors!
a. They recommend services or products based upon the customer’s needs.
b. They give the customer good information to make an informed decision.
c. They’re enthusiastic about helping the customer get something they want or need.
There’s plenty more you can add to this list! To end your meeting, give your advisors your commitment, as their manager, that the primary mission of your service department is to advise each and every customer of the safety and reliability of their vehicle. Put it in writing, paint it on the wall if you want! (We know a dealer in Kansas that did that very thing…not only to remind their advisors every day, but also for their customers to see!) When you advise on safety and reliability, customer satisfaction goes up — and so do sales and gross profits!