Boost Sales Operations from the Service Lift

October 27, 2019 in Improving Operations

Following are several vehicle value tips to help you improve the car valuation process, drive business, and provide an unparalleled customer experience. All of these tactics revolve around generating sales leads from your service department. 

Consider the following scenario:

It’s Sunday. You walk into your local warehouse store for two things - paper towels and bottled water - and an hour later, you’re loading up your car with 30+ items. Why? 

Well, you walked past the free sample lady and grabbed a bite, which prompted you to buy the entire meal for dinner. Then you noticed those colorful beach towels and had to buy one for each of your kids. But wait, that cooler you’ve been eyeing for months is suddenly on sale, so... (You get the picture). 

Are you mad at yourself?  No, because you got a deal and getting a deal feels good. 

What does this have to do with service drive appraisals? Everything! 

A service customer is the most inexpensive up in your dealership, and if you provide a strong vehicle value for their trade (much like a free sample), you can send your customer home with more than he came for - in this case, a new vehicle. 

The key to making this an effective and efficient strategy for your dealership is to set up a process that you live and die by. This process should include the following: 

  1. Get buy-in from your staff to implement a live or die process.
  2. Be discriminate in your car valuation approach by appraising the right cars.
  3. Engage with your customers during the vehicle valuation process - sales interaction is key.

Here is more detailed information to make service drive appraisals a successful lead generator and improve operations throughout your dealership. 

Get Buy-In from Your Staff for a Live or Die Process

You’re trying to sell a vehicle to a customer who really wasn’t in the market for one when they arrived at your dealership. Team buy-in across all departments is critical. This starts by establishing clear guidelines so that sales and service can work in harmony.

Who conducts the appraisal - the service writer or someone from your sales team? Each dealership is different, with different car valuation methodologies, but we’ve learned it’s important to put people in roles at which they excel. 

Let the service writer focus on service and let your sales team sell. But don’t forget to incentivize your service writer as compensation for driving business to the sales team. 

Your used car department may be the best team to handle the actual appraisal process. 

Be Discriminate in Your Vehicle Valuation Approach

It’s critically important to read your customers and appraise the right cars, not every single unit that rolls into your service drive.

Do your homework to get the back story. Did the customer buy her vehicle from your store just weeks ago? If so, why does their vehicle need service so soon?  

Did the customer lease his vehicle seven months ago? If so, he’ll have a tough time getting out of his lease right now. 

Is the customer in your CRM, with multiple visits to your dealership yet no purchase? Find out why they didn’t buy. 

When you scan the VIN of the service drive unit, determine whether or not it has been appraised at your dealership on a prior visit. If so, when? And how much was the vehicle value? Did the car need work at that time and now it needs work again? 

Pick the right audience and appraise the right cars so you don’t dig yourself into a customer service hole. 

Engage with Your Customers During the Vehicle Valuation Process

Train your sales team to act as consultants to create the best experience possible. Be sure the sales personnel you select to work the service drive are well-versed and comfortable in these three areas:

1) Appraisals

Your designated sales staff should be able to spot damage, prior repair work, prior paint work and other factors that impact car valuation. 

2) Offers

Be sure to research what the customer’s service bill is, or will ultimately be. Use this information to structure the deal on a replacement vehicle that best meets their wants and needs. 

3) Follow Up

If you didn’t close the sale, don’t worry. The customer never intended to buy a car in the first place. Now is the time to focus on follow up. 

Ask them whether or not they were happy with the car valuation you provided. Did they see anything else on your lot that interested them? Be on the lookout for fresh trades or other service drive units that match their wish list. 

These simple steps can turn your service drive into a sales lead generator for your dealership. 

The Appraisal Lane can help you drive leads from the lift. Get in touch today to learn more.