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Five Ways to be a Great 'Service Sales Manager'

Okay, I will say it and make some of you mad, but that never stopped me before. If you want to grow your business, increase customer retention and make more money, you need to get out of your office and onto the service drive - that’s where everything happens and all of the money is made. You have to be a 'Service Sales Manager', not just a Service Manager. Service Managers sit in their office. Service Sales Managers are out there with their team, where they can teach, motivate, coach and push advisors and techs to the next level. Here is a fact – you can’t do that sitting in your office, you just can’t.

Watch any sports team play and you will find the coach right there on the sidelines with the team, he isn’t hiding out in an office somewhere – he is a part of the team on the field. I’ve often said this, “Nothing good ever happens in your office – only employees wanting a raise or a customer complaining – and neither one is good”. So lock your door and throw away the key – the only way you will ever grow your store is to get out there and pay attention to what is really going on. You can learn more about your business in 2 hours on the drive, than you will in 2 years in your office, so Step 1 is: Get out of Your Office.

Step 2 is something you need to do while you are out on the drive or in the shop and I call it 'Rallying Your Troops'. Pump them up, keep them motivated and driven. Let them know what your plans are to grow the store. Let them know that you are going to have a “Just Bring it In” attitude for all customer pay work – and that they can book appointments for recalls and warranty work – but customer pay has to be treated differently. Make sure they know that you are going to start running your store like a sales department – being more aggressive, working and closing deals – pushing the business just like a vehicle sales manager. They need to know that the new motto is: "Nobody Walks". Ensure that they understand that every deal needs to get done and sometimes you may take a skinny deal – but the result is still keeping a customer in your store – and that is more important than short term profit. Have them answer this question: How much do you make when they go someplace else?

As you become more involved with your team on the drive, make sure they know that the times have changed - that what got them where they are, just won't get the job done anymore and it certainly won't get you where you need to be. Talk about how the business has changed, how important every single customer and every single opportunity is today. Talk about how cars are built better and need serviced less often – and talk about how we have to maximize every opportunity without over-selling. So, step 3 is to constantly talk about the 'customer experience'. Talk about how important it is to make sure customers feel good when they leave – and that if all they ever get is a big repair bill, they will not come back. You have to give customers some good news when they visit to make them feel more comfortable and more trusting when the bigger bills hit. Make sure customers know that maintenance will save them money in the future and that you are the right place to go.

Remember, you are the coach. Your team has to know exactly what you expect, they have to know how well they are doing and they have to know what happens if they don't reach their goals. So, step 4 is you need to track everything and show them consistently how they are doing. Show them the missed opportunities when they see how many CP RO's they wrote that had over 50K miles. Show them the missed opportunities to upgrade customers from standard oil changes to synthetic - and point out how many cars got a tire rotation, but didn't get a balance or an alignment. As the new coach and service sales manager, you need to remind them, push them and hold them accountable.

I think it is just as important to make sure your team has all of the tools they need to be successful, so step 5 is to make sure you have the tools in place to make it easier for them to sell.  A great tool that a lot of dealers have gotten away from, and I think needs to come back, is an easy to read service menu that shows exactly what customers should have done at certain mileage intervals. It needs to clearly show the value and the savings for buying the service packages. Menus may sound old fashioned, but they still work. They make it easier to explain and customers tend to believe what is in print more than just what is said to them. So, get out there, motivate your team, hold them accountable and give them the tools they need – and let them know that you know what is going on. Most of the time, just letting them know that you know, will fix 90% of your problems. There you go, 5 Ways to be a Great 'Service Sales Manager' – the question is what will you do with this information?

This isn’t rocket science. Get your lost customers to return, bring new customers in, be nice, fix the car right the first time and give them a reason to come back! We have several programs that can help you boost service traffic and improve customer retention...if you want to know more contact us today for a 15-minute demo online, on the phone or in person – CarPeopleMarketing.com – 866.227.7337


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