Position your dealership to be “first” and grab more parts and service sales dollars!

In the quest to generate more customer pay parts and service dollars, it pays big to position yourself to be “first”—- first to recommend needed vehicle maintenance and safety items to your customers.  If you don’t get aggressive about service retention, be sure a competitor will. Whether it be a competing dealer or the aftermarket shop on the corner. If you are not giving your customer a reason and benefit to use your service drive, they will likely use someone else’s.

The reality is that people are getting their vehicles serviced somewhere, and unfortunately, it is typically not at the franchised dealer where they purchased the car.  This means that some other shop gets to be “first” – first to point out those needed maintenance or repairs. When they are presented, the response from the customer is usually along the lines of: “OK, I’m already here, go ahead and do it”.  Game over.  The other shop wins, you lose.  Parts and service dollars spent that you did not capture because the customer visited someone else’s service drive. Hard to sell service to someone when they don’t bring their cars back to your dealership.

I’ve been passionate about the importance of selling service to the people we sell cars to for some time now.  I was taught early on that the service department is not the “back” of the business but rather the “backbone of the business”.  This has not changed from my early days in the car business –  its’ just gotten more important each year as the number of aftermarket shop locations increase and the amount of factory warranty work continues to dwindle down.  Recapturing a significant portion of this service business that we have let slip away over the last 20 years, I believe,  is key to our long term success going forward as a franchised dealer.

Ken Shreve is a corporate officer and senior operations manager of Hamilton Hyundai in Chambersburg, PA.  Reach him at kens@hamiltonhyundai.com

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