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Priming the Service ‘Up’ for Upsell Opportunities

June 2012, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by David Linton

Meeting and greeting customers sounds simple enough, but it is one of the most overlooked steps in the service sales process. And it’ll take more than a handshake and a warm smile if the goal is to upsell your customer on additional and necessary service work.

When selling the service “up,” first impressions really do count. The physical environment must present a positive image of the business. That means getting rid of those piles of paper and repair orders and removing those sticky notes from walls and desktops. Remember, 60 percent of communication is expressed nonverbally, and you’d be hard pressed to find that type of clutter inside a big-box retailer. So, take a walk through your service drive and make sure it has the look and feel of a retail operation.

Now, do you have point-of-sale displays that are clean, fresh and inviting? I was on a service drive not too long ago and the parts department had a tire display mounted on the wall. It was a nice display that had tires set up in a good/best/better pricing formation. Problem was, the tires were dusty. From that point on, we had someone from the parts department apply tire dressing on a weekly basis.

Your staff also has to project a positive image. Look for dress and grooming, mannerisms and facial expressions. Does the staff get up and meet the customer or does the customer have to come to them? Now let’s delve into what goes into a well-oiled meet-and-greet process.

Step 1: Identify the Customer’s Needs

Customers will only visit a service department when they need our help. They may be there for routine maintenance or a repair, or maybe they felt something wasn’t working right when they drove into work that morning. Remember, customers don’t like having their lives disrupted, so we must make their visit as easy as possible.

First, we must figure out why the customer’s vehicle is in the service drive. Just remember that they expect personal attention. Let them tell you what their concerns are, and give them your undivided attention. I write that because service advisors have a tendency to multitask when working with customers.

Another “no-no” I often see on the service drive is advisors not making eye contact with a customer because they’re too busy trying to type information into the computer. That’s why I recommend using a clean sheet of paper to jot down notes, as it allows you to engage the customer with nonverbal communication while they’re telling you their story.

Once you get the information down, you can ask a few questions to narrow down the concern. Just make sure you use open-ended questions.

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