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The Tour That Drives VSC and PPM Sales

The best way to sell a VSC is to create awareness of the need for service and to demonstrate your ability to handle it. F&I trainer explains how a quick tour of your service and parts department can do just that.

July 2011, F&I and Showroom - Feature

by Gerry Gould

Salespeople should lead customers on a guided tour of the service and parts department while the F&I manager prepares their paperwork.
Salespeople should lead customers on a guided tour of the service and parts department while the F&I manager prepares their paperwork.

If you’ve been in the business any amount of time, you’ve already heard a number of tips, tactics and techniques for presenting vehicle service contracts. It’s a popular topic among trainers. But every book, CD, seminar or article like this one tends to point to a specific factor that, when captured, can have a profound effect on your ability to gain a customer’s commitment to purchase a VSC. That factor is consumer awareness.

Simply put, your customer is not going to buy anything until they are aware they need it. There are many ways to articulate that need: There’s the “99.9% perfect” rebuttal, or the “One day in the shop,” or the “Why do you think the manufacturer gave you a 3-year/36,000 warranty?” responses. They’re great word-tracks, but, when it comes to VSCs, the single most effective way to create awareness among your customers is to show them.

There are two opportunities for offering a customer a VSC: at the time of purchase and every time the customer returns to the dealership for service — that is, if they didn’t elect to purchase the VSC in the F&I office.

Creating awareness is critical to gaining a purchase commitment, but it can be difficult to broach the subject. That’s especially true for a new-vehicle purchase. The odds, however, tend to tilt in your favor as the customer gets closer to the end of the factory warranty. So, how do we create better odds in the F&I office at the time of purchase?

To visually create a need for a VSC in the F&I office, you need to send your customer on a service walk-through. Ideally, it should be performed by the sales consultant after the F&I manager is introduced and while he or she is getting the paperwork ready. 

Guided Tour

The service walk can be one of the most influential steps on the road to the sale. Many salespeople don’t like this step, but the reality is a service tour adds value to the sales presentation by providing a few more reasons for doing business with your dealership.

A quick tour of your service and parts department creates awareness in two key ways:

Service: Seeing cars on lifts will remind customers that their own machine may one day break down or need repairs. However, it’s important that your salespeople point out just how much the dealership has invested in diagnostic tools and to train, retrain and certify mechanics. It’s also important for the sales consultant to point out that the store’s mechanics have invested upwards of $15,000 in specialty tools to service vehicles.

Parts: Taking the customer on a tour of the parts department — where the dealership stocks more than $250,000 in parts and supplies each month — also lets the customer know that your dealership is armed for more than just oil changes and tire rotations.

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