What’s Your Plan for Increasing Sales in Fixed Operations?

“Your plan for achieving 100% Service Absorption should focus on what you are going to do differently to increase sales and gross profits. It’s not just about advertising and marketing, it’s about processes” says Don Reed, CEO of DealerPro Training Solutions.  
Increasing Sales is the one of the core functions of the Management Team. (Read Service Manager) And quite frankly, is one area that most Service Managers have difficulty doing.  
It’s not that they are not competent or capable, it’s that they have so many other duties piled on to them, that the time they allocate to increasing Sales is never enough or is sandwiched between everything else that happens in a Dealership every day. From light bulbs out in the showroom to sprinklers not working to counseling the Service Advisor who has “personal issues”, there never seems to be time to do it properly. 


If that describes you, you need a plan. And all plans are built on measurements.        
In Real Estate it is all about 3 words to Sales Success. Location, Location, Location.


In Service Management the word is Measure, Measure, Measure. 




As the Service Manager you will need to Measure how well your Advisors are performing. What do we measure? Every Service Manager looks at different things because that’s how they learned. You might be that  SM that focuses more on Profit Margins and your buddy down the street might look at HPRO. (Hours per Repair Order)  


However, if you are looking to increase Sales, your view must be very narrow and specific. The focus needs to be on how many ROs did the Advisor write and how many hours did the Advisor produce on those ROs. In other words, how EFFECTIVE is the Advisor in making Sales with the ROs that he/she wrote?   


If your Advisor wrote 11 ROs and sold 9 hours on those ROs, that would be something that would get your attention as a Service Manager. And vice versa.

If that same Advisor then writes  11 ROs and sells 35 hours, you might want to spend a little extra time with them and ask some very specific questions like “I noticed you had a great day today and I wanted to ask you what you felt was the key to your Sales Success?”

And, yes, there are ALWAYS extenuating circumstances when the Advisor is not selling…. “This Customer never buys anything” or “All I had today was LOFs” or “I don’t know what happened. I just had on off day.”  

If you are the SM, you “gotta dig,dig,dig” into what is going on with your Advisor (and ignore the excuses) because if you don’t know WHY they are not Selling you sure as heck won’t be able to Coach them to Sell more.

That’s why it is so important to measure, and when trying to diagnose why Sales are not happening, to measure the Advisors effectiveness by comparing Hours sold per RO vs how many ROs did the Advisor write. 

Now that you have dug into the numbers, you can see what Processes are not being followed.

Finding out what is wrong is only half the battle. Installing a Process that the Advisor can follow and will follow (even when the SM is not there) is the other half. 

 Here are 5 Common Reasons Advisors have difficulty Selling and the Processes they ignore. 

  1. The Advisor does not do a pre-write history check and is unaware of previous recommendations.
  2. The Advisor does not conduct a walk-a-round of the vehicle during the writeup.
  3. The Advisor does not present a menu to the Customer offering maintenance and services.
  4. The Advisor does not make recommendations to the Customer based on observations, the Customers description of concerns or from the vehicles prior history.
  5. The Advisor is uncomfortable (in some cases incapable) of making a Sales presentation to the Customer.

These 5 are responsible for more Lost Sales than any other reason in most Dealerships.   

So, now that you know WHY they are not selling, you can make a plan to address those areas of concern.

There is just one more question that you must answer first.    

How effective is the Service Manager in teaching the Advisor to Sell? 

If the SM cannot teach or coach the Advisor to Sell, then part of the Action Plan will be to bring in someone who can Train and Coach the Advisor to the next level. There is no shame in admitting this if you are the SM. There is shame in allowing poor performance and low Sales through not admitting that you need to have some help in that area. 

Not every SM has the ability to Coach or Teach someone to Sell and yet they may have expertise and ability in a completely different area that makes them a strong Manager. 

For example, you might be a Manager that is exceptionally good with the ‘Things” that go into the business, like, developing comprehensive menus or managing shop flow and capacity.

Or you might be more of a “People” manager that can’t spell “Dynamic Shop Capacity Integration” but when a Customer comes in for a LOF you can turn that into a 60K with an alignment every time. Different strengths for different people.

Here is a little tip. The mere fact that you have the title Service Manager, Service Director or General Manager does not make you an effective Trainer either.

 In fact, most times there is not enough time in a day to keep up with everything else that goes on much less carve out a 4 hour block of time for Training.    

Ok. You figured out what is wrong and now you have to start effecting a change. What do you need?  A plan.

Look through what you have measured and decide on 3 items you need to Train and Coach on.

Why 3?

If you try to do more than that, you and the Advisor will get frustrated and you will stop. You can start with the easiest or the hardest to change first, with preference to the easiest to start building confidence. It’s up to you. 

Once you have a plan, you need to set aside a specific amount of time everyday for Training and Followup.

What do you Train on? Processes, Processes and more Processes.

Success comes from Consistency.  

Do you see the difference between a Process and a “have to think about it?”

If they have to think about it, it will not get done. And when asking the Advisor why certain Processes are ignored, there will be more excuses than an oil executive testifying in front of Congress.  

If they automatically do the Process, with no questions, no “This Customers does not need a walk-a-round ’cause they were in last week”, no do it differently this time from last time…then you will have an increase in Sales. 


As Don Reed likes to say “Processes lead to Consistency. Consistency leads to Results.” 

Looking to become more Consistent in your Fixed Operations? Looking for more Results? Send an email to lbuchholz@dealerprotraining.com or call 888-553-0100. Get a Profit Potential Analysis on your Dealership. Find out how you can increase Service Sales.



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