Tag Archives: Automotive industry

3 Key Components of Outstanding Service Departments

When examining the best service departments across the country, you often find that they all share common best practices that create additional service sales and gross profits for their dealerships.

These best practices combined with daily monitoring, observation and coaching results in professional sales organizations that can sustain a dealer during times of slow sales or downturns in the economy.

One of the most overlooked skill sets in dealers that struggle with decreasing repair order count is service phone sales skills. While you would be hard pressed to find people who do not have the ability to be courteous and project a good image on the phone, it is easy to find personnel who have not been trained to sell service appointments.

One phone survey company* found that service advisors do not offer appointments or attempt to sell an appointment on 57% of the calls they field even though the opportunity sell an appointment presented itself.

If this is happening in your dealership and your service team fields an average of 100 information calls a day, it means there are 57 missed opportunities, every single day. A properly trained Advisor can be expected to convert 30% of those calls (or more) into service appointments.

So the question is, what would your service drive look like with an additional 17 service appointments every day?

Once you’ve trained and coached on phone sales skills you can then begin to train on Advisor communications skills. This is another area that the most successful dealerships continually monitor and coach their employees to near perfection.

Communications skills are not only important to Customer Satisfaction Index scores, they are critical in Customer retention. Advisors that have weak listening skills and a complete lack of follow through on promises, become the source of nearly every Customer complaint registered at your dealership.5waystoincrease

One Advisor will interact with an average of 10-15 Customers per day. Based on that number, one untrained Advisor can impact 44 Customers a month in such a way as they could possibly decide not to come back.

If your store sells 150 cars a month, and your retention is in the mid-range of 40-50%, you can expect a net gain of 31 new car Customers a month from your 150 sales in the front end.

Does it make sense not to train your Advisor in communications skills when so much is dependent on him/her being a professional in every sense of the word? Of course not.

Lastly, those dealers that are doing it right have a complete marketing plan in place. They make a decision to budget funds for service marketing based on repair order count while taking into consideration recalls, campaigns and industry trends.

Recently there has been a flood of recalls that have not left any manufacturer on the sidelines. Many dealerships took advantage of those recalls by highlighting their ability to service their Customers while attracting new business through strategic traditional marketing as well as social marketing.

And they have “hit it out of the park.”

Not only did they service their own Customers, they were able to attract new business with the goal of converting then to regular service Customers. Take an average dealer writing 45 repair orders a day, factor in about a 30% warranty repair order write-up rate, adjust for “just recall” warranty repairs of about 30-40% from that warranty rate, and your team has the chance to make 3 or 4 recall Customers into regular service Customers every day.

So the question is, did you want to allocate funds for marketing, train for opportunities and coach for results…or did you just want to keep doing what you’ve always done and keep getting what you’ve always got?

Make a commitment to your service team and follow through with sales training, communication skills training and a marketing budget in line with your stated Goals and watch your Profits soar!

by Leonard Buchholz


Automotive Dealer Associations Looking for Speakers

If you are an Automotive Dealer Association President or Manager and you need a Speaker at your next Dealer meeting, we need to connect.

Don Reed has been a Top 10 NADA Convention Speaker 4 years running. He just completed a Dealers Association meeting for the Detroit Auto Dealers Association where he received stellar reviews.

21 of the attendees completed an evaluation with 20 of them rating the Workshop Content as “Excellent” the highest rating possible. And 21 out of 21 rated Dons Presentation and Subject Knowledge as “Excellent” as well. 

You can find a lot of speakers who know something about a Dealership.

It is a lot more difficult to find someone who not only knows the Dealership, they  can tell you how to make it Profitable. Consistently.

Send me an email. lbuchholz@dealerprotraining.com or call the home office at 888-553-0100 and let’s get you on the schedule.

Or you can have “something else” at your next Association meeting.

Top Ten Excuses (Or Why We Didn’t Get It Done In 2011)

The Top Ten Excuses and Myths of Dealership Training Programs

Number 10.

“We’ll do it ourselves.” The Truth is very different than the Reality.  Most of the time Managers find it hard to devote 5 minutes to a vendor or the factory Rep let alone the hours of training required to make a change in an Advisors behavior.  

Number 9.

“It’s too expensive.” We have a saying at DealerPro… “Never let money stand in the way of training.” No, Mr. or Ms. Dealer, it’s too expensive to do nothing. Every day you wait, you are losing Gross Profit. Those days of Lost Opportunity add up to months and then years of money flowing out of your Service Department. Let us help you achieve your Goals for 2011.

Number 8.

“It’s not the right time.” When is it ever the right time?  Every day there are new challenges. People quit, the computer system crashes, the parking lot is being repaved…there is no right time. In fact, waiting for the right time is the exact opposite of the right time. It is always the wrong time to wait and it is costing you money Mr. or Ms. Dealer.

Number 7.

“I’m in the middle of hiring new people.” What a perfect time to get them trained properly. What benefit is there to waiting for training? None, there is no benefit. Every successful organization on the planet has a training program for new hires that gets them started on the right foot. You want them to be properly trained and started off on the right foot don’t you?

Number 6.

“We do things differently around here. Your program won’t work.” In the 11 year history of DealerPro that refrain has been heard hundreds if not thousands of times. We have proven that our system does work without regard to location or region. It works because it’s based on people and processes.

Number 5.

“My people won’t like it.” That may be true. If they are underachieving, they won’t like our program or any other program. When you start making changes people who have been comfortable get…uncomfortable. Why? If you want to succeed, you have to do things differently.

And comfortable people just want to stay comfortable, don’t they?

Number 4.

“We are too busy to do training.” Mr. or Ms. Dealer, this is exactly why you need to do training. If your level of “busy” matched your level of profits, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. There are busy Dealerships and then there are Dealerships that appear to be busy. In the latter, we find that there is a lot of wasted opportunity. 

Number 3.

“What if I don’t like the Trainer?” We are a Performance Based company Mr. or Ms. Dealer, and as such, everyone is measured all of the time. If there is a Performance issue, chances are we already know and will be talking with you and your Trainer to identify the problem.  

Number 2.

“I have a friend/consultant/the factory with a similar program and we want to use them.” While we support Training and certainly respect anyone who can provide a program, the differences between DealerPro and the “other guy” is tremendous. Here are a few items to consider.

  1. Will the friend/consultant/the factory return every month for 13 months for 3-5 days of training in the service drive?
  2. Do they have any “skin in the game”? In other words, are they fee based or performance based?
  3. Do they have an Automotive Retail background? Our average Trainer has 20 Years experience as a Service Manager or Service and Parts Director.

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you really need to consider DealerPro as your first choice. 

Number 1.

“I’m not really sure about all of this. Isn’t this what I am paying my Service Manager for?” Mr. or Ms. Dealer, we find that most Service Managers and Service and Parts Directors are good at doing lots of things.

 We are the best at one thing, Training Service Personnel.

And because we are the best our Dealers enjoy an average 35-40% increase in Gross Profit.

Bottom Line, there really is no reason not to start Training.


 Let us help you get the Profits you deserve from your Fixed Operations.

Call us at 888-553-0100 or email us at lbuchholz@dealerprotraining.com to get started making more.