Tag Archives: Customer

The Right Way and The Wrong Way

During the analysis and evaluation we conduct prior to starting a training program the question of ethics and standard business practices we train on usually requires some explanation. In other words, Dealer Principals and General Managers want to hear from us that we conduct our training programs ethically and professionally.

If I were to stand in a room full of Dealer Principals and ask “Who in here believes that the best way to take care of a customer is to sell extra or un-needed services?” I would venture to say that not one hand would be raised.

This misconception is a holdover from an original misrepresentation/misconception of our industry from the early beginnings. It is far past the time that we begin the process of changing the perception that people who work in the car business are only interested in taking as much money as they can using unethical business practices that prey on the public at large.

In 99% of the situations I have personally investigated where something went awry and the customer felt that they were “wronged”, I have found that almost every one of these situations was an error (and not a conscious decision) and 100% of the time it was resolved in the customers favor with little cost to the dealership.

In every dealership and within our industry we have a small percentage of people that just don’t get it, no matter what the culture, training and daily business practices that you reinforce at your dealership and it is those people we must remove permanently from our industry.

Customers are nothing more than the person standing in the mirror every morning, they are you. From Dr.Tony Alessandra “Treat other people as they want to be treated.”

All this means is dig into what the customer wants, separate those wants into needs and then identify the must haves from the needs. Communicate those must haves to the customer in a way they can understand you and do that ethically and with passion.

By Leonard Buchholz

businessethics

 

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Uh Oh…Another Employee Quits

Resignation Letter

To: Dealer Principal

From: Fixed Operations Net Profit

Reference: Fixed Operations Gross Profit Resignation Letter

Dear Dealer Principal,

It has come to my attention that Fixed Ops Gross Profit has resigned effective immediately. Without the continued support of Gross Profit I cannot continue to be effective in the performance of my duties while adding funds to your Profitability. (not to mention your bank account)

I too have found other employment at a dealership that understands me and appreciates me for who I am. As you know, I am extremely sensitive to sudden changes in revenue stream, expenses and …ahem…”discretionary purchases” (if you know what I mean)

In the recent past there have been direct actions taken against me by personnel who do not have my best interests at heart. For example, the Service Department has stopped making appointments with adequate time between customers resulting in an instant revenue reduction in my department. In fact, last time I checked, they didn’t have a service drive process at all!

And because we don’t really have any processes in place (including how to answer the phone) there has been a decrease in customer pay RO count. Just last week I heard one advisor tell a customer they could not get in this week for service! And we have techs standing around at 3:30 most days!

I don’t know if you know this or not (and I am not trying to be a “disgruntled ex-employee”), but I heard that the parts obsolescence was at nearly 27% of current inventory! It has become very difficult to get any customers car in and out of the shop in one day due to a lack of parts availability. Just yesterday we did not have brake pads in stock for one vehicle and on another we didn’t have wiper blades.

In one case, the parts manager had to make an emergency purchase and then the advisor gave the customer a discount on parts and labor to make up for the extended wait time they endured while we were chasing down the parts!

Boss, there is not a Net Profit on earth that can work under these circumstances.

I have talked with Margins, HPRO and Effective Labor Rate and they are undecided on whether or not they will stay. Of the 3 (if I had to guess which one), I believe Margins have just about had it as well and will be leaving soon.

I never say never Boss, and if things change around here, I would be interested in getting a call from you.

With Sincere Regret,

Fixed Operations Net Profit

Would you like a 30% increase in Service Sales?

Lost Sales and Declined Services Customers are in many Dealerships, the largest untapped source of additional revenue. And in most cases, the Sale has been lost because of a few words and not a few dollars.

Trained Advisors Make More Sales!

Advisors who have been trained and coached are the best people to contact those customers, Advisors who are trained, coached and who care are better.

Take John Q. here. He is an excellent example. He has been working at ABC Motors for 7 years. He has an average close ratio at 28%. So, 3 times out of ten, he is able to make the sale on additional recommendations from the Technicians. 7 of his customers have decided to “wait” or “I’ll get it next time” or “I have to talk to my ______” or another of the many excuses we hear every day.

John Q. sometimes calls them back in a day or two or sometimes sends them an email. Most of the time he relies on the CDR/CDM and the DMS system to follow-up with the customer and send them a reminder card or offer them a discount to come back in.

John Q. has been doing this for 7 years. That is around 5000 or so Lost Sales.

What if John was able to convert just 2 more customers per day from a Lost Sale into a RO? His sales would increase nearly 30%. Every Service Manager on the planet would like a 30% increase in sales.

John needs a couple of things. He needs a script to learn and follow until he gets good at following up with the customer and making a case for why his dealership would be a great place for Mr./Ms. Customer to have the repair work completed.

He needs a process whereby he identifies and tracks all of his Lost Sales and CDR/CDM recommendations. He needs Training and Coaching on his results.

And he needs to be monitored. Daily!

Now take the above example and add in the newest software/CRM system that facilitates John’s communications with the customer while explaining the reason they should have that work completed and “BOOM!” goes the Service Sales Increase!

By Leonard Buchholz

Looking for the building blocks of Service Sales so you ca build your Service Business? Go to www.dealerprotraining.com and see how you can start the construction process!

Techno me, Train me or Tank me…which is it?

It is an age old diametrically opposed argument. On one side, we have technology. On the other side, we have personnel.

I can’t sell anything without a great Multipoint Inspection.
I can’t sell anything without a professional Sales Process.
I must have both in order to be effective.

In recent years there has been a migration to technology because we have come to expect that our Dealerships will be modern, fully equipped Service Centers that have the best tools and equipment because that’s the image that has been built through extended advertising.

It’s also why people have come to believe that going to the Dealer is always more expensive.

What has happened (IMHO) is that technology has become a crutch to be used instead of a professional Sales process and effective person to person communication skills. And becomes the scapegoat when the technology does not produce the Sale.

If I had to choose between the two, I’ll choose the professional Sales Process and Communication Skills because our business is still a person to person elbow rubbing “Hey, how are you doing?” smile on your face take care of the Customer business.

If you have a Service Department that is staffed with people and not extraterrestrial aliens or vampires, then they can be trained to present Multipoint Inspections using a Sales Process that produces consistent results.

In fact, over the past 11 years, we have been dong this very same thing in Service Departments all across the country and have helped them produce dramatic and spectacular results…using the same technology (Electronic MPI, Electronic Menus, Electronic write up, On line Appointment Scheduling, CRM Software, you name it…)  that was already in place and did not generate the expected results because they are simply tools when it comes right down to it.

The perfect example of the difference between training and technology exists in our own collective history. Remember OBDII? What happened when “Software Download” and “Electronic Diagnostics” took over our industry? In the beginning, there was a period of time when the plug in connector was viewed as a precursor to volcanoes and the return of the dinosaurs. The end of the world!

We had to train all of our Technicians to use the new technology. When we completed that re-training, our success in diagnosing the vehicle and repairing it the first time increased dramatically. (Which coincidentally has lead to a considerable decrease in warranty repair work.)

But there was still the Customer.

Why didn’t all of this new technology which made concerns easier to diagnose, lead to a decrease in defects per sold unit and increase the reliability (to name a few of the benefits), lead to an automatic increase in CSI, increased retention and more maintenance visits at the Dealership?

Because you can’t train a computer to smile, ask how you are doing, make a friend, build a relationship, remember their preferences, make recommendations based on priorities, remember that they are always your Customer and not a problem to be dealt with and lastly, you can’t teach a computer or build a software application that has Pride and Professionalism.

That is why you still need a smiling, professional Service Advisor.

Hey, you can keep paying those monthly fees for “stuff that don’t work” or give us a call. It’s up to you.

3 Common Mistakes Salespeople Make

The 3 Most Common Mistakes Salespeople Make That Cost The Dealership Money!

The good news: They are all Preventable! Read below for the latest in how you can prevent Lost Sales!

#1-NO INTERVIEW!

An interview is the most important part of any sales process. There are several objectives for the interview. 

    • build a relationship with your customer
    • establish some common ground
    • build rapport
    • find out their needs and wants.

The interview must be conducted in a controlled area such as the sales office. Too often the salesperson will simply escort the customer to the inventory and start their sales process (if they have one).

When this occurs, the sales person has NO idea of what the customer’s needs might be, budget, credit worthiness, who is the buyer, who is the decision maker, who will make the payments, how many seat belts will they need and a variety of other information.

Additionally, many customers will gravitate towards units that DO NOT fit their needs, budget or other factors. Usually they will put themselves on something that is substantially outside their financial capabilities.

The salesperson must bring the customer to their desk/office, sit them down and start gathering information. A decent interview should last at least 15 minutes.

               Skip this process and it will result in LOST SALES.

#2-CUSTOMER CONTROL
Every time there is a face to face encounter a sale is made. Either the customer buys into the salespersons presentation or the salesperson buys into the customer’s presentation.

The sale is made by the person in control. NO CONTROL, NO SALE.

Control is determined by the person ASKING the questions. To maintain control you, the Salesperson, must ask the questions.

You will need to anticipate the direction of the conversation, mentally think ahead to possible answers and be ready for different responses.

This is called “Thinking on your feet”. Explore every angle. Never stop asking questions.

#3-TURN TO A MANAGER Never be the person to let your customer leave the dealership. ALWAYS turn your customer to a manager.

Get a second opinion. Two heads are better than one. We’ve all heard all the reasons, so why doesn’t this get done?

Studies show that turning customers to a manager will result in an additional 5% sold units.

Now this may not sound like much. Let’s do the math. If your store has 500 UPS a month, this one deal saving technique will result in an additional 25 sales.

At $2500 per unit that amounts to $62500 in ADDITIONAL GROSS, just for getting a second OPINION!

Here then are the 3 ways you can turn a lost sale into a SOLD CUSTOMER!
Conduct a real interview, maintain customer control and always turn to a manager! Do this consistently and your organization WILL Sell More Units!

by Dugan Anderson

Sales Training Manager DealerPro Training Solutions

Need help with Sales Training? Losing Sales and looking for answers? Give Dugan a call at 406-755-2910 or send an email to dugan.anderson@gmail.com

What 3 Components Do You Need To Succeed In The Car Biz? ASK And You Shall Receive!

Communication Skills Lab

Communication Skills Lab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s right! There are  3 Components you need to Succeed in the Car Biz!

ATTITUDE, SKILL SET and KNOWLEDGE!

A strong Attitude will get you through the day even though you may feel like giving up. Attitude smooths out the ups and downs of a not so normal day and enhances a great day! With a great Attitude you can complete all of your tasks in a friendly and helpful manner.  The benefit to you…HAPPY CUSTOMERS! Your Attitude makes their day better!

Don’t believe me? Just walk around all day with a frown, growl and use one word answers and exhibit aggressive or apathetic body language and facial expressions and see if you don’t have a meeting with your Manager at the end of the day…if they are paying attention.

Better yet, have a meeting with Grandma Jones and the Manager because you had a case of retinal crapitus. That sounds like a great way to end the day, wouldn’t you agree?

Attitude can be fickle without proper maintenance. It requires adjustment from time to time much as a car requires a tune up and oil change. It needs to be fed  good material just like a good meal nourishes the body. Reading and listening to positive examples is the way to do it. Anyone can build a good Attitude with the proper material.

Start with the classics like Earl Nightengale, Drucker, and the like. Then you can plug in the more recent authors like Covey, Gitomer, Rackham, Ziglar, Cardone, Anderson. The point is to start reading and feeding your new Attitude!

The second item you possess free and clear is your SKILL SET!

These days an effective Skill Set will include assertive communication skills, dynamic listening skills, anger management skills, organization skills and creative thinking skills. All of these are necessary to complete everyday tasks in the modern Service Department and compete with the competition.

You can start developing your Skill Set the same way you develop your Attitude, by reading and listening. Practically every vehicle made today has a cd player or mp3 connection. Turn your vehicle into a rolling university. It’s the best quiet time we have during the day normally!

You can purchase cd sets on all of the above mentioned topics and a lot more at several websites or your local book store.

Start with an area you feel you need a little help in. You will gain a whole new view and way of looking at things just by gaining the confidence in your new skill or refreshing an old one. Keep working your way through communication and listening skills. Soon, you’ll have the confidence and skill level you need to Excel in the Service Drive!

Lastly, you’ll need to increase your Knowledge!

In the car business, this would seem to be an easy thing to do. Every year the new models come out and the factory starts pumping up the Sales Department with tons of material on models, warranty, etc. Hey, Mr. and Ms. Service Advisor, if the Knowledge is good for Sales it must be good for you too!

There are other ways. Take a class, sign up for an online Training Program, get a   new Process for write-ups…start increasing your Knowledge!

And, Oh, by the way, you can try and “do it all at once” or just do it the same way you learned everything so far…a little at a time. Just be consistent.

These 3 Key Components of Success will set you up to make more, do more and be more in your day. Start with your ASK and pretty soon you will be on the Receiving end of everything you want.

People say the darnedest things, don’t they.

We hear many things in Service.

Many people, many messages.

Stand on any Service Drive on any given day and you will hear Customers describe all kinds of noises related their vehicles. The variety of sounds people make describing their vehicle and situation is utterly amazing at times.

And no doubt you will hear conversations between Service Department personnel as they conduct their daily business.  Everything from “When will that part be here?” to discussions about lunch and everything else in between. In Service more words are exchanged on an hourly basis than nearly anyplace else on earth.

But there are things that you will never hear in the Service Department or even in the Dealership.  Here are a few of them.

  1. “Don’t take care of the Customer.” Is there ever a situation when you would not take care of your Customer? Maybe…I can’t think of one.  The chances are that 99.9% of the time you will be doing something.  Whether that is driving to their home to deliver a car to making sure that the waiting room coffee pot is full. The first word in your Department’s name is “Service.”
  2. “You are doing way too much maintenance work.” We recommend Service and Maintenance because that’s what we are supposed to do. The person doing that job is called the “Service Advisor” not the “Service Guy” or “Service Man/Service Lady” or even “Service Writer.”  The Service Advisor needs to be the most Professionally Trained and Knowledgeable person in the Dealership.  You can’t talk to a Customer intelligently about the vehicle and the maintenance required to keep it functioning as it is designed if all you know how to do is punch letters on a keyboard and say “Have a seat in our waiting room.”
  3. “You don’t need to be profitable this month/this year.” Just not going to happen. The Service Department is the heartbeat of the Dealership. Have you ever been to a Dealership where the Service Department was on its last wheezing gasps? That’s a Dealership in trouble because just like a human, you can’t live without a heart.
  4. “You can close early every day this week.” Nope, not going to happen either. Service stays open because vehicles break and more importantly Customers need us at to be open. For some people the family car is the one and only thing they have to get them around. For others it is the difference between making it to the doctor’s appointment or not. Service stays open because there isn’t a crystal ball made that can predict when it can be closed.
  5. “You don’t need to Train anymore.” There is not one single Successful business, military branch, professional sport, popular band or orchestra that does not Train on a regular and continuous basis. Not one. It’s impossible to put a marketable product, military presence, winning team or great sounding band into the world’s eye without it. Training is the beginning of Profit and the basis of Professionalism. You can’t have one without the other.

Take a listen the next time you walk through the Service Department. You will hear many things. Some of them might even be humorous. But chances are, you won’t hear these 5 things anytime soon.