Dealerships can increase their parts and service department profits by making sure staffers are attuned to additional sales opportunities.
Personnel should be on the lookout for incremental sales or upsells. They come in two forms: suggested and needed.
Suggested up-sells are items that complement the purchase and are ones the customer quite likely wants, but had not thought of buying. Possibly the customer does not know that your dealership sells them.
Needed upsell refers to goods or services the customer had no idea were needed. For example, people bring their vehicle in for a spring tune up after receiving a late winter flyer in the mail. Servicing the vehicle, you suggest replacing the brake pads with a newer, more efficient type than the current ones that are badly weathered but not necessarily worn out. It's best to present this upsell by noting that the current brakes aren't worn out, but the new ones are better and safer.
It's important that the upsell not become a hard sale or a pitch for something the customer doesn't really need. It's also important that staffers know how to do it.
Probably the least trained dealership personnel are parts people. They're neglected because on average 60-70% of their sales are internal. That shouldn't matter! The professional parts person should consistently offer incremental products and services to every customer internal or external.
The professional parts manager should list the most common items sold, and make an upsell list that complements those original purchases.
|Principal item||Secondary item|
|Engine oil & filter||Drain plug gasket & filter wrench|
|Air Filter||PCV Valve, fuel filter|
|Engine De-greaser||Other cleaning items|
|Spark Plugs||Wire set, cap, rotor, Gapping tool|
|Windshield Wipers||Washer fluid, high performance wipers|
|Brake Pads||Anti-squeal, calipers, brake fluid|
After all, isn't it the manager's job to provide the tools for their employees to perform better? Part of this is to train employees on the best ways to offer these extra products in a caring and complimentary ways.
So here is a list of soft-sell upsell techniques:
- “We have these on sale right now.”
- “Most people find these make the job easier.”
- “When I or our technicians replace that, we find this really helps.”
- “It's better to have something and not need it, than need it and not have it.”
That said, don't try to sell what a customer utterly doesn't need. Always offer the best advice. Maybe today your best advice is that the customer does not need some extra items that he or she thought was needed. Your honesty will be rewarded in the long run. Your customer will appreciate your help and return to you for future purchases as well as refer new customers to you.
Parts people could take a cue from the service advisor's daily routine. Service advisors must prioritize on a daily basis especially when a cost-conscious customer has a list of different repairs.
If there are several things that you suggest they buy, you can list them in a priority and advise them that not everything needs to be done immediately, so they can budget for future expenses.
Be an advisor to that parts customer. Work on the basis that a repeat customer will bring you sales success. Offer advice for upsells that relate to each individual customer and the purchase they came in for, and you will win with them — and with your boss.
Dave Skrobot ([email protected]/1-888-681-7355) is vice president of fixed operations training for the Automotive Sales College.