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Service Traffic Still Pays the Bills

In speaking with a dealer this week discussing new car gross (and the lack thereof), he mentioned that his new car department sold well over 100 new vehicles during July, but netted only $13,000.

He was disgusted with his team of managers and the sales process that contributed to the low net number.  As the conversation went on, the dealer said, “On a bright note, we had a record July in service and are on pace for our best year ever.”

After we discussed the subtle changes they had made to their service department — things like adding another advisor and changing up their menu pricing — the dealer commented that his service marketing was playing a big role in generating the traffic.

Here are a few key points that contributed to the marketing success:

  1. Tires – Take an aggressive approach in the tire business and pay large incentives to all service members who contribute to the selling of tires.
  2. Oil Changes – Place a fixed price point on oil changes for base models and leave the price point alone all year.
  3. Seasonal Needs – Be the first to market with a winter special in January and summer saver in July. (It doesn’t hurt that the average temp in this dealer’s area has been well over 100 degrees for the last month.)
  4. The Bundle –Bundle together a package every 60 days with a price tag ranging from $120 – $250, depending on the services to push. The dealer cited that this is how people want to buy things now — everything from cell phone plans to financial services. Everybody wants a bundle. Everybody wants to feel like they are getting a good deal.

Every Service Drive and Service Manager is different.  Some will be opposed to some of these tactics while others will embrace them.  The trick is to focus on your “core products” that make your service department turn and burn so you can have a profit story that is worth telling.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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