If you’re running a service department, there’s no doubt your goal is to motivate your advisors and technicians to 100 percent efficiency every day without sacrificing the customer experience or burning-out valuable staff. You know your goals and how they’re tied to the success of your department. But, for most service staff, any numbers beyond repair estimates and paychecks are a mystery. It’s time to give your service department some love and hold sales meetings focused on monthly targets and the skills needed to get there. Ted Ings first introduced this concept – and we thought it was so good we wanted to expound on it so more service departments get on board.
After all, fixed ops keeps the lights on. Training staff to understand the importance of their jobs to overall dealership health, and helping these employees acquire the soft and technical skills needed to upsell and retain customers is a boon for everyone. Plus, anyone working on commission is a salesperson. Teach them how to sell more effectively, and the bump in their paychecks will be a huge motivator to keep it up.
GET EVERYONE IN THE RIGHT MINDSET TO SERVICE CUSTOMERS
We’re not advocating for old-school sales meetings where managers yell to SELL, SELL, SELL! On the contrary, we’re talking about holding meetings with service advisors, service managers, shop foremen, and technicians to talk about sales targets and how to reach goals. Team meetings are also useful to share sales skills and solidify the team. This is a time to celebrate successes, discuss strategies, and get everyone in the right mindset to service customers.
This may take time to get used to. We suggest starting with weekly meetings, then two to three times per week, and eventually every day once the practice becomes a habit. The best part is that every meeting only needs to be about 10 minutes. Ted Ings suggests holding them right before the service drive doors open to get staff pumped and focused on the day’s goals.
It’s time to give your service department some love and hold sales meetings focused on monthly targets and the skills needed to get there.
FOCUS ON SOFT SALES SKILLS
Too often soft sales skills like active listening and relationship building are pushed to the back burner or neglected all together. Yet, these skills are key to relating and communicating with customers. How do you teach them? Through exposure and practice? Take a couple of minutes during your team meeting to role play different customer scenarios.
For example: handling an upset customer, greeting a customer, or explaining recommended services as vehicle investments. The last one is key for gaining customer acceptance for recommended services. When staff can position recommendations as essential for vehicle safety, for example, customers will more readily agree to repairs.
BRUSH-UP ON TECHNICAL SKILLS
Service staff members use a lot of different technology tools and programs throughout the work day. From multi-point inspection software to the CRM to texting applications – there’s a lot to master. Sales meetings are an excellent time to help staff brush-up on technical skills. Pick a different topic each day and be prepared with an illustration of the good and the bad.
For example: a CRM entry that is complete and one that needs more detailed notes, or a customer text that is great and one that needs to be more professional.
If your service advisors and technicians shoot and share vehicle videos to upsell recommended services, make sure you’re practicing quality control. Too many videos are shaky, confusing, or just plain terrible because staff have not been taught the proper way to film a walkaround. Take the time to demonstrate proper technique, share examples of great videos, and acknowledge those who have mastered the skill.
Why should these aspects of sales in the Service Department get all the attention? It’s time your Service Department got some training through team meetings on soft and technical skills as well as sales tactics. After all, you count on fixed ops to keep your lights on.