Actively selling ALL vehicle needs AND dealership value is paramount to maintaining retail profitability in today’s market.

In today’s market, a dealership needs three service customers to create the same amount of revenue from one customer five years ago.   The reason for this is trifold:

1)    Manufacturers have extended recommended service intervals
2)    Fewer operations are recommended by manufacturers meaning each maintenance RO has fewer op codes
3)    Automobiles are simply made better these days requiring less warranty work

In order for a dealership to remain profitable, customer pay dollars must increase.  One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through the sound advice given to your customer, over time, by your service advisors.  Let’s face it, your service advisors are the face of your dealership for your customers.  To earn customer confidence in your dealership, it is imperative that your service advisors properly and consistently sell vehicle needs and your dealership’s value at every service.  Read on to learn how your service advisors can get it right every time.

Actively Recommend ALL Service Needs
There are always four components of a service advisor’s selling opportunity; service advisors should address each one at every visit.

  • Customer concerns (why the customer set an appointment or came in)
  • Vehicle history analysis for routine maintenance and previously declined work
  • Findings from walk-around inspections
  • Findings from technician multi-point inspections

For example, let’s say a customer visits your service center for a “squeaking sound” her car is making.  In most cases, your service advisor will address this issue accordingly.  But rarely will your service advisor review the vehicle needs uncovered from each of the other three selling opportunities.  If the multi-point inspection results or vehicle history identifies that the vehicle needs a new battery, but this is never communicated to the customer, your dealership loses an immediate customer pay opportunity.  Additionally, this situation has even greater long-term consequences…

What if your customer leaves and later her car won’t start?  You customer is now faced with an urgent unscheduled repair need.  Faced with this situation, your customer will likely defect to the nearest aftermarket supplier for the battery.  More importantly, she may question why her dealership did not inform her that she needed a new battery.  Don’t take a chance at losing a sale or your customer’s confidence (and long-term business.)  Make sure your service advisors are looking at all four components and actively recommending urgent, routine, and upcoming service at each service visit.

Communicate Why Service Needs Should Be Completed
Most customers view your dealership as the expert when it comes to their car.  As such, customers rely on you to inform them of why service needs to be completed.  If you want to reduce your amount of declined customer pay work, then your service advisors must not only inform your customers of their vehicle needs, but why necessary work should be completed today.

Let’s take a look at our previous example that identified that your customer’s vehicle needs a new battery.  Your service advisor should follow this process to ensure your customer understands why the service is needed:

1)    State the Need: “Based upon your mileage and our battery test, your vehicle is due for a new battery.”
2)    Why It Is Important:  “Your battery is needed to start your car.  We are coming into the summer months, which place added strain on batteries, causing them to fail.  When the outside temperature reaches 90o, it is 140 o under your hood.  We don’t want you to get stranded when you are out and about.”
3)    How It Will Help:  “By replacing your battery today, we can ensure that your car will start easily all summer long.”

Communicate Your Dealership Value
Once your customer agrees that work should be completed, your service advisor must help your customer understand why this work should be completed at your dealership.  Your convenience, factory-trained technicians, original equipment parts, stock availability and shuttle service are just a few of the things that must be actively promoted.

Considering our battery replacement example, your service advisor can easily promote all of these things, “We have your manufacturer-recommended battery that is specifically designed for all of the added electronic devices on your car right in stock.  Joe, our factory trained technician, can ensure that it is properly installed and test that the new battery runs great.  Since your car is already on the rack, we can get the old battery removed and the new battery installed within the next hour…”

Avoid Pre-Qualifying Customers
Lastly, don’t fall into the trap of pre-qualifying customers.  Just because a customer refused service before does not mean that she will refuse needed service today (especially if your customer fully understands what vehicle needs exist, why the service must be completed and why your dealership is the best place for the service.)  It is your service advisors’ responsibility to educate your customers of all vehicle needs.  It is your customers’ responsibility to determine which of those services she wants to complete today.

We are confident that consistently educating your customers about all vehicle needs will help you sell more customer pay hours today and retain more customers in the future.

Would you like to measure your service advisors’ ability to consistently communicate all vehicle service needs?  Do you want to learn how to retain more customers for all routine maintenance and even unscheduled repairs?  Contact Us: or email:

[pardot-form id=”4070″ title=”Basic_Info_Template_1″]

The 2020 Service Retention Report Is Here!See what nearly 2,000 service customers said about why they return, why they don't, and what dealerships can do about it.