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Case Study: Why Kelly Nissan Was Hesitant to Sell Cars from the Service Drive & How They Now Sell 25 Additional Cars Per Month

Posted by Manuel Soto Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Like many car dealerships, Kelly Nissan was hesitant to sell cars from their already extremely profitable service drive.

So, they focused their advertising and marketing efforts on getting people to their sales floor – instead of those prospects that are already inside the dealership right now, getting work done on their cars. And, they were spending at least $400 to $600 per car sold on advertising.

Here Are the 3 Excuses Kelly Nissan Used to Explain Why They Weren’t Selling Cars from Their Service Drive…

Reason #1: They have tried selling cars from the service drive in the past- and it didn’t work.

When Kelly Nissan first thought about selling from the service drive, they rotated sales executives from the sales floor into the service drive.  These sales executives who spent about 95% of their time on the sales floor failed to adapt to the service drive. They were using the same, pushy sales strategies that new car salesmen are known for on customers who came in specifically for maintenance or repairs and not to be sold to. That’s why their conversion rate from the service drive was less than one half percent.

When you have potential customers for a new car in your dealership for other reasons you can’t come across with a hard sell. You need to take a quality assurance process where you go over their account in full to ensure that their service needs are met. And, while you review their account, you let the service customers know about their options and how it can be saving them more money in the long run.

Reason #2 – They failed to get buy-in from both the sales and service departments

Many sales from the service drive efforts fail simply because there isn’t any buy-in.

Since the beginning, when car dealerships added a service drive to their dealership for additional revenue, the sales and service departments were always in two completely different silos:

  • The sales department is responsible for bringing in new car sales from the sales floor
  • The service department is responsible for bringing in additional revenue through maintenance and repair programs.

Part of this mentality is the fact that service managers get commissions on the services being performed – and they’re afraid that they’ll lose commissions if you turn a service customer into a “new car sale” customer. And, they’re afraid they’ll lose commissions if you turn service customers off because they’re not at the dealership now to get sold.

Car sales executives don’t buy-in to selling cars from the service drive because they know service customers are there for repairs and that the typical conversion rate from the service drive is one-half percent. Why would they want to be taken off the sales floor where they feel that they are more likely to close a customer on a new car deal?

Reason #3 – They were afraid to harm their CSI & SSI numbers

Because, the service drive is a profitable revenue center for Kelly Nissan (and for many car dealerships I speak to), they were afraid to try to increase car sales from the service drive. They rely on customers coming back on a regular maintenance schedule and they don’t want to push these customers away to other dealerships or mechanics.

Now, we showed Kelly Nissan real proof that they’d actually increase their CSI and SSI numbers by taking a quality assurance approach – and at the same time increase their new car sales from the service drive.

Here Are the Actions Kelly Nissan Took In Order to Sell 25 Cars per Month from the Service Drive

We challenged the Kelly Group to try our quality assurance approach with one of their dealerships – and see if they experience improved results from their service drive. With our guidance, support and technologies they:

  1. Created a team of quality assurance professionals who were given the tools to identify prospects in the service drive that should be in the market for a new car and trained in a personalized 8-step process that shows customers you are truly interested in meeting their service needs. Now, they were not just taking sales executives and putting them into the service drive just armed with data that they received from a data mining program.
  2. Integrated telemarketing, merchandising and consultative marketing strategies to help them gain a 4% to 5% closing rate. Their quality assurance reps would call the service customers and confirm their appointments plus using proven scripts, they’d let the customers know that they’d like to speak to them personally to go over their account and ensure that their service needs are met. At the dealership, customers find merchandise throughout the service drive that lets them know that the dealership is looking to buy “high quality cars.”  Plus, the service customers receive a personalized letter from the GM that discusses in more detail how the dealership is looking to buy back cars. During the one-on-one session with a quality assurance rep, the customers go through a complete account worksheet to ensure that the dealership has the latest information on their account. From there the quality assurance rep can explain their options and show the savings they received.
  3. Kelly Nissan showed both the sales department and the service department how they BOTH will benefit from this quality assurance program. They showed their teams how it’s about improving the customer experience and how this will positively affect the whole dealership.

The Results Achieved…And Your Next Steps

By changing the way cars are sold from the service drive, Kelly Nissan is selling at least 20 to 25 new cars each and every single month from the service drive. These are additional sales that they would not have gotten otherwise.

Watch their video testimonial HERE

Now all of the dealerships are using the Service Turn technology to identify prospects within the service drive that should be in the market for a new car and they are using our 8-step quality assurance process. Instead of converting one-half percent of their service drive customers into new car sales – they have a 4% to 5% conversion.

During our next webinar for car dealers, service managers and sales managers, the former GM of Kelly Nissan will share with you in complete detail how he used the 8-step quality assurance process to get more car sales from the service drive.

Register for this free webinar now by clicking HERE!


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