McDonald’s is a global brand, serving people worldwide to the tune of billions and billions of dollars in revenue. One of their secrets? “Do you want fries with that?” That simple saying generates more profit than any other. It is nothing other than a quick upsell. Are your employees doing the same?
There is money being left on the table at your car dealership. If you want it, all you have to do is ask. Your entire dealership team needs to understand that there is selling to be done after the customer says ‘Yes’. Whether it is a part, a service, or a vehicle that the customer is purchasing, there can always be additional services, products or deliverables that your team must offer.
Starting on the sales floor, when a customer finally says ‘Yes’ to their vehicle, is that where your sales team stops? Is that when they spend the next one hour getting the paperwork ready for finance, taking the vehicle to be washed, and hiding around the corner as the customer just sits there waiting? They shouldn’t be. This is the time to sell.
Consider having a “bells and whistles” book filled with additional accessories for each individual model vehicle that can be installed aftermarket. It can include pricing, but, more importantly, photos of other vehicles that have had similar upgrades. People are visual so they need to see what it can look like. They need to see the possibilities. Dealers must recognize that there is no better time to upsell add-on accessories than from the sales floor at the time of purchase. But it starts with asking the customer if they’re interested. They’ve already said ‘Yes’, so giving them additional options for their vehicle is a benefit to them, not a hindrance.
This can also be the time to ask even more questions that add to the greater good of the store. Make sure your staff is asking their guests for reviews, customer testimonial videos, and social media approval in-store to generate digital assets after the customer drives away with their new vehicle. Anything that can be completed at the point of purchase or work done should be requested. Everything else can be tentatively scheduled for future action. The sales and service teams just need to be trained to ask the right questions.
Your service department is already proficient at the upsell. They rely on it daily. However, it takes a significant culture shift in a dealership to get your service department to stop only protecting their own interests and focusing on the good of the store. For the most part, service teams care deeply about keeping what is theirs. They recognize their customers are their profit centers so they guard them from any outside influence…including the sales team. The service lane, however, is one of the best places to be discussing all of the benefits of trading up with their customers.
Bryan Armstrong, eCommerce Director of Southtowne Volkswagen, has a long history of generating additional revenue by integrating all departments, especially mining sales from his service department. He states “With diminishing resources to find quality used cars and the increasing expenses to doing so, the strongest resource is right on your own service drive. If you can begin entering every decline op code into a CRM system and send that alert to a salesperson, you can retain more customers by having someone educate the customer as to their options. What we have done at Southtowne VW is to advise the customer of the additional service upcoming beyond their current visit, tentatively scheduling that future maintenance, and recommending a quick trade-appraisal at that time. This gives our customers and our sales/service force the ability to prepare trade figures that are advantageous to both parties.”
If no one knows the customer’s car better (and your service writers are viewed as trusted resources), they have to pay it forward. The service department is crucial to keeping the circle of life alive in your dealership. You must create a program that rewards service writers for passing customers up the food chain and back onto the sales floor. (It tends to work best when it is incentive-laden, as do most initiatives.) Regardless of how you integrate selling vehicles into the service lane, it must be done. Business must be reciprocal.
The Parts Department must be addressed to. They aren’t there just to feed oil filters to the service techs and order parts for those customers who insist on “doing it themselves”. Your Parts counterperson must be an advisor. They must carry a guru’s passion for modified vehicles. It is their excitement to see a vehicle souped-up with aftermarket items that will help profit roll in. If they can keep a detailed evidence manual at the counter of options, similar to what the sales team has, as well as pictures on the wall of cars and trucks they’ve jazzed up with modifications, it makes the upsell so much easier.
All it takes is asking. In every department we must be selling after the sale. Be it sales, service, or parts, there are opportunities to grow your penetration rate and your profit with every customer. Your team must be trained properly on how to ask for additional business. They must know how to assemble the digital or manual evidence that will help them engage the customer in a pressure-free way. They must appeal to the customer’s desire for “a little more”. While it sounds easy, understand that it is a process. It takes conditioning your team to ask every time to every customer.
People always want what they don’t have. It is one reason why the majority of McDonald’s customers end up getting fries with their order. Your front-line people must be asked to upsell because every dollar benefits both the dealership and the employees. “Do you want fries with that?” Yes. All you had to do is ask.