The Message

Posted by Erik Landrum on April 11, 2019 in Administrative Topics, F&I Selling Strategies, General Communication Skills, Interacting with Colleagues/Internal Customers

Let’s think outside of “the box”, if you will, for a moment. How may we further the cause of efficiently communicating all of the benefits, with our Guests, of taking advantage of our VSC offerings to protect their investment?

We’ve all heard (and I certainly believe in) the adage that the Sales Department sells the first vehicle and the Service Department sells, the same Guest, all subsequent purchases. How? By taking care of our Guest’s needs. Simple to proclaim but not always to execute. Considering these needs via a lens placing due emphasis on basic economics will help.

Ask yourself, would the Service Writer feel more comfortable explaining to our Guest (with a serious vehicle failure) that, “folks, I’m sorry. I’ve got bad news. Your vehicle needs a new whosa what’s-it, and it’s going to cost $5,623.89, parts and labor, to fix!” Or, would they rather deliver a message that, “folks, I’ve got bad news and GREAT news. I’ll give you the bad news first. Your vehicle needs a new whosa what’s-it and it’s going to cost $5,623.89, parts and labor, to fix. The GREAT news is that your vehicle service contract is going to pay for every penny. You don’t even have to pay your $200 deductible, since you came back to us, for the repair!

To a person, your Service Writer sampling would agree. The later message will be far easier to deliver. Besides, what Guest would decline to have these needs taken care of and turn down the recommended/required work due to cost considerations? Answer…NO ONE. The work is all being paid for them. We’ll have much happier Guests who are far more inclined to continue their business relationship with all of us, for their future vehicle needs; sales and service.

How might we further ensure these results?

Consider taking the idea up with your Sales Management team, General Manager, Service Manager, and/or Dealer Principal. Confidence is high that everyone would agree…happier Guests are in everyone’s best interest. Put together a tactical approach of how to address this issue. Compose a spiff program, for the Service Advisors, to encourage participation.

One possible approach would be to utilize the following stamp…

on all customer copies of repair orders. Why? Nearly all DMS systems generate customer copies of R.O.’s missing a very important piece of information. The itemized lines showing what the Factory Warranty (or Vehicle Service Contract) paid on behalf of the customer typically reads “warranty”. Our Guests usually have no idea how much money they were saved. This will completely change that perspective and re-enforce their decision to take advantage of our VSC offering in the first place,…OR will result in reconsidering a flawed decision to pass on the previous opportunity.

Obviously, we’d like those who let the benefit get away, previously, to have another chance. The Service Advisors can present the possibility, while reviewing the Guest’s copy of the R.O., and explain the meaning of the number filled in on the blank line.

They’ll easily be able to explain to these Guests that…“folks…results show that our HAPPIEST customers are those who don’t pay for ANY of their repairs, for ALL covered PARTS and LABOR, less the deductible! We are so committed to your satisfaction that we’d like to offer you the opportunity to take advantage of this SAME program. Sound good?” (Obviously, emphasis is intended on the bold words.)

Once the question is met with an affirmative answer, the Service Writer may then seat the Guest in a proper reception area. Then, after communicating the need with an available Business Manager, the Service Writer is free to pursue other obligations. The Guest will be met by the available Business Manager and brought in to the Business Office to discuss what VSC opportunities are available. It is incumbent on the Business Managers that the Guest is received as quickly as possible!

Another very effective communication tool would be to place a dry erase board on an easel, in the Service Drive. With due regular attention, someone will update a fill-in-the-blank line displaying how many dollars your Dealership Guests have saved: year-to-date, over the last 2 years, 5 years, etc. on their repairs. Your store’s Warranty Claims Administrator can provide this information.

Once again, we’re all on the same team. All adjustments, any of us make, that result in happier Guests and, therefore, greater business opportunities for everyone involved, assure our collective success.

Additionally, anyone with a modicum of understanding of the typical Dealership ad budget would further agree. Keep those you’ve already got as happy as you can!

Think about it.

Good luck and good selling!

Erik Landrum
F&I Performance Coach at Conley Insurance Group

Conley Insurance GroupCopyright 2019 – Conley Insurance Group Inc.,

Conley Insurance Group

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Saint Louis, MO 63131