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How To Generate Sales In Your Service Department

By Amanda Pliskow | Jun 26, 2019

Last updated on Nov 3, 2023

If you ask any dealer owner to name the area of the dealership where he or she focuses the most time, effort and resources – you’ll most likely get one answer: the sales department.


The automobile industry is extremely competitive, and dealers can’t afford to lose any sales opportunities. It is more important than ever to make sure every area of your store is focused on a common goal...

Delivering outstanding customer service, and driving sales.

To do this while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction, dealers must train, develop and manage their sales personnel with a consistent selling process.

One of the greatest opportunities is in the service department. In many dealerships, it is the one area of the store that handles more sales ups per day than the new and used car sales departments combined.

It’s also the area of the dealership that oftentimes doesn’t receive formal sales training and lacks an effective sales process.

So, why aren’t dealerships taking advantage of the enormous opportunities in the service drive?

Free Guide: 6 Ways to Boost Profitability, Performance & Service in Fixed Ops →

Here are some ways to bring your service drive up to speed, starting with your people:

It All Starts With Recruiting

Think of the way you advertise your sales job openings. More often than not, job postings in sales tend to be more detailed, and more enticing, leading to a larger volume of applicants. More applicants mean more opportunities to find a winner.

We asked our own Fixed Operations team about dealer recruiting, and words like goal-oriented, team builder, history of outstanding sales achievement, competitive salary, commissions, recognition, on-going training all came up as potential ways to bolster your job postings.

And focus on hiring qualified candidates who have a track record of being customer-oriented and who have the necessary skills to overcome objections and close a sale.

Training Your Fixed Operations Team

After recruiting and hiring the right people, the next step is to train, develop and manage service managers and service advisors with a consistent write-up process and hold them accountable to that process.

If you like golf, you’ll love this one: consistent training is like having a PGA pro with you every time you hit the green… watching your swing, and making timely suggestions.

Equipping your team with thought tracks and even investing in some training with professionals goes a long way.

While you may already have a consistent sales process, spend some time verbalizing and formalizing your sales strategy. It will help ensure that all customers are being treated the same way when they arrive for service, and it’ll help your team understand what is expected of them at work each day.

All service personnel must recognize they play a role in driving dealership revenue… remember, it’s a common vision that should be shared by your whole team.


Free Guide: 6 Ways to Boost Profitability, Performance & Service in Fixed Ops →

Develop a Sales Department Culture in the Service Drive

At many dealerships, service technicians simply checkout vehicles, oftentimes letting customers leave the department without advising suggested maintenance.

This is vital:

All service advisors must recognize they play a role in driving dealership revenue… remember, it’s a common vision that should be shared by your whole team.

When a customer comes in for service, their unique situation may be a sales up, not just another oil change. Dealers can overcome this by changing the job description of the service manager to one that is similar to the sales manager.

They need to be comfortable interacting with customers and involving them in a buying experience. This will lower customers’ resistance, making them more likely to buy services and return for additional services.

Finally, the service manager must also be held accountable for coaching, developing and providing support to the service staff.

As the SAAR flattens out, and vehicles require less maintenance work all areas of the store represent an opportunity to fight against compressing dealership margins. The service drive can and should be depended on more and more for additional sales opportunities and increased customer retention.

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