Fixed Operations is an industry term for the parts and service departments; and it’s the hidden powerhouse of a dealership. According to CrossCheck, fixed operations made up at least 49% of a dealer’s gross profit in years past, and probably more than that in 2021. If it wasn’t for fixed operations, plenty of dealerships would struggle to keep the doors open; cementing that the back of the house is a foundation on which dealerships are built.In the showroom, the income is a variable. You might sell three Ram TRX trucks at three different prices depending on the level of negotiation that happens. And while the well-dressed car salesperson gets the bad rap for being a smooth talker, parts and service is another story. In reality, parts and service is the ideal place to upsell in a low-pressure environment. Back in fixed ops, there’s considerably less pretense and your customer is an active buyer “looking” for something, rather than being sold on something.
4 Ways to Upsell Dealership Fixed Operations
Make It Personal
When your customer brings their car in for service, they typically want to get in and get out quickly. While you deliver excellent customer service, by making the appointment comfortable and convenient, don’t miss the opportunity to ask them about their vehicle. Is something on the horizon they are looking for, such as a bike rack or cargo carrier? After the service appointment, do a walk-around with the customer. Point out what types of things they should look out for and anything they need to know for the next appointment. Take the time to explain the service that was performed and the condition of the vehicle in layman’s terms. When the service appointment is efficient and personalized, your customer will schedule their next appointment with you.
Train Your Staff to Overcome Objections
When 90% of your traffic is through the service department (most days), you can’t afford to let those opportunities for upsell slip. Give your staff the resources they need to keep from shutting down in the face of an objection. With proper training, fixed operations employees can upsell additional services, replacement products like tires, and oh yes—accessories! More often than not, customers object because they think you’re selling them things they don’t need. Service doesn’t need to master a sales pitch as much as they need to take the time to educate. Explain why an alignment or air filter change is necessary to maintain their investment with numbers. “$100 now can save you $2000 in a year.”
Customers Choose Budget Over Quality
Make sure that your common services are competitive in pricing with Valvoline, Tuffy Tires, and the mom-and-pop mechanic down the road. Services like an oil change, alignment, tire rotation, and cabin air filter (to name a few) have to be competitively priced to maintain customers long term. Dealerships are commonly known for high service prices, resulting in customers servicing elsewhere. The customer may well know that their vehicle is in the best hands at your store, and still decide based on price. Once you get the customer in the door, they’ll be more at ease knowing you aren’t price gouging. If they can trust your oil change price, they won’t balk when you recommend changing the worn tires today too. When you’re fairly priced, the customer doesn’t feel the need to shop around for the tires you recommend and will choose the convenience of having it done while they are there.
First Introduction to Service: Accessories
The easiest way to get more service appointments is by closing them at the point of sale with accessories.
The most common introduction to the service department is because something is “wrong.” It’s made worse when that “wrong” is within the first 90 days of new vehicle ownership. Right off the bat, the customer comes in hot looking for a fight. A way to defuse that customer before it ever happens is to install an accessory item when they buy the vehicle. When a customer is introduced to the service department during that “new car smell” period, the installation of an accessory makes them feel taken care of and like one of the family. Accessories connect the customer to their car with the personalized touch, and accessories connect your customer to service with a good feeling. Accessory customers are pleased and open to learning all the technicians' first names (and that John just had a baby). They might even bake cookies for the team when they take deliveries. Accessories not only increase the service department’s bottom line, they make a customer into a friend—and when something goes “wrong”, they are more apt to hug it out over fighting.
Increase Fixed Ops in 10 Minutes
Enhance that “new car smell” with accessories. In 10 minutes, Insignia Group’s team can provide you the tools to have your dealership presenting accessories like a pro! Our Everything program provides your dealership with step-by-step guidance on setting up, training, and implementing a sustainable accessories process from showroom to service lounge. We have 20 years of experience and a complete money-back guarantee if your store isn’t successful. Turn your customers into super fans with accessories.