By Ken Strong
Sales and service get their own distinct roles in any car dealership. In an ideal world, sales is available to attract new customers and to sell cars. Service exists to help keep those customers coming back and turn all of them into loyal, lifelong customers.
With this in mind, it is very important take a look at how well do sales and service departments work together. Do they work well together? At the end of the day, the achievements of one department is inextricably tied with the success of the other.
Of all the ways the product sales and service are linked, the first hand-off from sales to service is at the base of this working connection. It all starts here. If this is the customer’s first experience at the dealership, the hand-off is critical towards the long-term value of that customer.
Coordinate Goals and Goals
Product sales and service (necessarily) have various day-to-day objectives. Sales is trying to market cars. Service is trying to fix all of them. Sometimes the sales department can be considered just another customer (albeit an attentive customer) who provides a steady flow of repair work. This view is limited and needs to be re-examined. Product sales and service are two sides of the same coin.
While the daily goals may be different for each department, the particular long-term goals should be focused on exactly the same objective – to grow the faithful customer base of the dealership. Which means that issues such as repair work, or even accessories should be looked at as a means to a finish, not profit centers in-and-of their own.
Whenever service and sales are centered on the same goals, us-versus-them goes away as well as the sales-to-service hand-off becomes a meaningful changeover for the customer and for the car dealership.
Teach Staff the Importance of this Relationship
It is necessary that employees understand how the relationship between sales and service is supposed to function. Salespeople and service advisors have to be on good terms and be able to interact. Customers need to see a unified front. During hand-off, customers should believe that they are dealing with two players on a single team, not opposing players required to play each other.
Involve Service in the Sales Process
To further solidify the unified front, consider integrating assistance into the sales process. In-house accessory installation is one way to accomplish this. Customers will get a taste of your service department when your sales department sells a good accessory and your service department installs it.
Also, consider the message being delivered every time you send an installation away from your dealership. The message you’re sending when you do this is that you want the client to take their service business somewhere else.
The greater familiarity the customer has with the service department before and during the sale, the more likely they are to bring their car in for service after the sale. With all the rise of competition from self-employed service shops, dealers are finding this harder to attract and preserve service customers. Integrating sales and service leverages a dealer’s unique assets and tilts the benefit in the dealer’s favor.