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Is your service department prepared to sell?

By moconnell on 4/16/2018

By Duane Gilder
Training & Development Specialist – The Academy

Perhaps a dealership’s best salespeople are not actually in sales, but on the service drive. Unlike the sales team, selling to customers who are actively looking to make a purchase, service advisors are selling parts and services to customers who are not necessarily there by choice, but because something broke, was recalled, or just needed maintenance. Selling under any of these circumstances is a difficult task to accomplish, and more often than not, service advisors have little support from the technicians working on the vehicles.

The MPI, or multi-point inspection, is a tool with great potential to help advisors gain upsells from existing customers, and yet, in most cases, the repairs are complete and the customer has paid for the service before the MPI is even presented by a technician. Basically, the timing is terrible. How many customers are going to opt for more repairs or services, no matter the price or necessity, when they’re walking out the door? For the purpose of making a greater impact when helping customers understand the need for services, The Academy recommends renaming the MPI as a “safety inspection” and striving for 15-minute completions. Presenting the results to the advisor as soon as the inspection is finished lends itself to better timing and provides them with the best possible opportunity to upsell from a safety perspective, as well as consistently increase average hours per R.O.

Regardless of an advisor’s current performance, a focus on improving by an average of .3 additional labor hours per R.O. can make a big difference, as illustrated below:

Current Performance

+ .3 Additional Labor Hours

17 R.O.s at 1.7 hours =
28.9 hours per day

17 R.O.s at 2 hours =
34 hours per day

28.9 x $90 ELR =
$2,601 per day

34 x $90 ELR =
$3,060 per day

$2,601 x 22 days per month =
$57,222 gross per month

$3,060 x 22 days per month =
$67,320 gross per month


An average increase of only .3 hours per R.O. equates to a $10,000 gross increase per month per service advisor. One small difference clearly adds up, and it can be as simple as upselling and replacing an air filter, windshield wipers, a cabin air filter, or selling a detail, vendor, or PDR service.

When hiring and training service team members, do not lose sight of the sales component. Service selling skills are underrated and can make a surprising impact in the dealership’s bottom line.

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