CBT News has reported on the increase of RV sales this spring on travel restrictions. Deloitte Insights published in their State of the Consumer Tracker from June 13th that more than half of respondents planned to travel for leisure in the next three months via hotel or private accommodations. Although domestic air travel is resuming in limited capacities in the pandemic recovery, the trend is that Americans will be hitting the highway for a road trip this summer more often than usual.
Customers taking long highway drives present an opportunity for dealerships to increase auto sales for tow vehicles, but it also has the potential to be a money-maker for the service department. Here are four opportunities to generate increased revenue for service customers planning to road trip without over-selling.
Recommend Driveline Fluid Changes
Many of the vehicles towing boats and travel trailers this summer will be pickup trucks and SUVs, and a majority will be AWD or 4WD. Most customers aren’t aware that towing a trailer regularly requires changing the differential fluids and transfer case fluids more often; sometimes the transmission fluid as well. For example, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado requires the transfer case fluid replaced every 97,500 miles under normal use. In severe use, it’s due at 45,000 miles along with an accelerated transmission fluid change schedule.
These fluids aren’t an upsell. They’re maintenance from the manufacturer to keep their vehicle operating well. It should be an easy conversion.
Provide Access to Helpful Accessories
Certain accessories are for dress-up only, but others serve important functions. For customers planning to tow a heavy trailer, an accessory transmission cooler could be a trip-saver. More likely, though, accessories like side window deflectors, sill guards, and mud flaps are the functional accessories you will be selling.
Mud flaps especially are important for road trip clients. They prevent stone chips on their travel trailer or boat as there’s often gravel roads associated with overnight road trips. While lean parts inventory is the best strategy, accessory sales in this manner require immediate availability or the sale will be lost. Keep the common accessories on hand for popular models. Packages are also a fantastic way to move accessories if you’ve over-purchased inventory.
According to a 2006 report, 200 million passenger tires are replaced annually in the United States. There’s roughly a one in three chance that any vehicle pulling into your service drive may need tires. That’s all the more important for customers towing heavy trailers, where an accident would be even more detrimental to everyone involved.
When a customer is towing for their road trip, put special emphasis on checking the tires. Do so in their presence if at all possible and start the sale process before they have the chance to shop around.
Advertise Road Trip Inspections
These three techniques are helpful for customers already coming to your store, but there are plenty of others who aren’t currently your customer. Compile an advertising campaign digitally and on social media to offer road trip inspections. This could be done a couple of ways:
- A drive-in inspection performed by a service advisor for free. This on-the-spot inspection can be used to sell competitively-priced services for any vehicle deficiencies.
- A paid inspection performed in the shop. This type of inspection will get lower engagement but the customers who choose it typically have more intention of following through with recommendations.
With summer already upon us, this strategy would need to be engaged in a timely fashion. But with customers taking to the road as their only option to air travel, it’s a great opportunity to boost service revenue.
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