Selling in the Service Drive

On this week’s episode of Straight Talk, David Lewis tells you how you can sell more vehicles by selling to customers who dropped off their cars for service.


Hello again, and welcome to another episode of Straight Talk. I am your host, David Lewis, and I want to thank you for joining me for these next several minutes while I share with you some of the principles of success I have learned in over 35 years of working and training in the retail automotive industry.

The goal of this program is to help you find new and better ways to build a highly successful career in the car business and today I want to speak to you about selling in service.  The service department can be one of your best sources for finding buyers and if I was selling today I would sell more cars than the salespeople who spent all of their time taking ups.

Walk-in traffic has a closing ratio that averages 13% nationally.  Your best customers are sitting in Service so why would you not want to entertain the idea of selling customers sitting in service?  Here is what I would do if I still were selling today:

Three times a day I would go back to service and I would look at the people who are sitting in the customer lounge or find out who had dropped off their cars for service.  Any customer who has a car that is four years or older, I would write down their Vin number, go to and determine what the car is worth wholesale.  I would then deduct $2000 from that number in case I was wrong.

I would then take that number and work a new lease on the same car brand new with a Cap Reduction equal to the value you have placed on their car.  So, say the customer has a 2013 Ford Fusion.  I go look it up and let’s say the car is hypothetically worth $8,000, after I deduct the $2000 for a margin of error.  I then take a new Ford fusion and using an $8000 CAP Reduction I would do a lease proposal.   This is going to give me a very low lease payment to work with.

I would then go to the lounge, sit with the customer and say look Mr. or Mrs. customer, we have a high demand for used cars today and you have a beautiful vehicle that’s very desirable and has peak value in the market today.

I did some math and you can lease that same vehicle brand new for less than $200 a month. Would you like to spend about 10 minutes and I can show you some cars and give you some numbers, then you can take those numbers and you can go home and think about it.

The important part of the verbiage is “you can go home and think about it”.

I would then take them out on the lot, show them the new Fusions and let them sit in a new Fusion and drive one. Then at the end all I have to do is ask if they have a payoff on their car.  If they do, I recalculate the numbers using the payoff amount and then write that out and give them a copy of the worksheet to take with them.

Now here is the important catch:  I will not ask the customer to buy the car at this point. That is pressure and customers don’t like pressure.

Now I know some of you will say that you always want to ask.  But you don’t always ask.  If the customer was Mrs. Smith that you were talking to, she’s not going to buy one without talking to Mr. Smith.  And if it was Mr. Smith you are talking to, he’s not going to buy one without talking to Mrs. Smith.  So do the right thing and take that into consideration.

After a short break I am going to return and share with you what I would do after the customer leaves the dealership.

Welcome back.  Now when the customer leaves I would go make a video of the car and send it to her so she could show the video to Mr. Smith so he can see the car.  If you do this three times a day, you are going to get people coming in to buy cars from you.

And as you have heard me say before if you watch this program regularly, I would post the video I send them on my YouTube page and write the Title and Description tag in such a way that if others were looking for Ford Fusion’s on Google that car would show up in their search and they might contact me about buying the car.

I would also make sure that in the video I sent Mrs Smith that I clearly stated that low lease payment and if someone called or came in to ask about that payment I would let them know I was doing a What if lease proposal for a customer and that number was based on their trade-in and any payoff and that amount would needed to be considered in the lease.

This is one way to sell cars in service and it is a good way to get buyers who were otherwise not thinking of buying a car that day when they were in service.  If you give people a reason to see how they could benefit by thinking outside of the box some will move forward and you will sell them a car.

Sitting at your desk waiting for ups to come in is not the way to make a great living in this business.  You have to be proactive and think of ways to find potential customers and give them a reason to consider buying a new car.  Creativity is the mark of a great salesperson and doing what others don’t do will set you above the crowd and give you the reward that goes with that kind of thinking.

This same strategy can work with following up on your past customers who have a vehicle that is four years old or older.  This is also good for orphaned buyers who bought from a salesperson who does not work there anymore.

These are the kind of activities that generate new sales and turn an average producing salesperson into one who builds their business exponentially and grows their income month after month and year after year.

The service department is like a stocked pond for a fisherman.  Most salespeople don’t consider that as a place to find new customers and some fear they may run into a customer who is disappointed with the fact that they have their car in service needing to be fixed.   All of these are excuses we make with ourselves because of fear of rejection.  If you can set that aside and learn how to sell in service you will be glad that you did, I assure you.

Selling this way to service department customers is logical and reasonable and the more you learn how to do it the more benefits you receive in the process.  Not only will you make more sales, you will earn customers who come back to you again and again when they are in the market for a new vehicle.  This kind of ‘going the extra mile’ sales technique pays off and if you are not doing it you should be.

A great salesperson doesn’t wait to be asked, they ask first.  They are proactive in their approach to building their business and being proactive they reap the rewards that go with that kind of approach to sales.   It is not about being presumptuous or aggressive with customers.  It is simply taking advantage of the opportunities that are right in front of you.

I live in a coastal town in Florida where there are also a lot of houses lining the inlets that lead to the ocean.   Ask any fisherman who works in a private inlet and they will tell you that often the biggest fish are caught hanging around the docks that line the shores in front of the houses.

You don’t always have to go out into the ocean to find the best opportunities or the biggest fish. Like selling in service, sometimes they are right in front of you if you take the time to get the right bait and learn how to fish in those places.

. . . . . Well that’s it for today’s show. I hope you will take me up on this challenge and start practicing the art of selling in service. Thanks for joining me today. And as always if you would like a complimentary copy of my books just send me an email at and I will ship them out to you immediately.