A dealership must pursue a course to help their customers sustain their vehicles to the utmost degree of maintenance. This is a service that is expected to benefit the customers experience and value from their car. Cars are a substantial investment that people keep longer these days. Preventative, ongoing maintenance allows people to get better value for their investment.

Fact: Automotive dealerships will not prosper profitably or in the customer satisfaction arena simply selling what the customer comes in for to purchase.

So how do you feel about selling? First off, remember as a Service Advisor you are not actually selling but simply sharing information in a prioritized way and giving your customer options. In your heart, you have to know that the products and services you offer customers are a value and enhance performance longevity and reliability. More on this later, but preventative maintenance is an imperceptible service in terms of the customer “feeling” anything different after they are performed. Do you agree about selling legitimately needed services to your customers?

Are They “Necessary?”

Preventative maintenance services are usually vendor services fluid exchange services that provide your customer additional protection often above and beyond the manufacturer’s minimal requirements for severe duty and special operating conditions.

As the term “preventative” suggests, these services are not to “fix” a concern, but rather keep a problem that requires a repair from occurring in the first place. In a lot of different dealership environments, these services are performed after the manufacturer’s warranty expires and, in fact, most come with their own “built in” component warranty. They can help a customer continue to keep a car for a long time, if that’s what they want.

Here’s a short list of your typical fluid services performed as Preventative Maintenance

  • Transmission fluid exchange
  • Brake Fluid Interchange
  • Coolant Exchange
  • Power Steering Fluid Replacement
  • Air/fuel Induction system cleaning
  • a/c system cleaning
  • Differential Service

How Do We Make it Happen?

Two primary selling situations: At write up and post inspection, ASK AT BOTH situations. Recommend Maintenance Based On Mileage And History.

Guests need repairs to fix something “tangible” that is broken. Unlike repairs, Maintenance is an “intangible” service. When recommending maintenance to guests, it is important to stress the benefits of completing maintenance from the standpoint of “tangibles” – maintaining safety, performance, fuel economy, reliability, warranty coverage, and resale value. Like insurance, maintenance is an investment that saves your client money; not performing maintenance costs your client money.

  • Use all the tools available to build value: menus, owner’s manual, drive signage, and competitive information.
  • Check the guest’s history and “put them into” the Highest maintenance package that they have not performed yet. Example: if the vehicle has 66K on it, and the guest has never had their 60K service done, then you would recommend the major 60K versus the 6k services. If they decline at write up, simply prioritize your offerings post inspection; in fact that’s the perfect time to get an assumptive approval to do your multipoint inspection.

Here are a few more tips.

  1. CONSISTENT OFFERING OVER TIME: Look for history of your customer doing it before to help them keep within the time frame. ALSO: If we recommended it LAST TIME and it was postponed, we need to be consistent and ask for it this time also. You will not come off as credible if you recommend something different and not address what was postponed last time.
  2. “SHOW AND SELL!”: Fluid sampling is a great way to show a fluid’s breakdown over time. Show the samples every time so the customer can follow the degradation of the fluids that keep their car running reliably.
  3. PREPARE FOR UPCOMING NEEDS: When you inspect a car and find nothing is needed, make a big deal about it. Emphasize the times where customer does NOT need anything and prepare them for UPCOMING services.
  4. LIFETIME PROTECTION PLAN: Keep in mind the your vendor MAY offer Lifetime Protection Plan – If a flush service is done before 75K (typically) it gives the customer Warranty coverage for 30K (typically) thereafter for that component! This is an additional benefit that in itself is a reason for your customer to have the service performed. TYPICAL EXCEPTIONS: (5K on oil additive and 15K on Induction Service, see your specific vendor coverage sheet).
  5. CONSIDER DRIVING HABITS, ROAD AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS: Remember that we have severe duty driving conditions in this area that cause us to have to service vehicles more than the minimum factory recommendations. Stop and go, high heat and humidity, dusty terrain, towing…… are all considerations in this immediate area!

By offering our customers preventative maintenance services we can help them squeeze a lot of quality use out of their cars. At the same time, these services enhance profitability, customer satisfaction and customer retention. Get on the bang wagon and tap into this TODAY! Please let me know if I can help!

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