The service drive is the most lucrative opportunity-mining zone a dealership can tap. This vein of gold is built on customers who are already comfortable with the dealership because they’re trusting their vehicle to be maintained properly and paying for this service. It is the ultimate first party lead to grab.
A dealer’s service drive is ripe with opportunities for new inventory and sales, but too often the service drive is overlooked, undervalued, or improperly managed, resulting in undesirable results. Mining the service drive typically fails because of one of these reasons:
- Dealers aren’t mining at all.
- They are sending the newest salesperson to find sales in the service drive.
- They are mining manually through a research-intensive process.
- They are only using the sold database and missing out on more than half of service customers.
Finding success in mining the service drive doesn’t have to be labor-intensive, and it can provide an incredible return when done properly. Here are three ways dealers can find success mining their service drives.
1. Automate the Groundwork
When tasks are left to people — especially if you’re facing a low-staffing situation like many dealers face today — you’ll find tasks certain ones are easily forgotten, like following up with service customers. Eliminating groundwork that can be easily forgotten and automating the first steps of mining the service drive ensures you’re not missing out on any leads. Automated tasks, such as researching vehicles scheduled for service for the condition or anticipated equity situation and even contacting customers that meet your selection criteria, quickly become afterthoughts and enable your staff to focus on the more important part of the equity mining process — the sale. It’s what they are trained to do. Automation also means every customer that is eligible based on your parameters will be contacted for interest in trading their vehicle, eliminating any unqualified preconceived notions a salesperson may have about the customer.
2. Create Guardrails for Equity Offers
It is one thing to show a customer a national trade figure against their payoff, but it’s better to be realistic with them. Using local trade figures significantly reduces the friction if the trade allowance needs to change after a physical appraisal. Combining local data and controls for the dealer to configure what equity situation they wish to work is critical to setting the right expectations all around.
3. Give customers interactive offers.
Mailed offers are not interactive and neither are emails that just contain an attachment about the static mailed offer. They don’t enable a customer to adjust it based on their unique equity situation, interest rate, payment term preference, qualifying rebates, or changes to the model of the car they want to buy. When a customer sees an offer and monthly payment but knows their equity situation isn’t as luscious as the offer, they’re more likely to just close your offer than to look up calculators to recalculate their situation. Interactive offers eliminate the guesswork and enable customers to see the monthly payments on vehicles they’re interested in based on their equity situation and other preferences.
4. Deliver Accurate and Detailed Leads to Your Sales Team.
No one on either end of the deal enjoys blind sales calls. Salespeople who enter the conversation blindly have no idea what to expect, and customers are frustrated when salespeople don’t know where they stand in the process. Most dealerships value their CRM as the central point of reference for customer history and communications, and this is where dealership employees should work from. When using an equity mining solution, one that delivers the lead with a customer’s opted-in information directly to the CRM, they are comfortable using means higher accountability and a better experience for everyone involved.
Equity mining the service drive can be a mundane task that’s easy to push aside, but it can also deliver high-quality leads and is the best source of used inventory for your dealership. Automation changes the dynamic from cold-calling by salespeople to excited handraisers who want to talk to the dealership.
Alex Snyder is CEO and Co-Founder of FRIKINtech.