For Parts, Think Retention

TALENTStream’s Liz Clarke tells us that to sell parts you first need to find the cars that need them. Liz shares some ideas with you.

It always used to amaze me when parts departments were expected to drive increased sales by themselves. As if they had some magic wand and could materialise cars to fit them to out of thin air.
The truth is that you can only sell parts if you have the cars to fit them to. If you think that Trade Sales are what is going to give you the lift in Parts Sales you need, then be prepared to see your retail service hours drop as someone else is fitting those parts to the car. I’m not telling you take your vans off the road, but I am saying you have to do everything you can to keep those parts and fit them at home in your dealership.

The key, as ever, is to retain your customers in every way you can. Firstly, instead of a single service reminder, think about developing a “conversation” with your customer throughout the year with a mix of media. STOP. I know you’re now thinking of e-campaigns and automation. DON’T. Every customer is worth thousands of pounds of profit through every ownership cycle. Knowing that, how long are you prepared to spend to ensure you get it? If you want to retain your customer, invest in the “conversation”. We can show you how to do it in just 9 contacts over 3 years achieving retention rates of 67% or more.

Because networks are eternally seeking the shortcut, the automated solution, the magic bullet, retention rates have slipped and are slipping further. Retention tools have become the new mantra with the “Service Plan” being king among them. Of course the tool will only work when it is sold and the problem is everyone in your business is trying to sell them at the same time. Soon it will be more annoying then the “Go Compare” guy on TV. Yes, make sure every opportunity is taken, but make sure it is offered in the right way, at the right time by the right player. Saturation selling works for only a short time. If Service Plans are to reach their full potential for you and increase retention and sales of hours and parts, you have to do it right.

We all know that the older car needs more parts and hours but few of us are very good at retaining the older parc. Firstly, involve your Used Car team in introducing the service department and booking a first service, seasonal or 1000 mile free check at the point of sale of a Used vehicle. Then think about a 3-5 year fitted parts programme to attract and keep the older car. Also think about ways to follow the car as it moves from being sold in the network to being sold privately or through Used Car dealers and Superstores. Initiatives such as “Free MOT” promoted on a sticker under the bonnet can bring people back to you so you can work you magic and retain them in your world of service.

I come back to the fact that you can only sell parts if you have the cars to fit them to and you make more money if you fit them in your dealership. If you agree, then you’ll also agree that retention is king. Talk to us about winning strategies for retention and increased sales of service and parts.
For more information, contact Liz at TALENTStream.

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