A marathon, not a sprint

05 December 2014

Whilst many have tried to create a selling philosophy in aftersales, most are still in the starting blocks, and those that have started the race don’t realise that they are in a marathon that will take them at least 5 years to make it cultural.

A marathon, not a sprint

Most dealers and manufacturers now recognise that having a strategy for retaining and selling more to aftersales customers is essential. The tools are well known: sell service plans in order to ensure that customers return to you, then use a VHC process to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to supply the customers you have.

Where many fail is that they think that merely having those products available will result in increased retention and more upsell. It won’t.

A recent poll amongst senior managers of a top 10 motor group revealed that 75% of them did not believe that personal targets were necessary for front line aftersales staff. That same group wouldn’t dream of putting cars in a showroom and expecting them to be sold profitably without a sales culture, measures or incentives. Conversely the same group targets technicians on efficiency. This is a bizarre situation!

Selling in aftersales should be treated just like selling in sales. Unless senior management are committed, then the culture will never change. Implementing this change in culture has to come from the top of the organisation.

It is therefore vital that the Service Manager leads the team in ensuring that selling in aftersales becomes part of the culture.

The process for the selling of service plans needs to be written, understood and practised. Plans must be presented and explained to every customer following the documented process.

The VHC process should similarly be documented and followed with each customer, ensuring that the vehicle is checked, work priced up, parts checked for availability and the customer is contacted within 45 minutes of the car entering the workshop.

Staff must understand the importance of selling the value of the services they offer rather than just quoting prices; and the Service Manager needs to play a vital part by coaching his or her team in order to improve their techniques.

Front line staff need targets for both activity and sales, and coaching on sales techniques to maximise their productivity. Just as in car sales, visual performance management should be utilised, using white boards to share colleagues’ performance. It works! It is motivational!

Above all, reward mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure that good performance is recognised financially, to keep the “flywheel” turning.

The process of establishing a true performance culture can be a lengthy one. Ultimately it could take up to 5 years to establish a true selling culture. The sooner you start, the sooner you will reap the rewards.

Coachworks specialises in accelerating the creation of a selling culture in the aftersales environment. For further information please contact Ella Rolph on 01335 324325 or Ella@coachworks-consulting.com

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