Service advisors see more customers in a week than many salespeople see in a month—without question, they are the public face of your dealership. And, when properly trained, your service advisors can bring in a steady stream of used vehicles to sell, customers to purchase units, and happy clients who frequent your service department.
These scripts and sales techniques, which I recommend to all my NCM 20 Group members, are a great start to transform you service advisors into sales professionals. Another way is to invest in training from the NCM Institute or arrange for an NCM consultant to present on-site training at your dealership.
1. Friendly meet and greet script
“Welcome to ______ (dealership name).”
Offer the customer a hand shake, and then offer a business card.
“My name is ______, and you are …? (let them answer) Thank you for coming in today. Are you here for an appointment?”
Ideally, you should promptly greet the customer, but if you can’t, at least nonverbally or verbally acknowledge the customer. If the customer has an appointment with another advisor, then go get that advisor. If the advisor is not immediately available, start the write-up process with the customer. Do not leave the customer hanging unattended and unacknowledged.
Once the customer has been properly greeted, verify the following information—or gather it for the first time—and add it to his/her contact file in your system:
- Customer Name
- Customer Cell Phone Number
- E-Mail Address
- Vehicle Identification Number
- Preferred Method of Communication (Phone, Text, Email)
2. Identify the customer’s primary needs
Next, a service advisor should determine the customer’s needs, using the LADDER technique:
- L: Look at the person speaking to you
- A: Ask questions
- D: Don’t interrupt
- D: Don’t change the subject
- E: Empathize
- R: Respond verbally and non-verbally
Keep the LADDER technique in mind while you use reporter-style questions to dig into the customer’s problem. Here are some sample questions using the “Six Ws”:
- What are the symptoms?
- Where do you notice the symptoms?
- When do you see the symptoms?
- How often do the symptoms occur?
- Who typically drives the vehicle?
- Why is the vehicle used? What for?
3. Restate concerns
Be mindful of the customer’s comments and show that they can trust you by restating their concerns. Be sure to confirm your understanding of the concerns. Assure the customer that all their worries and concerns will be addressed.
4. Perform a full circle vehicle walk-around
The walk-around does more than just identify problems; it helps build rapport and trust between the advisor and the customer. Here’s how to do a great walk-around:
- Find common ground with your customer. Engage in conversation about their children, bumper stickers, aftermarket wheels, etc.
- Discuss the condition of their vehicle.
- Inspect the vehicle—tire tread depth, wipers, vehicle damage, windshield condition, etc.
5. Build value in your dealer recommended maintenance program
- Get a maintenance guide into your customer’s hands.
- Explain that your maintenance program is set up based on the driving conditions in your area.
- Explain the benefits of your preferred customer maintenance guide.
- Point out recommended maintenance items due at different mileage intervals.
- Educate your customer about maintenance.
6. Offer a courtesy multi-point inspection
Make sure that the customer knows that the multi-point inspection is free. Then, explain what happens during the inspection and why it’s important.
7. Confirm final commitments
- Explain to the customer what you will be doing to the vehicle.
- Outline how much it is going to cost.
- Determine if the customer plans to wait for the vehicle or if you need to arrange a shuttle ride or rental car for them.
- Tell the customer when you plan to first contact them with an update. Verify their preferred contact method.
- Have the customer sign the write-up sheet for an estimated dollar amount and any damage on the vehicle; note that any “diagnostic charges” will be applied to the bill.
8. Follow up with the customer
- Using the “10 AM / 2 PM / 4 PM” method, set up a deadline by which to contact the customer and give the customer a copy of the write-up sheet. Then, direct them to the lounge or rental office.
- Present the multipoint inspection results.
- Contact the customer two times per day with any updates: the first when the inspection is complete, the second when the job is done.
- Set up a delivery appointment.
- Instruct the customer to see you to review their paperwork.
- Go over the repair order with the customer on the phone (tell them you would like to email them a copy).
9. Customer active delivery
- Review the customer’s completed paperwork including the multi-point inspection sheet.
- Review the customer satisfaction survey process.
Script: “You may be receiving a survey from (dealership name). It is my report card for how I did during your service visit today; it is vital to me. My goal is to provide all my customers with excellent service, so I would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes and fill it out and send it in.”
- Set future appointments in “lead results” (dates and times).
- Next appointment card (offer the customer another business card with their next appointment noted on the back).
- Escort or direct the customer to their vehicle.
10. 24/48 follow up with the inspection lead results
- Inquire about the customer’s most recent service experience.
- Ask how their vehicle is doing since service.
- Thank them for doing business with you.
- Remind them to send in the customer satisfaction survey.
Learn more from Mark and the other NCM moderators by joining an NCM 20 Group. NCM also offers manager 20 Groups where your team can gather industry best practices from peers and have a forum to voice new ideas and implement strategies to better your business.