Amid ongoing inventory shortages throughout the auto industry, it’s easy to understand why dealers are looking for new ways to continuously generate revenue, especially as these shortages are expected to continue into at least late 2023 — and possibly even early 2024, according S&P Global Mobility.
With both new and used vehicles harder to come by, many auto dealers are looking to their service drive to achieve sustainable success in 2022. For proactive auto dealers, the dealership service department plays two critical roles:
How Can Dealers Drive More Traffic to the Service Department?
To help your service department become a key focus of your dealership’s efforts to attract new customers and retain loyal buyers, dealers need to adopt data-driven service marketing strategies for their car dealership service drive, including:
1. Predictive Marketing for Service Success
With inventory challenges expected to linger, dealerships of all sizes should be focusing on long-term solutions — on top of capitalizing on low-hanging fruit — when it comes to marketing the service drive. Advanced predictive marketing tools like Mastermind aid teams in keeping up with the constantly evolving world of automotive retail. These digital resources empower teams at dealerships to identify and predict which of their customers are the best prospects for their products or services; from there, they can ultimately be targeted with marketing materials.
Today, the challenge for marketers is no longer getting data on prospects. Rather, the challenge is that there’s so much data available that it’s long past the ability of any human to absorb, digest, and make informed decisions from. That’s where analysis-based marketing comes into play, powered by AI-based analytics tools that can digest massive amounts of data. These tools identify patterns and traits that would be indistinguishable by humans and, ultimately, deliver actionable projections and suggestions. For instance, Mastermind’s predictive marketing dealership solutions are powered in part by S&P Global Mobility demographic data from 197 million households, three billion ownership records and more than 650 million vehicle records.
When it comes time to identify the best prospects for service department offers, your team isn’t opening the database of 197 million owners — or even two or three million owners in a metro area. Rather, your dealership is being presented with a ranked list of the prospects within your service radius who are most likely to be open to that specific offer.
Presented as a simple 0-100 ranking, Mastermind’s Behavior Prediction Score® distills data from a dealership’s CRM and DMS, as well as insights from S&P Global Mobility and a variety of other public and proprietary data sets that have information relevant to automotive consumer behavior.
2. Ensuring Customer Connection
We’ve talked before about car dealership digital marketing best practices: from what you say, to how you say it, and where you deliver it to your audience. Making this even more complicated is the speed in which the automotive shopping experience, dealership marketing landscape, and customer expectations are changing.
In fact, S&P Global Mobility states that brand loyalty among U.S. consumers for new vehicles dropped to an eight-year low in June 2022. Coupled with ongoing inventory shortages and increased competition from online-only retailers, dealers are under more pressure than ever to engage and retain customers.
In the end, the success of your dealership’s marketing efforts comes down to whether you know enough about your prospective customers. You should be able to connect with them in the most appropriate and effective way. This means asking yourself questions like: “Are they more likely to engage with print materials mailed to their home, to social media advertising, video content, email outreach, or even a phone call?”
3. Sell the Meaning of Service
It’s a question as old as auto dealers: How do you sell your automotive service to customers?
Aside from ensuring your team is doing service walks and introducing service writers to potential buyers, the best way to generate additional revenue in the drive is to sell the meaning of service. This method is preferred over making the common mistake of trying to sell its features as a whole.
Yes, you need to share what your service drive will do for your customers’ vehicles; but, more importantly, you need to make them want the benefits of those services.
Download the Cheat Cheat:
5-Steps to Marketing with Low or No Inventory
In marketing terms, that’s known as “Features-Benefits-Meaning” or “Features-Benefits-Value” marketing. While it might seem like an unusual way to think about your dealer’s marketing, it’s something you can do very easily by asking yourself why a customer should care about what you’re offering, then leading with that best foot forward.
It’s also important to keep it simple. Research from the Corporate Executive Board shows that in the crowded, information-dense environment in which we live, consumers value dealership marketing support that is simple and easy to understand.
Here’s a quick example of how to market your dealership’s service department:
In this example, many dealers would lead with “Free 25-point inspection” as the headline on the mailer or advertisement in a feature-first model. Consider how much more powerful a mailer would be that combined predictive marketing with a meaning-first message to connect with a headline along the lines of, “FREE: Peace of mind to keep your 2014 Ford Explorer on the road for years to come.”
4. Continuously Monitor Your Marketing Efforts
Finally, to improve their service drive marketing, many dealers need to formally assess what high-performing marketing looks like at their dealership. Additionally, the entire dealership, from the general manager to the service advisors, and even the porters, should understand their role in the process to support your service marketing efforts.
Every successful process you implement needs to be measured against expectations. Of course, no two dealerships are the same and the goals of some dealerships may differ from others. From the beginning, set SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound — goals for your service department marketing efforts.
To determine the goals for your team, it’s important for dealers to assess their current process in every way possible. Start by asking questions like how many ROs (Reports-of-Sale) you have monthly and the total number of phone calls and emails your service team is generating. Looking at these sort of key performance indicators, outside of just your sales number, is key to measuring your success and refining your future efforts.
Download the Guide:
30-Question Quiz for Maximizing Revenue in the Service Drive
Want to learn how Mastermind can help your dealership drive more traffic to your service drive? Contact us for a free demo.