Driving Retention

Fixed Ops
6 min read

Teamwork Makes Your Service Lane Work for You

Dealerships can increase their service to sales units by integrating a sales procedure into their service lane and training service advisors to approach potential sales in a non-intrusive, honest manner...
Image of three business people silhouettes on a mountain top with arms raised in victory.
Written by
Mike Gorun
Published on
August 10, 2019

Sales and service have always butted heads, but that’s only because most dealerships don’t operate as a cohesive unit, but rather as two entities. The solution? Introduce your sales team to the service lane.

Your dealership is probably spending about $5,800 per month on sales-related software, with over 90 percent dedicated to showroom or internet sales. The average dealer spends $28,000 per month on advertising. Yet, many dealers allocate less than 5 percent to their service department.

Why is this, if the average profit per vehicle in service is almost 20 percent higher than walk-in and internet sales Because the typical service customer doesn’t come prepared to buy. This means they haven’t had time to research your prices and all 24 touchpoints consumers supposedly visit!

So, why does the average dealer lack dedicated sales professionals for the service lane?

Every dealer is going to earn sales from their service drive. However, it’s important you don’t hone in on how many service lane sales your store generates every month. Instead, shift your focus to sales you could have made, but fell short on.

The main challenges when selling in the service lane are customers and procedures. Integrating a sales procedure into your service lane can be simple. But it must be tailored to service customers. Simply throwing a salesperson into the service drive, saying “Go get ‘em, Tiger!” will only alienate your service customers and cost you money.

Moreover, every service customer you succeed at selling a car to is a repair order your service team doesn’t gain a commission on.

Start encouraging teamwork, and get the results you want.

Get your service advisors involved in sales by including them in your sales meetings. Start training and preparing them for bringing prime sales candidates to your attention, like that customer presented with a $3,000 repair estimate.

You might find that suddenly, there is less friction and more teamwork between sales and service.

Be strategic when assigning advisors to selling in the service lane.  

Customer service is all about how you approach a protentional sale. Service customers are willing to listen, but they don’t want to feel harassed. The salesperson who propositions the customer in a non-intrusive, honest manner can avoid alienating service customers. This approach allows customers to let go of any reservations, and consider an advisor’s proposal.

Secondly, the seller should be educated on and prepared for the customers booked for the following day. By reviewing past service appointments, they can identify customers who are great candidates for a new vehicle. Have value propositions in mind for when they arrive.

So, what’s the point?

Without a good service sales procedure in place, most dealerships are missing out on additional sales opportunities. So, gather the troops, have a heart to heart, and get everyone on the same page. Train the best ‘soft-sell’ sales candidates you have to handle service customers, and assign them to the service lane. You’ll find that your service to sales units increase, while holding quality profit. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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