How Dealerships Can Capitalize on Winterizing Vehicles

October 19, 2018 mindgruve

Increase Your Dealership Revenues

In most of North America, winter means tougher driving conditions. That makes vehicle winterization a big opportunity for dealerships to drive service revenues and generate sales opportunities simultaneously.

For dealerships that are effective in managing customer relationships, winterization means not only a revenue-generating service visit, but a “sales and service” visit. It’s a touchpoint where predictive analytics and scoring can prepare sales staff with necessary information, not only to solidify the relationship with existing customers but to turn service-only customers into return customers.

Here are a few ways to get new and existing customers in the service entrance this autumn, before the snow starts to fall:

Vehicle Safety

Safety is top of mind for drivers in the winter. While it’s not a new idea, be sure to offer a free “winter safety inspection” for both existing and new customers. The average driver almost certainly falls within the, “We can get this done now and save you a visit next month” window for some form of service, even if it’s only for filters or fluids. These are also visits that are likely to identify existing or potential issues with brakes and suspension systems, giving service staff the opportunity to have, “How much longer do you plan on driving this car?” discussions with owners that can inform sales outreach either onsite or through follow-up messaging.

Long-Interval Car Checkup

A pre-winter checkup is an excellent time to get existing customers in the door for long-interval service visits. While many consumers are comfortable going to a third-party service provider for oil and tire service, they’re still more likely to come to the dealership for more elaborate service needs. This is a good time to check for customers coming up on service intervals in the 12,000-50,000 (or more) mile range for services such as coolant flushes, fuel and air filters, batteries, hoses, alignments, timing chains, spark plugs or transmission, brake and steering fluids. These visits also provide excellent insights for sales prospect identification.

Wiper Blades

Wiper blades are a big winter-related opportunity to make a visible difference in your customer’s day. Most drivers change them far too infrequently and dislike the hassle of purchasing and installing them (if they even know how). While time guarantees are a common feature of the oil change service visit, the ease with which wiper blades can be swapped creates an opportunity for dealerships to offer something along the lines of a ‘cup of coffee wiper blade change,’ promising new blades in the time it takes the customer to have a cup of coffee – and a quick chat with a friendly salesperson, strengthening the customer relationship.

Car Safety Kits

Virtually every government and disaster organization recommends that drivers in cold winter environments pack a car safety kit in the event of an emergency. This provides an excellent opportunity for a dealership to partner with a local nonprofit to sell winter automotive safety kits to customers, bringing new conquest prospects in the door and generating positive publicity for the dealership thanks to the charitable connection. For example, the American Red Cross offers a “Winter Auto Survival Kit” for $41.99, with bulk discounts available. Selling them at cost and positioning it as a charity fundraiser also provides a touchpoint for relationship marketing to existing customers.

Predictive Marketing 

By having predictive analytics in place your sales team can seamlessly work with your service team to know what the score/likelihood is that a customer is ready to buy in the near future. Additionally, this allows both teams to understand the consumer’s needs and preferences, based on previous interactions, which makes all touchpoints personalized.

Every touchpoint with a consumer is an opportunity to learn more about them and their vehicle, giving you more insight into how to create the best customer service that leads to loyal, repeat customers. When the days start getting shorter and the winds get colder, there’s no better time to turn to your service department as a source of new consumer interactions to heat up your sales.

How Can automotiveMastermind Help? 

Do you have any questions about how your dealership can capitalize on customers winterizing their vehicles? Contact us today. Our vision is to radically transform the traditional consumer purchase journey

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