Selling PPM in the Service Drive

By: Ryan Williams

Selling PPM in the Service Drive

For years our industry has been attempting to sell pre-paid maintenance, VSC, paint protection or any variety of products in the service drive without much success. I think that the majority of us would agree on five fundamentals that make this notion too difficult to overcome.

1. Time: Service consultants are very busy, and need to add very little to their already stressful process. If they do, it needs to be quick and fall into line with their existing process to ensure success.

Having the capability to add a maintenance plan to the customer’s order, and instantly redeem one or two of the services that are already on the customer’s bill, will show value, save them money and increase the chances of seeing them in the drive in the future.

2. Compensation: Packing in a reasonable spiff into each contract more often that not makes the retail contract price too expensive and less valuable for the customer.

Any good service consultant or employee is going to work their pay plan. A few of the top 100 stores in the country use the same best practice in this regard. Rather than adding the spiff to the contract price, the consultant commission is paid out of the total service department gross. This amount ranges from $10 to $50 per policy sold. Some of my top-performing service consultants are averaging about 80 policies per month to customers that are already walking in the door. And with a good pay plan they can increase their pay by a significant percentages.

3. Process: The offering must fit squarely with a dealers motives and overall customer retention strategy. You must have complete dealer buy-in as you do in any other program.

This means they must have a retention strategy to begin with. If they don’t know how much money they are leaving on the table and don’t have a clear plan to improve it, this strategy will fail. Many dealers we do business with prefer to go the reinsurance route. This is a slightly different overall cost structure, but when then see the additional benefits of adding another 50 to 200 policies per month into their company, they tend to buy in much quicker.

4. Teamwork: Make sure the service manager develops the program with the writers involved, and that all pay plans include service drive contracts.

Too often, service departments are given a program that they had little to no input in, and are told to sell it or else. Well, guess what? They won’t. If the reimbursement levels aren’t enough, if the packages don’t make sense to them or if they themselves don’t see value in it to buy one on their own, it will not sell. I have found that when it is their program, their pricing and tied to all other pay, you will see immediate success that will last for years.

5. Software: DMS-integrated software must track all metrics and holds them accountable.

Our industry has done a great job with F&I menus, tracking PVR and product sales, but has fallen short in the service lane. My dealers all use an integrated software program that tracks the upsell of each consultant to ensure they aren’t just giving everything away, as well as how often the customers are coming back to the drive. It will rank each adviser against the other in performance, just like in F&I, and creates a terrific competitive environment with accountability.

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- has written 1 posts on Agent Entrepreneur.

Ryan Williams in the executive vice president of Fidelis Systems. For the past 18 years he has worked in this industry, while still finding time to get married, have two children and two dogs, and occasionally get out to the golf corse or go cycling. To contact him, email ryanw@fidelissys.com.

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