Are you having your best Fixed Operations year ever or at least one of your best years? You should be. Think about it. If people are not buying new cars then they are keeping the ones that they have, putting more miles on them, needing more services, needing bigger repairs and looking for someone to help them with both.There is no doubt that the past year has been very tough on the auto industry. I understand that when auto sales are down the manufacturers have to do everything they can to turn it around, and so far, I would give the effort shown a C+ to B-.What I do not understand, is if everyone knows and agrees that Fixed Operations is the true backbone of the Car Dealer and one of the few places left where a substantial profit can be made and it is where true customer retention is gained, then why is no one doing anything with Fixed Operations on a large scale to grow that side of the business?Now would be the time to mount an effort to take on the aftermarket sector and win back the millions of customers who do business with them. Now would be the time to reevaluate how Service Departments are run and eliminate old practices that have never worked and replace them with those that do. Now would be the time to create a training and certification program for all who work in key roles in Fixed Operations to insure a consistent level of competence throughout Dealerships nationwide. Now would be the time to create ad campaigns that advertise the benefits of doing service business with your local Dealer. Now would be the time to teach your staffs how to flat-out sell. Why wouldn’t manufacturers do these types of things when most of the top 10 to 15% of the most profitable Dealerships do part or all of these items?The sad news is that no one is doing any of this and to the best of my knowledge, I know of no one planning to do any of it on a large scale. As a matter of fact, I have been in contact with several manufacturers recently and not one of them has plans that would do any of what I have described above. Instead, they seem to be intent on doing the same thing they have done for years – work to get vehicle sales to return, sell a lot of vehicles to a lot of people and hope they come back for a lot of service.You can go along with this plan (or non-plan) if you choose and history tells us things will eventually turn around and you will have another 8 to 10 year run before a sad economy zaps you again. Or, you can do like the top 10 to 15% of the Dealerships and take the mission on yourself.It is clear, you have a few options to combat what is going on and to stop and change forever your future path. Your options are:
I would be willing to bet that the many of the Dealers who were recently forced to close would love to have these options. I would also bet that if they had it to do over they would select one of the first four.
About the author: Jeff Cowan, in his 29th year of training, is recognized as the creator of the modern-day, walk-around and selling processes for service departments. You can see him on a weekly broadcast of CBT News and read many of his published articles on various automotive publications. Currently partnered with NADA, EasyCare, NCM, Marellen, and other vendors and manufacturers, Jeff is the nation’s authority when it comes to training service advisors and service support staff. Visit his website at AutomotiveServiceTraining.com get info on On-Site Training, Public and Private Workshops, NEW DVD Training Program, Webinars, and a FREE trial of Virtual Training! For more great tips and advice, follow Jeff on Twitter at@JCowansProTalk. He’s also on Facebook, and Google+. You can also watch Jeff Cowan’s videos on YouTube!