Darrell Golden: Champion of service menu selling


When Darrell Golden became service manager for multiline dealer Midland Powersports in Midland, Texas, the most common complaint among customers was that they couldn’t get fast, same-day service. He solved this problem in 2007 by borrowing a sales tool from his days of being a Chevrolet dealer in the 1970s: menu selling. Today the dealership can guarantee that any unit brought in by 3 p.m. for a menu service will leave that day.

“I actually took the menus we used as a GM dealer and converted them into the motorcycle industry,” Golden says. Each menu is for a certain vehicle make combined with either a model or a vehicle type. Examples of menu titles include Honda Gold Wing, Kawasaki Streetbike, Polaris Ranger, Suzuki ATV and Yamaha Cruiser. The store does not work on any model years before 1990.

Each one-page menu consists of a grid of boxes with or without X’s in them. The grid’s main columns are the mileages at which the vehicle should be serviced according to the factory. These columns are further broken down by the words “Inspect,” “Lubricate,” “Adjust” and “Replace.” It’s these labels that are atop the aforesaid boxes. The rows of the grid vary. For example:

• For the Kawasaki Streetbike menu, 31 specific service items are divided among nine master categories such as Engine, Cooling System and Fuel System.
• The bottom row is labeled “Total Parts & Labor,” indicating the total service cost at each mileage. For example, the Kawasaki Streetbike menu has such pairings as: 600 miles/$237, 4,000 miles/$237, 8,000 miles/$395 and 12,000 miles/$219.

“The customer knows exactly what he’s getting and exactly what he’s going to pay,” Golden says. “There are no surprises when he comes to pay his bill.” In addition, Midland Powersports advertises flat rates for all fast-service-type items like tire and oil changes.

Every factory service menu is on the computer, and Golden updates pricing about once per year. The store offers all bike owners 10 percent off their first 600-mile service. It also runs specials throughout the year for other-mileage services, such as a percentage off or free nitrogen fill-ups.

Technicians write on the back of a menu everything they find during the service, and customers receive the report with their receipt.

Midland Powersports’ service advisors promote the menus through a set procedure. “It’s the same system every time,” Golden explains. “We let customers tell us what’s wrong, we assess what it is they want done, and we decide if a menu will do everything they want. Then we sell them the menu. We always say, ‘Do you want to do the factory service, or do you have something else in mind?’”

Intrigued? Golden welcomes you to call him for advice. “I have never once refused to help a dealer who wants to know about it,” he says. Golden once helped a Florida dealer who later reported back that his menus accounted for more than 68 percent of his customer-paid labor-and-parts sales for the previous month.

This story originally appeared in the Dealernews June 2011 issue.