KOSHOLLEK: Sales key driver of a good Service dept.

Publish Date: 
Feb 14, 2012
By Rod Stuckey

Most of you know Dave Koshollek as a veteran columnist with Dealernews and a long-time instructor at Harley-Davidson University. This year Dealership University recruited Koshollek for a series of seminars on parts and service management to be hosted at the 2012 Dealer Expo and American V-Twin Dealer Show.

DU's Rod Stuckey talked with Koshollek in the weeks leading up to the big INDY event on the new issues facing today's Service Department.

Stuckey: Why is having a sales process so important to the service department?
Koshollek: Because Service is also about selling — the parts to complete the repairs, the accessories that make the motorcycle better, and service plans like prepaid service that aren’t just good for the customer, but good for the dealership. Most of us know that a good Service department develops a strong dealership reputation.

Most folks in Service that I’ve been teaching — people in Service for the last, probably, 25 years — think sales is a dirty word. I’ve come up with some good ways to help them realize that sales is really customer service, and the better job you do serving the customer, the more sales you’re going to be able to take. If you have a process to identify service needs and to enhance the things that the customers want to do with the bike, and you get used to using that process, you’re going to be more successful.

What are some common challenges dealers face when implementing a sales process in the service department?
Koshollek: The first one is getting the Service personnel to buy-in on the idea. I know in Service classes I’ve taught, if you bring out that word sales a little bit too soon in the class, they start to push back. Sales isn’t what they want to do.

The next challenge is changing those behaviors. They are used to doing it one way — in some cases, for years and years and years. I find when I’m teaching folks that the shorter the amount of time that they have working in the dealership, the easier it is to change the behavior, because they haven’t locked in, yet.

The last challenge is making it stick. They have to leave the classroom and think, “Okay, this is a good deal; I’ve got some ideas of what I’m going to do.”

One of my recommendations is that the service managers need to get into a routine of holding a Service Department meeting at least once a week and dedicate at least five minutes to the sales process or the customer service process.

What are some things that Service can do to improve sales?
Koshollek: When you’re selling time, the first thing is to keep productivity high and make the efficiency even higher. With productivity, you’re going to have no-shows and things that you can’t control. You need to have back-up work such as refurbishing used bikes or pre-accessorizing new bikes.