Make your plans now for winter service specials

Publish Date: 
Jul 24, 2013
By Dave Koshollek

AUGUST IS THE TIME to nail down your service marketing plans for the upcoming winter season.

That may seem odd if you’re currently running at full speed to keep up with summer demand, but waiting for frosty balls to arrive is a sure way to shoot your winter service revenue in the butt.

Limit service specials to no more than 30 days to create a sense of urgency.

Determine your typical service traffic by month. Identify when traffic falls off dramatically (first snowfall) or changes substantially (SxSs and hunting season), when the service department is deader than a sulfated battery, and when the spring season starts the madness rolling again. There’s no universal calendar that fits all dealerships.

Marketing gets customers into the store. Superb customer service skills and exciting, interactive displays convert browsers into buyers.

You must consider winter vehicle storage if you live where the snow flies. You have the vehicle in your possession and plenty of time to look it over and upsell the owner on service needs and vehicle enhancements, and then you can schedule the work to suit your service flow.

No room to store vehicles? Then lease the space. That’s what House of Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee does. The store keeps about 100 bikes at the dealership and stores another few hundred down the road at a warehouse. Business was so good last season that Keith Lewis, the service manager, hired three new techs in the middle of winter, along with keeping the original team from the previous summer.

Start marketing your winter storage program about three weeks before the expected end of the riding season. Create fliers for the store, send email blasts, put the info on Facebook and on your website. Prepare a script for phone, text and email inquiries that includes benefits, pricing and minimum dollar amount where customers can receive free storage. Experience tells me at least 50 percent of storage customers spend more to hit the minimum to get the free storage. That gives you plenty of work to keep the shop buzzing. (Continued)