Get used-car owners into service dept.

Are you having trouble getting your used-car customers to bring their vehicles into your service department? Do you feel you are missing a large segment of potential business, due to concentrating all of your efforts on new vehicle customers? Do you feel you need some type of discount or incentive to get your used car customers back into your dealership for service work?

Try the Preferred Customer Savings Card.

Mail each customer who purchases a used vehicle a card for discounts on oil changes. The first trip gets them a $5 discount, second a $10 discount, and the third is free. Establish a service relationship with the customer with no up-sell the first few visits. Make them feel comfortable with you. By the third trip in with the free oil change you will be able to sell them some other necessary repairs as per maintenance schedules. Be sure to schedule your customers' oil changes every 3,000 miles.

Protect net profit and conserve cash

Are you interested in protecting net profit for the dealership and at the same time conserving cash?

Analyze the value of the internal repair order to your business on a cash basis. Compare your internal repair order at retail price vs. the outside vendor invoice.

You will find that your cost, or in other words, your cash out of the store for an internal repair at retail price of $300 is $120 to cost of sales. Your cash disbursement to the outside vendor for the same repair is $170. The additional profit to the store that you are protecting is $130 and you have $50 less cash going out of the store. Try this exercise with some of your outside vendor invoices.

Used-car appraisal log is a simple tool

For used-car managers: In our busy retail environment, do you find yourself wondering what happened to some of those great trades that you appraised?

Consider putting a practice in place to help you focus on this profitable dilemma. During the weekend, you appraised two trades that you expected to be on the lot this week. Where are they? An appraisal log is a simple tool that, with follow up, will improve performance.

The idea is to organize a simple clipboard log that would list criteria you find important, such as date, model, ACV, salesperson, manager, weather. You can identify your own criteria. Each week the sales managers should get together and identify what reason the sale did not come together. Was there any under- or over-appraisal made? Was this the right vehicle to stretch on? Are we banking trades that we should not be?

Some of the trade criteria should go into a follow up process. Managers can call and follow up with customers on a reappraisal basis to make another attempt at developing another customer.

Money-making minutes is provided by NCM Associates in conjunction with the Automotive Satellite Television Network (ASTN).