Are You Limiting Fixed Ops?

Fixed Ops. The last 18 months in automotive have put this often underappreciated channel under a magnifying glass. Instead of allowing Fixed Ops to run on autopilot quietly generating revenue, you may be one of the many dealers who are now shining a spotlight on your parts and service business.

If you have actively invested more time, strategy and resources in your fixed ops offerings, then kudos to you. If you have yet to shine a light on your dealership’s fixed ops, then I would ask that you consider doing so. This is a critical part of your business that can not only cover operating expenses for your dealership but also add to your bottom line if optimized for success.

In either scenario, there is a chance you are still setting self-imposed limits on just how successful your fixed ops business can be. Read on for 3 ways you may be setting the bar too low.

1. Limiting Yourself

Too often we limit ourselves to what’s most easily available. When it comes to service, we tend to look at the current customers in our database due for a maintenance milestone or customers who have said “yes” to ROs beyond the warranty or recall.

We know from the numbers that there is a wealth of opportunity out there with true customer pay work. It’s available with your recent service customers. It’s available with customers who have bought but never serviced with you. And it’s available with car owners who didn’t even buy their car from your dealership.

There are tools available to help you widen your net and reach real service customers who are actively doing repair work in your direct vicinity. Geotargeting allows you to deliver location-based content and relevant marketing to these service customers. At Client Command® we help our service marketing partners drive more revenue through their service lane with this solution and others.

2. Failing to Invest in Marketing

If you build it, they will come. But, will they really? Anyone who’s purchased a car from a new dealership likely knows there’s a service center. Hopefully, your top-notch sales people walk new buyers over to your service center and introduce them to the service manager or concierge as part of their purchase journey. But what’s being done once they drive off the lot? And what’s being done to attract net new service customers to your bays?

Marketing your service center, pricing and amenities drives two key things: awareness and approachability. Service technicians at dealerships are seen as highly-qualified – often even more qualified than the local service center around the corner. But, there is also a perception that service work at a franchise dealership costs more and takes longer to complete.

Building awareness through marketing and breaking down those consumer perceived barriers makes your service center more approachable, and therefore, a contender the next time a service customer needs to service their vehicle. Investing in marketing also works to build and increase the lifetime value of new and repeat customers further positioning your dealership for long-term success.

3. Increasing a Goal and Not Resourcing Against It

Okay, so now you’re shining a light on your fixed ops offerings through marketing. You’ve put dedicated media dollars behind it to drive awareness among car owners. It’s time to focus on resourcing this side of the business.

Imagine if your service marketing drove 100 more RO’s per month. Could sound like a stretch with your current tech and space capabilities. But that’s only about four additional RO’s per day, which is likely manageable in most service centers. Increasing the number of ROs drives revenue and profits that often result in incremental growth. Earmark a percentage of that growth to re-invest in your service techs and customer experience. A small investment can add hundreds of thousands more per year and make your dealership more attractive to service technicians. Everyone wants to be part of a growing team.

From there you can do a review of your online and physical experience and make sure it is user-friendly and clean. Envision the growth you want to see and begin taking the steps possible to make that a reality, just as you have done on your sales side of the business.

Wrapping It Up

Your fixed ops department is ready to be in the spotlight. Remove your self-imposed limits, set a goal and invest in location-based marketing to relevant prospects and drive more customer-pay ROs for your service center. Your bottom line will appreciate it.

Advanced Dealer Solutions October Newsletter

As we enter the final quarter of this historic year, it is clear many questions remain heading into 2022. Inventory shortages still lead the conversations we are having with dealers. When will inventory levels return? What is going to happen with used car values? Will staffing issues subside? No one has a crystal ball, so we are left guessing to come up with the answers to those questions. The one thing we know for sure is our dealers will continue to thrive. 

Over the next, 3-months dealers across the country will be finalizing their business plans for next year. This year’s incredible performance should raise expectations and we look forward to the challenge of continuing the record-breaking performances we have been a part of this past year. 

This month we feature an organization that is near and dear to our hearts – Breast Cancer Awareness and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. Please click the link below to find out more ways to help raise awareness. Far too many families are affected by this terrible disease, and we hope to help spread their message. 

We welcome any feedback and will seek to continually improve with each issue. It is through this ongoing experiment that we look to gain more knowledge, insight, and ideas that we will pass along to our current and future dealers.

To read the full newsletter and subscribe follow the link below.

Inside The Mind Of A Generation Z Consumer

Generation Z, also known as zoomers, who include people born between 1997 and 2021, are the most informed customers in history. Education levels are on track to be the highest we have ever seen, high school dropout percentages are low, college enrollment rates are up, literacy rates have skyrocketed over the world, and IQ scores have been on an uprise since the 20th century. With all the information available to them, Gen Z has the chance to disrupt the industry by the way they make decisions.

Generation Z uses search engines and social networks to research every buying detail possible. After they do their online research, they open up the questions to their personal network to gauge opinions from their peers. They have been and will continue to be a buying by committee generation. Gen Z wants to confirm they are making the smartest purchase possible, and they do this by utilizing technology and consensus. From an early age, they have been taught to ‘Google it’ which has led to a generation with a plethora of information and the ability to create an opinion of a product or service within 5 minutes.

Buying behavior is much more thought out than it used to be. Knowing who is shopping for a car early in the information stage of buying is critical. Mass marketing your message blindly to a huge audience is a thing of the past. Dealers need to harness the power of technology and learn how to target active shoppers. Getting a Gen Z customer in the door first is critical. Being able to tell your story and speak about your “Why Buy Here” is a great opportunity to win that consumer’s business.

Automotive marketing has seen many new and innovative companies in the past few years. The leader of technology is hands down Client Command. They identify active shoppers as early as 24 hours into the buyers’ online journey by using artificial intelligence. What also sets them apart is they have legal permission to market directly to customers who have never shared their permissible data with your dealership. This technology will absolutely crush your primary marketing area and create reoccurring customers.

Giving a younger consumer a great car buying experience the first or second time they purchase a car is critical. If they love their experience, it has the potential to create loyalty to your dealership that could last a lifetime.

Written by Michael Sabol, Marketing/Business Development Coordinator.

Advanced Dealer Solutions September Newsletter

As summer unofficially draws to a close with the passing of Labor Day, we turn our attention to fall and its many splendors. Before we do, let us call attention to the summer of 2021 and how incredible it has been for our industry. Despite the many calls for sales to run dry due to inventory shortages, the surge of the Delta variant, staffing issues, etc. our dealers have continued to find a way to thrive amidst all the volatility. Additionally, the summer of 2021 saw many families and individuals hit the road for new adventures and exploration. 

We welcome any feedback and will seek to continually improve with each issue. It is through this ongoing experiment that we look to gain more knowledge, insight, and ideas that we will pass along to our current and future clients.

To read the full newsletter and subscribe follow the link below.

Advanced Dealer Solutions August Newsletter

In this month’s issue of The Advanced News, we feature a way to support the athletes who represent the USA at the Olympics and Paralympics, a way for Dealers to gain control of all their F&I products, and we get to learn more about one of our own, Chad Bullock.

The Dog Days of Summer are fully upon us. For many of us, this summer has marked a return to normal life and the long lines at airports are proof that Americans are getting back on the road. With the Summer Solstice and 4th of July in the rearview mirror, many families are wrapping up their summer vacation schedules and are preparing for kids to go back to school. We hope everyone had an adventurous and safe summer of family time, relaxation, and a bit of exploration. 

We welcome any feedback and will seek to continually improve with each issue. It is through this ongoing experiment that we look to gain more knowledge, insight, and ideas that we will pass along to our current and future clients.

To read the full newsletter and subscribe follow the link below.

Advanced Dealer Solutions Welcomes Buddy Nelson

Richfield, OhioAdvanced Dealer Solutions is proud to welcome Buddy Nelson as Account Specialist.

Buddy received his finance degree in December of 2020 from Elmhurst College.  While completing his degree, Buddy played soccer, completed an internship with a major administration company, and worked at the largest volume Kia dealership in Illinois.

“Some of Buddy’s best attributes is his personable skills and willingness to learn quickly which fits right in with the culture we have at ADS. Buddy will be a tremendous benefit to our dealers. “– says Bob Mancuso – President of Advanced Dealer Solutions.

“I am thrilled to be a part of such a great team. I look forward to learning and growing into my new role. I believe my personality and charisma will be a great fit for the ADS culture.”  – says Buddy Nelson – Account Specialist of Advanced Dealer Solutions.

“It is remarkable how much industry experience Buddy has gained so early in his career. I am excited to be able to add Buddy to our expanding roster of talented developmental professionals and I am eager to see him grow his book of business here at ADS.” – says Ryan Nelson – EVP of Advanced Dealer Solutions.

Buddy will be based in the corporate office in Richfield and will be focusing on assisting dealer’s needs throughout the country. 

Follow the link below to view the article in Autodealer Today.

COVID-19 Changes Everything – Except How Americans Will Buy Cars

Advanced Dealer Solutions is fully committed to providing information that could be beneficial. We wanted to share this information from Leonard A. Bellavia, in response to the events happening in the world.

There are not many dealer principals active today that operated dealerships through the Arab oil embargo of the early ’70s. Gas was rationed, and most vehicles got eight miles per gallon. Showrooms remained empty for months. Dealers survived because the population ultimately needed new cars. 

In response to the oil crisis, Honda, Datsun, and Toyota came to the U.S. with fuel-efficient vehicles. The industry experts predicted the demise of domestic dealerships, as consumers would only buy subcompact cars. The domestic manufacturers pivoted, and while their market share diminished, many of those same domestic dealerships that were handed down or sold, still exist today. 

The next unfounded prediction came with the advent of the internet. According to the pundits, dealerships would become extinct as the internet replaced dealers. The reality was that buyers still wanted to test-drive vehicles and see the colors and options firsthand. The internet supplanted the due diligence process, but fell short of replacing dealers. 

You may recall the radical transformation that was forecasted to finally eradicate the private capital dealer: factory-owned stores. There was the Ford Collection experiment. It flopped largely because the OEMs discovered too late that knowledge of a local market is best left to local dealers. 

Then, GM concluded that the buying public would prefer fixed-price selling. Dealers would need to adapt to the Saturn business model or fail. They didn’t adapt and they didn’t fail. Saturn did. 

The next death knell, according to the disrupters, was the factory-direct-selling model of Tesla, which would surely eviscerate the franchise system. These industry outsiders mused that the general public had no use for local dealers. How wrong they were. Recently, Tesla vacillated over whether to shutter all of its “galleries.” Moreover, since Tesla came on the scene, the number of traditional franchised dealerships actually increased. 

More recently, electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as ride sharing, have come to the forefront, only to be relegated to the background as consumers continue to stay the course within the traditional culture of two cars in every driveway (both with combustion engines, thank you very much). It is still early, but electric vehicles don’t seem to have that “vroom” quality, that appeals to consumers

After COVID-19 ends and becomes a horrific memory, life will go on. In my opinion, complete remote-selling will not be embraced by the majority of the public. To the contrary, I predict “end-to-end” online selling will be utilized by only 5-10% of consumers, and even less if talented salespeople convert these customers to hybrid online buyers. It is impersonal in an interpersonal world. The purchase of the family vehicle does not lend itself entirely to remote interaction. The process is not that sterile. The human senses come into play with respect to test drives, color choices, comfort, and the need to understand financial options. Innovators and vendors will resist the notion that customers will continue to prefer to visit the dealership and become comfortable with the product, along with the people selling and servicing the product. Relationships matter. That is not to say the process doesn’t need to be materially streamlined. That is a topic unto itself. 

Link to full F&I Showroom – COVID-19 Changes Everything – Except How Americans Will Buy Cars