Tag Archives: automobile service

Are you executing your processes???

How can you make sure that the processes you have throughout the dealership are executed every time….. and with every customer?

This has been and still remains one of the toughest things to get accomplished in the dealership.

Every dealership throughout the country has their own processes and procedures when it comes to selling and servicing their customers.

Every dealership has slightly different “steps to the sale” in regards to selling a customer a new or pre-owned vehicle.

Every dealership has their own processes on what transpires in the Service lane.

Every dealership has their own “playbook” on how they want their customers handled.

So how do you get your employees to execute this “playbook” each and every time with every customer??

You need to build a “video” library of ALL of your processes so that each and every one of your employees know exactly WHAT you want executed and HOW you want it executed.

In this video library, you need to “role play” each and every scenario in every step in every process.

Take each step in the “road to the sale” and have your management team role play exactly how you want your salespeople to execute these steps!

Take all of the processes in your Service Drive and video each one so that your employees flawlessly handle each and every step.

In building your “video library” of training material, you can give your employees the confidence and competence to succeed! Otherwise you leave the employee to “interpret” what your processes are.

By having this video library you build efficiencies and consistencies throughout the customer interaction. An efficient and consistent process is very important to having customer satisfaction AND customer retention!

Once you have this video library of every step to every process, have some fun by having your employee’s video role play each step.

There is no better training tool than seeing yourself execute a process. Every professional sports team in America utilizes “game film” to help train their team to see what they executed well and where their opportunities lie.

In building a video library of your processes, it provides a tool that your employees can utilize to sharpen their skills on a daily basis. It also provides a new employee ALL of the information that they will need to succeed and “get them up to speed” in your dealership!

Build your “core” process video library TODAY!!!

Your employees, customers and profits will ALL benefit!!!!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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“The formula for MAXIMUM R.O.I. in Social Media!”

There is a rather simple formula when it comes to getting the MAXIMUM return on your investment in Social Media.

It’s so simple… might overwhelm you!

And while the formula is simple…..the actual implementation is the hardest part!

The formula???????…………….”Embrace it”…….

That’s the ENTIRE formula…..”embrace it”

That’s right!!…….go ahead and “embrace” social media!

Most Dealers and dealerships are scared to death to go ahead and try!

BUT…go ahead…..”Embrace it”!!!

Let’s start with the Sales Department.

We would ALL love to have an entire showroom floor filled with salespeople that could sell 20-25 units a month without EVER having to take any floor traffic.

Some dealerships have these salespeople already! Salespeople that have their own book of business and continue to sell their 20-25 units in good times and bad.

How do these salespeople accomplish this month after month??

These salespeople do an excellent job of calling their customers, following up, sending birthday cards, holiday cards and keeping them abreast of all the latest incentives, deals and new models that are coming out!

These salespeople become the customers “friend” in the car business!

Now what if you could get your ENTIRE sales team to do all of that every day??

It’s easy by utilizing Social Media!

Engaging your customers on Social Media sites such as Facebook, allows you to constantly update your customer with your latest incentives, your latest specials and article that pertain to the vehicle that they purchased from you, thus reinforcing that the customer made the correct decision in purchasing from you!

You can also update your customers on any “new” models that may be coming out! Everyone LOVES “spy” pictures of future product!

You can engage your customers to any special events that you may have upcoming.

You can send your customer the latest pictures or video of any accessories that you may have added to another vehicle that they might be interested in.

Did you make a note of the customer’s interests or hobbies in your CRM? You can send them interesting articles on their favorite sports team or television show.

What about the servicing of the customers car?

Wouldn’t it be great to send your customers information regarding any “Service Specials?”

How about some articles or video explaining tire wear or battery life?

Send your customer articles on preparing their vehicle for any seasonal changes, i.e…..snow tires, coolant checks, safety checks before a long vacation drive….etc…..

The amount of information we can send our customers via Social Media is non-stop!

But first…….you have to “embrace” Social Media!

The whole idea of Social Media is that it is a FUN way to interact with your customer!

People have FUN with their friends. And EVERYONE wants a friend in the car business! Friends take care of friends….You can be comfortable DEALING with a friend….a friend will always treat you right….friends always recommend their friends to other friends…..

You see, by “embracing” social media, you become more than just “that salesperson” at the car dealership. You become their friend!

Every dealership wants to have a great relationship with all of their customers. They would love all of their customers to endorse them and support them! They would want their customers to refer all of their family and friends to them!

You can do ALL of this by “embracing” Social Media!

So if you are trying to figure out the pros and cons of social media, what the investment is and how much of a return on your investment will be….. know this…..You will receive ZERO return on your investment if you DON’T embrace social media.

The saying goes….”you will miss 100% of the shots that you never take”….

Go ahead…..take the shot….embrace social media TODAY!!!

This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue of “The Social Dealership”

Here is the link:


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Service Lane Healthcare – Taking the “VITALS”

Every single time you go to the Doctor’s office, it happens.

They take your “vitals”

They check your pulse, your temperature, your blood pressure and they weigh you.

Your vitals are an indication of how your body is doing “health-wise”.

If any of the “vitals” are outside of the normal parameters, it may be an indication that your body is not as healthy as it could be.

AND….if your body is not as healthy as it could be, the Doctor then diagnoses and prescribes a process to get your body better!

So when a Service Advisor does a multi-point inspection of a vehicle that comes into the service lane, aren’t we getting that vehicle’s “vitals”??

All too often a Service Advisor misses the chance to build trust and rapport with the customer by NOT doing a complete walk-around of the vehicle and taking its vitals!

So let’s get the customer involved in taking the “vitals” of their vehicle so that the customer can understand what is going on with the health of the vehicle.

This entire process, if done correctly, will only take a grand total of 4 minutes!

Start off by having the customer step outside of the vehicle and move to the front of the vehicle. The Service Advisor then gets inside of the vehicle. Explain to the customer you would like them to check ALL of the lights on the vehicle, starting in the front. Then have the customer check their own, headlights, high and low beams, the signal lights and the emergency flashers.

Then have the customer step to the rear of the vehicle and have them check their own brake lights, tail lights, signal lights, the back up lights and emergency flashers.

AND….. beep the horn to make sure it is working correctly!

Get the customer interactive in checking both the tire tread depth and tire pressure of their vehicle. Explain to the customer that a “new“ tire has 10/32’ of tread depth. Let the customer measure the tread depth and the air pressure of their own vehicle!

Show the customer that their tires are either “wearing” perfectly or they are wearing unevenly. Explain to them that at 2/32’ the tire is “legally” worn-out.

Explain to the customer that properly inflated air pressure in a tire is the BEST way to avoid an accident and is best for the longevity of their tires.

Now let’s move under the hood.

Get the customer involved in checking the strength of the battery. With a good battery tester, you can show the customer right then and there how well their battery is performing. You can show the customer how much “life” the battery has or the possibility that it may need replacing.

Check ALL of the fluid levels of the vehicle. Show the customer where ALL of the different “dip-sticks” are. Make sure you get the customer involved in looking at these fluid levels.

Top off the windshield washer fluid while you have the hood open! It takes but a few seconds!

Then walk around the vehicle with the customer to note any existing damage that may be on the vehicle.

You now have taken the “vitals” of the vehicle in the service lane!

Are any of these vitals outside the normal parameters?

It may be an indication that the vehicle is not as healthy as it should be!

And if the vehicle is not as healthy as it should be, aren’t you the “Doctor”??…… And aren’t you going to diagnose and prescribe a process to get the vehicle better??

The customer has seen with their own eyes that they might have a light out on the vehicle.

They have measured the tire tread depth and air pressure themselves so that they know that the tires may be wearing unevenly, so they may need an “alignment” or possibly new tires.

They have watched you perform a battery check so they know that with a new season coming; they may need a new battery.

They have watched you check all of the fluid levels so that they have piece of mind that these levels are correct.

By taking the 4 minutes to go through the vehicles “vitals” with your customer, it will give the customer confidence that you are going to correctly go through the rest of the vehicle and prescribe the proper diagnosis for the vehicles ills.

This process delivers open and transparent measurements so that you instantly build value, rapport and trust.

AND…..what if the vehicles “vital” are perfect?

Well…..we ALL like to have good news when we go to the Doctor!!!!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on October 17, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Your own employees hate you!!!!

I know…….it’s a pretty strong title for an article.

BUT….it’s true…..

It pertains to a vast majority of car dealerships around the country!

Your own employees MUST hate doing business with you!

They take their own personal vehicles and get oil changes, tires, tire rotations, alignments, batteries and wiper blades at other places!

You have made it inconvenient for them to service with you. You don’t seem to value their business and your prices are too high!

They purchase New and pre-owned vehicles from other dealerships!

They feel unappreciated and they are scared to go through the “sales process” with your sales team!

Your own employees don’t feel comfortable doing business with your own dealership!


This scenario plays out at a LOT of dealerships across the Country!

Employees won’t or don’t do business with you!

The accounting office doesn’t trust the sales department. The sales department thinks the service department charges too much for service. The service department thinks that the sales department wants too much for the vehicles.

It goes on and on and on and on………does it sound like YOUR store???

You need to be a true leader and make sure your employees see AND feel the value you are giving them to do business with you!


After all, they are the ones taking care of your customers!

You have to make sure that you have a clear cut set of policies that are transparent to all your employees in regards to doing business with your own dealership!

Don’t just proclaim you have “employee pricing”! Make sure that you give your employees that “little extra” to make them feel good about doing business with their own place of work.

Are you willing to extend your “employee pricing” to your employees immediate family?

Are you willing to give your employees “special incentives” to pass along to their friends in order to get their business?

Do you, as a leader, convey these policies on a regular basis with ALL EMPLOYEES?

You HAVE to make your employee your BIGGEST ADVOCATE for doing business in your store!!

After all…..if your own employees won’t do business with you…..who will???

It takes a true leader with great communication skills to make sure that ALL EMPLOYEES feel special!

And when the employees feel special, your customers will feel special too!!!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital




Posted by on October 10, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Customers “wear” their vehicle!

Have you ever noticed that the type of vehicle that a person buys reflects their character or lifestyle?

People buy certain vehicles for a reason!

People buy pickup trucks for work or play….and maybe a little of both!

People buy minivans mostly because they have children.

People buy sports cars mostly because they like the image it portrays.

People buy high-line luxury vehicles for a status symbol.

People buy “green” vehicles mostly because they are concerned for the environment.

In ALL cases, people simply “wear” their vehicle. Their vehicle is an extension of themselves.

Like the clothes you wear, a vehicle becomes that new suit or that beautiful new dress. Maybe the vehicle becomes that sporty jacket you just bought or maybe the vehicle is that pair of sweat pants you just bought to run around and do errands with!

So if customers “wear” their vehicle, they also accessorize what they wear.

Customers will buy an incredible amount of accessories for their vehicle; just like they buy a new tie to go with the suit or a sparkling piece of jewelry to go with the new dress.

We all need to find every single opportunity to maximize our profits and give the customer a reason to be loyal to the dealership!

By making your store a “one-stop” shopping experience for those people that would like to accessorize their vehicle, you create one more reason for customers to frequent your dealership!

  • Are YOU as a dealer getting your fair share of accessory sales?
  • Are you even offering the customer accessory options?
  • Are you pricing the accessories to make it attractive for the customer to purchase from you?
  • Is your sales team involved in presenting these options?
  • Do you have 10-15% of your “in-stock” vehicles equipped with these accessories so that the customer can see them?
  • Do you have a dedicated area of the dealership to highlight accessories?

I encourage all of you to go to the SEMA show inLas Vegas!

SEMA is short for Specialty Equipment Market Association, which was formed in 1963. The SEMA Show is the most excellent trade event for automotive specialty products in the world. It is consists of 6,764 companies worldwide and products in this $27.8 billion-a-year industry.

The first time I went to SEMA, I spent 2 entire days and STILL did not see the entire exhibit! It covers every square inch of the Las Vegas convention center!

Maximize your profit by checking out this show!

It is WELL worth your time!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door!

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done.


Then they begin to hope it can be done.


Then they see it can be done.


Then it is done………. and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.” 

 Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

The people who are the most successful in life are the ones who create their own opportunities.

But all too often, people don’t want to give the extra effort or go the additional mile to realize their true potential!

What most people fail to understand is;

The bravest person is still scared; they are just braver one second longer than anyone else!

The calmest person is still worried; they are just calmer one second longer than anyone else!

The most disciplined person is still undisciplined; they are just disciplined one second longer than anyone else!

The most persistent person is still non-persistent; they are just persistent one second longer than anyone else!

As you can see……success isn’t given to anyone.

Success doesn’t come delivered in a pretty box with a big bow attached to it!

Success comes to those that have the intestinal fortitude to go beyond what most people think is “normal”.

Success comes to those that are willing to leave their “comfort zones” and reach out to do more!

Successful people don’t necessarily enjoy or like the things they have to do to be successful, but they understand that they HAVE to do them to be successful!

You have to have the courage to take the step forward and leave behind the forces that may pull you down!

You have to understand that success just might be……one more second away!

Make yourself have the guts, the heart, the spirit, the spunk, the backbone, the grit, the fortitude, the determination, the persistence and boldness to go forward!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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Pre-Owned R.O.I. – Assess them – Find them – Fix them – Sell them (Part 4 of 4)

(Part 4 – Sell them)

In the first part of this 4 part blog, we reviewed how to “assess” what would be your “perfect Pre-owned inventory mix”.

In the second part of this 4 part blog, we reviewed how to “find” your “perfect Pre-owned inventory mix”.

In the third part of this 4 part blog, we reviewed how to “fix” or recondition your vehicles for maximum R.O.I.

Now that we know what vehicles we are looking for and how to find them and how to fix them, the next step is how to sell them!

Properly marketing and pricing your vehicle for sale is the key to a fast sale with maximum gross profit!

Let’s talk about “on-line” marketing and pricing first.

Once your vehicle is properly cleaned and reconditioned for sale, you have to take multiple pictures of the vehicle both inside and outside. Your perspective customer wants to see a LOT of pictures if they are viewing the vehicle on the internet. Make sure you include pictures of the mileage, tire tread depth and all angles of the vehicle inside and out! You should take a minimum of 20 pictures for each vehicle. Pay special attention to any upgraded factory accessories on the vehicle such as wheels, spoilers, roof racks…etc…..

The first two or three sentences of the vehicle description on-line are very important! Customers do NOT want to read a general list of the vehicles specifications and options! You MUST write the first few sentences as if you were writing a headline of a newspaper! You need to get the perspective customers attention! Sentences that start off with;





Get the perspective customers attention with a solid and well written description!

Produce a 60 second video of the vehicle! It not only provides a great marketing piece to help sell the vehicle, it also provides great SEO, (search engine optimization) for your vehicles on the internet! If you “tag” the video with the correct words it will show up in the search engines more easily and frequently!

You can market your vehicles on a vast number of Automotive Pre-owned websites. First, pay attention to marketing them on your own dealership website! Once you get your dealership website set, get the vehicle out to as many automotive Pre-owned websites as possible! The more exposure you have, the quicker and easier it will be to sell the vehicle!

Pricing the vehicle on the internet AND on the showroom floor should be the same! One sure way to upset a customer is to give them a price in the showroom that is higher than what they saw on-line! Seamless and transparent pricing policies need to be adhered to!

Price your Pre-owned vehicles “to market”! Don’t just “add” $ ”X” to the cost of the vehicle to set your pricing. There are many software tools to help you understand what the average retail price of a similar vehicle is in your market. Whether you use “V-Auto, AAX, First Look…..etc….the information is very similar.

The two most important pieces of criteria that a perspective customer is looking for in a Pre-owned vehicle are, price and mileage. Make sure that your pricing is in line with similar vehicles with the same mileage.

Once the customer gets to your dealership to look at your pre-owned inventory, make sure your sales staff knows all about the different makes models and trim levels that you have available!

When the customer walks into the showroom and asks, “What do you have in a 4 door import vehicle for under $12000.00?” you need to have a staff that is trained to give the customer a couple of different options within the first 60 seconds!

Your staff needs to have an overall knowledge of what pre-owned vehicles you have available and at what price points they are available at!

Marketing, pricing, knowledge of inventory and professionalism are important keys to selling a pre-owned vehicle!

Assessing, finding, fixing and selling your pre-owned vehicles for MAXIMUM R.O.I. is essential to the overall success of the dealership!


About the Author: From a Salesperson to a Dealer, I have a vast amount of experience in all areas of the automotive environment.

You can follow me on:

My website:  

Twitter: @jimkristoff

WordPress blogsite:

Blogspot blog:

Automotive Digital



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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Archive of all blogs


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