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5 Ways Auto Dealers Can Unlock Cross-Selling Opportunities

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Cross-selling is a sales tactic as old as sales itself. When you buy a fast-food burger, they ask if you want fries and a drink. Purchase a new cell phone, they’ll offer you insurance and a case. Shop online, and you’ll see similar products you may like.

Cross-selling is everywhere, including in the automotive industry. It’s time to learn how to take advantage of cross-selling opportunities for auto dealers so you can increase your margins and revenue.

What Is Cross-Selling for Auto Dealers?

Cross-selling is when an auto dealership offers customers additional products or services that enhance or supplement their original purchase. You’re probably familiar with automotive cross-selling strategies when you’re desking a deal: extended warranties, aftermarket options, insurance products, and financing options are all cross-sells.

Cross-selling opportunities aren’t limited to sales. You can offer customers service packages, scheduled service discounts, and additional service solutions when they bring in their vehicle. In either case, the key to cross-selling is a customer-centric approach that identifies their needs and offers relevant solutions.

Cross-Sell vs. Upsell for Auto Dealers

Upselling is another familiar auto dealer strategy, but it's not the same as cross-selling. Cross-selling focuses on offering additional products or services that complement the original purchase, while upselling involves persuading customers to purchase a higher-priced version of the same product. Upselling takes place only at the point of sale and includes things like upgrading to a more advanced model or trim level.

Examples of Automotive Cross-Selling Strategies

Once you know where to look, you can find plenty of cross-selling opportunities for auto dealers. Here are some of the most common examples.

Aftermarket Options

The purchase process is the perfect opportunity to introduce customers to additional products that can enhance their vehicle. Aftermarket options include things like premium audio systems, performance enhancements, aesthetic modifications like alloy wheels or custom interior trim, and functional additions like roof racks, hitches, or truck bed modifications.

Extended Warranties

Extended warranties are one of the most popular dealership cross-selling opportunities. They typically cover repairs and maintenance for an extended time period or mileage limit beyond the manufacturer's warranty, offering protection against unexpected expenses due to mechanical failures or defects. Extended warranties can provide customers valuable peace of mind and potential long-term cost savings.

Scheduled Maintenance Programs

Don’t leave out your service department when it comes to cross-selling opportunities. Prepaid, scheduled programs are a popular cross-sell for auto dealers because customers know how important maintenance is. They include things like routine inspections, oil changes, tire rotations, and other essential services, usually at a discount. By providing incentives to come in for service, they not only create happy customers, but also boost loyalty.

Bundled Packages

Bundled packages combine related products or services at a discounted price. You can offer them at the point of sale or when customers come in for service. For example, you might create a “Winter Package” that includes winter tires and installation, a cold-weather oil change, heavy-duty floor mats, and an ice scraper or safety kit. Bundling simplifies purchases for customers while increasing your margins.

Service Cross-Sells

You don’t have to offer bundled or prepaid packages to take advantage of service cross-selling opportunities for auto dealers. When customers bring their vehicles in for service, do a thorough inspection and suggest upgrades, accessories, or maintenance services, like fluid flushes or brake inspections. You’ll address immediate needs while also introducing the customer to products and services they might not be aware of.

How to Improve Cross-Selling at Your Dealership

Cross-selling is an important way to drive revenue and increase your margins, but challenges like employee shortages and lack of technology can prevent you from reaching your full potential. You’ll also need the right car dealership cross-selling management strategies.

1. Train Staff

It’s no secret that employee turnover is high at auto dealers. With a near-constant stream of new staff, it can be hard to keep up with training, plus professional development for existing staff. But providing sales and service staff with training on your dealership’s cross-selling opportunities is essential. All staff should have in-depth knowledge about the full range of products and services you offer, and know how to uncover customer needs, identify cross-sells, and communicate their value.

2. Offer Incentives

Incentives can take two forms: customer incentives and employee incentives. Customer incentives offer the buyer discounts, loyalty rewards, or complimentary services to encourage them to purchase additional products or services. Employee incentives offer staff bonuses, performance-based commissions, or recognition programs that reward successful cross-sells. Both types of incentives can drive revenue growth throughout the dealership.

3. Follow Up

To really leverage all cross-selling opportunities for auto dealers, you need to stay engaged with your customers long after they make a purchase. Send thank-you notes, vehicle “anniversary” notes, satisfaction surveys, and service reminders to keep your dealership top of mind and introduce them to new products, promotions, and services. Following up not only drives cross-sells, but increases loyalty and referrals.

4. Go Digital

The rise of digital channels has introduced even more cross-selling opportunities for auto dealers. You can use targeted email campaigns, online videos, social media advertising, and your own website to showcase your products and services, highlight promotions, and get customers interested in your cross-sells. Digital channels aren’t limited to existing customers either - intriguing cross-sells could even bring in new leads.

5. Use Technology

Today’s customers expect personalized, seamless experiences, and auto dealers now have the tools to make it happen. Use your customer relationship management (CRM) system to track customer preferences and digital tools to segment them based on demographics and browsing behavior. It’s a more advanced automotive cross-selling strategy, but it doesn’t have to be a heavy lift. An outsourced automotive business development center (BDC) can help you automate many of these processes.

Unlock More Cross-Selling Opportunities for Auto Dealers

Dealership cross-selling opportunities are everywhere, but to fully take advantage, you need the right technology. Better Car People is an outsourced sales and service BDC that can help you uncover and make the most of your cross-selling opportunities by:

  • Responding to and following up with sales leads
  • Increasing service appointments and decreasing no-shows
  • Mining manifest lists for cross-sell opportunities
  • Boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Providing full transparency into customer data

Better Car People uses real, local BDC agents who are automotive experts to send customized responses to sales and service leads. We also work behind the scenes to find new cross-selling opportunities for auto dealers. Meet with us to learn more about how we can help you unlock your dealership's full cross-selling potential.

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