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The Recipe for Accessory Sales Success

Article Highlights:

  • Accessory sales applies to your entire dealership. Get everyone on board.
  • Your catalog content is the foundation.

Every successful dealership embraces the basic selling techniques and processes to sell cars. The better you follow them, the more you will experience higher closing ratios, gross profit, and CSI scores. With compliance regulations becoming basic requirements for F&I in recent years, many dealers have seen increased F&I sales. The reason isn’t necessarily due to customer demands, but because dealerships are now being forced to consistently offer the same opportunities to each and every customer.

Success with accessory sales is no different. Dealerships must consistently follow a proven accessory sales process to see real results. Below are the key ingredients critical to accessory sales success.

1) Top Down Accessory Buy-in: 

Your management team must adopt and support the accessory culture within the dealership 100 percent. If your managers aren’t on board, how can you expect the people actually doing the work—your salespeople, service techs, and parts guys—to be on board? This means committing to proven accessory processes, like delivering presentations to every new and used vehicle customer. The dealerships I work with that are the most successful with accessories embrace and execute this strategy.

2) Continuous Reinforcement:

Adopting an accessory process is not something you simply get up and running and then forget about. Your management team should continuously reinforce the importance of accessory selling by making it a regular topic in team meetings. This could include anything from setting goals for accessory sales to discussing adherence to the process. Team meetings are also a good time to discuss performance expectations and recognize achievements publicly. Recognizing two or three top accessory performers in front of the whole team is a good way to motivate the team to reach those goals. Have those individuals share their successes and tips so everyone can learn ways to improve.

3) Training, Role Playing, and Mentoring:

Training, role playing, and mentoring are big factors in establishing a successful accessory process. Assign new hires a mentor who they can shadow, role play with, and learn from. To help your underperformers, assign them practice homework and role plays with the most successful salespeople. You should also encourage your accessory department manager to actively participate in presentations and role plays so he can identify his team’s strengths and weaknesses and develop the appropriate training.

4) Catalog Content – the Foundation for Your Accessory Sales:

Your catalog content is just as important as the roles of your managers. Make sure to review the content from the customer’s perspective, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it offer the variety you would expect if you were considering accessories for your own vehicle?
  • Are there gaps in your product offerings?
  • Do you provide multiple pricing options in each category?

Your catalog should represent the appetite and budget of your customers. Although your focus may be on selling OEM parts, it’s a best practice to fill in any areas where your OEM doesn’t offer something with a reputable aftermarket alternative.

Another best practice many of our dealers have success with is the three to eight rule. This simply means try to have three to eight items per accessory category in your catalog. This allows for comparisons of some feature specific differences in products that could have a drastic effect on price. Both of these best practices allow you to meet the needs of your consumers.

Where to Go From Here:

Accessories are a huge profit opportunity that aren’t going away any time soon. Combine these key ingredients with a proven accessory process and an engaging sales tool and you’ll start capturing additional profits from accessory sales. You may not sell every customer accessories, but if you use this recipe, you will create accessory awareness, increasing the chance of a customer returning to buy from you later.

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Vendor Relations Business Manager, AddOnAuto, Reynolds and Reynolds

Joe Witt is the Vendor Relations Business Manager for AddOnAuto at Reynolds and Reynolds. He started working in dealership sales in 2005. He became an accessory specialist, and then moved into various management roles. Joe started as an implementation consultant with the AddOnAuto team in 2011. He spends much of his time building relationships with suppliers, restylers, and manufacturers to better the processes and products offered to dealerships with AddOnAuto.

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