Don’t let long lines and hurried customers keep you from upselling and cross selling at your parts counter. That’s what happened to me at a recent visit to a dealership for mower parts.

We do our own repairs, so we are one of those customers that arrive with a list of parts and part numbers. The dealership for this mower brand is 33 miles away, so we want to avoid a return trip and lost mowing time. On this particular Saturday morning, one of the first good mowing days of the season, this dealership was swamped.

It’s a small dealership on a busy road and its parking lot is also the equipment pickup and drop-off area. We made our way around a trailer where landscapers were loading up and anxious to head out. The parts counter is straight ahead, with mower models on either side of the path.

We were close to the front of the line, which soon became 5 people deep. The parts counter person did a good job. They were friendly, efficient and had the parts in stock. If I was asked to rate the experience, I would definitely say “good.”

I realized later what would have made it great. Based on the parts we were buying, it should have been obvious that our mower was wearing out. It would have been the right time to mention specials on new models and trade-ins and hand us off to a salesperson.

Does your dealership have a parts person who is a selling superstar?

Also, based on our zip code, the part person should have known we were from out of town. He should have recommended other wear parts to save us a trip we would probably need to make before the mowing season was halfway over.

This dealership does not communicate with us in any way outside of in the store — no direct mail or email and I don’t remember seeing any ads. That makes every in-store contact especially valuable.

But what about the people who were waiting in line behind us? Would this extra time spent cross selling and upselling irritate them and potentially lose their business?

Here is dealer consultant Bob Clements’ view on this scenario:

There is never a bad time or a time that you are too busy at the parts counter to make a simple recommendation of adding on to a sale. Cross selling or up selling is a simple process and should take less than a minute to make the recommendation or suggestion for a customer to upgrade or add on to their purchase.

I always think of McDonald’s and how quickly they can add another 10-20% to a sale by simply saying, “Would you like to ‘super-size’ that? Or, “Would you like to add an apple pie with that?”

Upselling or cross selling should be a simple question that the customer can decide quickly. Many dealer management software systems can tell the parts counter person what could be upsold or cross sold with any given sale. Just a quick question can turn any parts person into a selling superstar.

Listen in and watch the flow of your parts counter today and see if more training is needed to capture those easy add-on sales.