Many dealerships subscribe to some type of call tracking service that records incoming phone calls, however, many sales managers neglect to listen to the calls on a regular basis. Typically, it’s not until the end of the month when they’re trying to squeeze out those last few units for the month, that the call tracking service comes to mind. They listen to calls and then, oftentimes, want to bang their head against the wall.
How salespeople handle incoming calls with prospective buyers can make or break a sale, causing the customer to choose a different dealership or brand entirely. Many sales people believe they can sell the car over the phone and close the deal without ever meeting the prospect!
Therefore, making sure that staff handling calls are prepared to do so by having the right training and approach, is vital to getting more prospects in the door and opportunities to make more sales. Yet far too many dealerships neglect to teach and coach, their salespeople in effective ways to handle incoming calls.
Here are three tips that will help sales managers prepare their staff to handle incoming calls more effectively:
1. Smile – When you smile while talking on the phone with someone, your attitude is naturally transferred within the conversation. Ensuring that there is a smile on your face makes a great first impression with the customer on the other end of the line, and we all know how important first impressions are! If your attitude is positive, the customer will sense it and be more interested in talking to you.
2. Tone Matters – It’s not simply smiling while on the phone but how you are speaking. We all know that saying things with different tones can change the meaning of what is trying to be communicated. Being conscious of how you are speaking with a customer – keeping an open, friendly and helpful tone – will start a relationship on the right foot and make the customer more interested in doing business with not only that individual salesperson but also the dealership.
3. Be Conversational – Just like when a customer is standing in front of you on the lot, make sure that you’re having a conversation with them. If you can find common interests and start building rapport with the customer, you greatly improve your chances of them trusting you and liking you before they’ve even met you in person.
Finally, you everyone needs to understand the definition of success when answering the phone. If they don’t know what success is and have that as a goal, the conversation can easily be cut short without the salesperson accomplishing anything. Have you ever heard a salesperson answer the phone, have a customer ask if a particular vehicle is in stock, for the salesperson to simply reply “No” and have the customer simply say “Thanks” and hang up? That’s a lost opportunity!
So, what is the definition of a successful phone call? There are 2 goals…
1. Get the Customer’s Contact Information – Even if nothing comes from the phone call, succeeding in getting the customer’s contact information allows the salesperson to follow-up with the customer. What if your dealership gets a unit in-stock the day after the phone call in which the salesperson simply said it was not and the customer hung up? Without contact information, the salesperson would have no way of reaching out to the customer to let them know.
2. Make an Appointment – It’s one thing to have a great conversation and have the customer say that they’ll come down and look at the car. It’s quite another to not only get their contact information, but also get the customer to commit to a day and time. This builds a sense of obligation on the part of the customer. In addition, if a sales manager calls and confirms the appointment, it allows the dealership to reinforce the appointment while making the customer feel valued and welcome. That will greatly improve your show rate and opportunities. Statistics show time and again that the closing rate of sales appointments is far higher than walk in traffic! So book it!
Start making sure that your sales staff understand the importance of handling incoming calls properly. Make it a subject of your Saturday Sales Meeting, talk about it at your daily huddle, listen to calls that are recorded and coach your team on what they did well and how they can improve. Make it a habit, define success, and reinforce the message on an ongoing basis! Doing so will sell more cars, make more money and the dealership will be more successful!