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From: Jared Hamilton
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Lauren Cummins

Lauren Cummins Automotive Product Marketing Manager

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3 Phone Training Strategies That Apply to Every Department at Your Dealership

What do your BDC, sales department and service department all have in common? The phone. Though each department is very different, talking with prospective or current buyers on the phone is a crucial part of how they do business. As the dealer, do you think your employees’ phone skills are up to par? If your answer is yes, the chances are you aren’t looking at the data. Dealerships are actually losing more than $400,000, just because of poor phone skills alone!

There are things that you as the dealer or manager can do to promote uniformity on the phone, and ultimately achieve top-notch customer service. By having a once a week meeting with your teams, you can set out to address these three items that will increase credibility, customer service and revenue into your dealership.

1. Product knowledge- The only way your employees will get a prospective buyer into the dealership is if they sell them on the car the customer is interested in over the phone. Whether it’s questions about a specific vehicle or service, they should know the ins and outs of their request. Take a listen to a handful of your recorded calls, and see where common gaps are in product knowledge. Make a slide show and present these common issues, as well as open up a forum for discussion about product questions they have struggled with.

2. Setting the appointment- Did you know that your guys are only asking for the appointment 22% of the time on calls? That adds up to the appointment not being asked on three of the four calls they might make before their lunch break! Go over some key phrases from customers that should signal offering the appointment including, “I’ll drop by this week” or “That’s more than my budget allows right now.” Teaching your guys to overcome those tough objections will up that number in no time.

3. Competition- A little friendly competition always fuels success. If your team members are proud of what they do and proud of the dealership, chances are they will push harder to prove it if they know they are under a microscope. Use the information your call tracking provider gives you about live conversations, appointment requests, etc. and put it on a projector for everyone in the meeting to see, ranking each individual based on performance. We figured out that when you give salesmen a little incentive, they start making those appointments 94% of the time. Now that’s more like it.

These are only three things you could focus on, but you could alternate each week. Other topics could include going over proper phone scripts for greetings or how to handle objections. Once you instill great habits on the phone, new customers will come easy.a2a6297f41ccbf1ef47b940b04b6422d.png?t=1

Grant Gooley
Our data is proving that customers are picking up the phone much more than filling a form online. If we aren't booking appointments on the phone, there is not point spending money on a great digital strategy. In fact, marketing becomes a waist of money if phone-appointment closing ratios are low! Great Points Lauren.
Lauren Cummins
I absolutely agree. Poor phone skills alone cause people to hang up and call somewhere else. Customers want, and deserve, to be taken care of!
Robert Karbaum
I saw Elise Kephart's breakout at DSES 2014, "Embedding Social Media into your Sales Process: Tips from a veteran to help your team succeed" and her first slide was: "PICK UP THE F'IN PHONE" That alone really is a struggle with Sales Staff and even BDC Departments. As society shifts to a text only culture, we need to reiterate that phones still are the best weapon.
Lauren Cummins
Couldn't agree more, Robert. The phone is the key to a lot of things for dealers, but most importantly it's the key to bringing in more revenue! If they start picking up the phones and getting those phone call in the hands of the right person, they're already 75% of the way there!

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