In car sales, phone training can mean the difference between making money and waving goodbye to potential customers
It’s time for a reality check: If you think your dealership is converting the majority of its calls into cash, there’s a good chance that you’re wrong.
According to an IHS Automotive analysis, 84% of a dealership’s inbound sales calls do not get converted to a sale by that dealership. This data was based on the performance of over 540 dealerships nationwide over a one-year period.
Sure, there will be times when you’re fighting a losing battle—a customer simply isn’t ready to buy, or you don’t have the exact vehicle they’re looking for—but there are plenty of opportunities that get lost in the hustle and bustle of dealership life for silly, fixable reasons. By identifying the issues and prioritizing car sales phone training, you’ll be saving those leads in no time.
Car sales phone training: What you can do to convert more sales calls into satisfied customers
1. Fix your phone system
When someone calls your dealership, how long does it take them to get in touch with someone who can help them? Do you even know? Do some secret shopping every once in a while when you aren’t in the dealership and call from a number your employees don’t know.
See how long you’re on hold, being transferred, and (hopefully) getting answers to questions. You won’t know what needs to be fixed until you experience the phone system from the point-of-view of a real customer. The calling experience should be as quick, easy, and streamlined as possible.
2. Don’t negotiate on the phone
When you share these car sales phone training tips with your sales team, be sure they know they don’t need to sit on the line and negotiate with a caller. If someone is calling to find out a price and then engage in a little friendly negotiating, there’s a solid chance they’ve already found a car they want at a different dealership, and they’re trying to get a price they can get the other dealership to commit to.
When you negotiate on the phone, you’re wasting your time and missing out on legitimate leads. Try to set an appointment and get the person in the dealership—otherwise, don’t bother.
3. Relax with the sales pitch
If a customer calls with a few questions, fight the urge to go into super salesperson mode. Be polite, patient, and helpful; when the you’ve answered the customer’s questions, try to set an appointment with them if it’s appropriate. Don’t take the questions as a signal that you should launch into your list of qualifying questions—if you get too intense during the first phone call, you’re going to drive leads away, not convert them.
4. Get a caller’s info up front
When you take a sales call from an unknown prospect, it can be tempting to just jump into the call to find out what they need. However, if you don’t have his or her name and contact info, try to get that right off the bat. Ask their name up front to build rapport, and follow that by saying “and can I please get your phone number just in case we get disconnected for some reason?”
The number can be helpful if you get disconnected, but it could also come in handy if you can’t help the person with their request initially—like you don’t have the car they’re looking for, or don’t have the noon test drive appointment they were hoping to get during their lunch break—but after you hang up, you realize you can accommodate them. For example, your boss tells you you’re getting that model they wanted in two days, or your noon test drive cancels at the last minute.
5. Don’t send calls to salespeople who are on the floor
In today’s fast-moving world, time is of the essence. If the receptionist forwards a call to a salesperson that isn’t even at his or her desk, that calls goes to voicemail and could get lost forever. Salespeople should take turns being on phone-only shifts (even just one or two hours at a time) so that all callers can immediately speak with experienced, knowledgeable sales people instead of hanging up and calling a competitor.
Car sales phone training isn’t just a one-time topic for an upcoming sales meeting — it should be a recurring training topic that all employees are involved in. Every inbound sales call has the potential to turn into money…do you really want to lose out because your team doesn’t know how to manage and nurture those leads?