The first suggestion I have is to mystery shop your competition. Most will start with “what’s your name and number in case we get disconnected?” Would you take that seriously? How many times have they heard that?
Listen and learn, then compare to how your people handle calls. QC, or Quality Control will do this for your own team or have someone do it for you. The cost of not doing it is very expensive.
Here are the top 10 essentials for today’s sales call which incorporate my “four ‘I’s” or steps to a show: Introduction, Interview, Initiation and Insinuation.
1. Good first impression: Be different from the rest by exceeding expectations. Make the customer feel they have contacted the right place at the right time!
2. Ad/lead source: Being aware specifically of how the customer heard about your location allows you to know which marketing techniques have the most impact, give you accurate ROI reporting and instant knowledge of the customer having seen a vehicle and price.
3. Adjustment in tonality: This helps to begin commonality-based rapport. People prefer to communicate with folks that speak (and think) like they do. Commonality leads to rapport and rapport leads to lasting significant (and profitable) relationships.
4. Needs analysis utilizing active listening: This requires both acknowledgement and validation. Recap their needs and wants. Be the first person to listen to them and make them feel like you are a real person, not the “car business” stereotype. Keep your evidence manual updated with competitive, product and dealer differentiation info at hand.
5. Justification: You need to show justification for them wanting to share their name, cell phone, e-mail address, etc. Reciprocate by doing a little homework for them: “I know your time is important, speaking of which, are you calling from your cell phone?” Use a quality call flow interrupt.
6. Request pertinent data: Such as their cell phone (for SMS appointment confirmations, directions or an MMS to put an appointment tag on “their” new car). Also get names of not just the caller, but the buyer. Have a quick conversation. If you take an extra moment out of your busy day to know what is driving the customer’s buying thought process, such as kids or job needs, you can relate and have your “new friend” talk about themselves, their family and what they like. If we share about how much we each relate to any given subject and really listen to them, we aren’t talking just about price and you exhibit a sincere interest. Ask for a second number and swap e-mail addresses. If you are pre-screening with a soft credit pull, their physical address is required.
7. Create urgency: Make a 10-second hold request then come back with, “Mr. Buyer, we do have that vehicle available, as a matter of fact we have a few that are similar, but this is something you will want to act quickly on (what with the year end, month end; every day is sale day so be prepared) so we don’t miss this special window of opportunity. Speaking of which, is today or tonight better for you?” Words, when used properly carry impact, but remember the 93/7 rule regarding body language, tone and words. You can’t fake excitement or confidence or an understanding “information day” appointment. The point is to have a show, not just an appointment.
8. Specific time set appointment with a confirmation number: I suggest the rep’s initials and three digits. I always use GR177. Set odd time appointments. Ensure they write down important information like your name, directions or the physical address (to put into their navigation system) to get to you, who to ask for and what to bring (if applicable). Use “appointment” tags along with your “hold” and “sold” tags and watch the closing and attraction ratios improve.
9. Persuasion works: use effective techniques such as the subconscious rather than the forefront of the mind. Two reasons why are when we say “If for any reason I am running late, I will be sure to give you the courtesy of a call. Hypothetical scenarios or questions that require someone to think and answer for themselves doubles the effectiveness than front loaded quick stuff like “If you’re running late, you will call me right?” Yep. Worst of all are rebuttals. They are arguments and only provoke the instinct of “fight or flight”. Master the skill of communicating with validation; “why” based “I understand, etc.” and lead with quality either/or not yes/no questions. Any customer that is asked what they would do if they found themselves running late (I know life happens), and they answer for themselves, are twice as likely to do it. Commitment involves saving face.
10. One hundred percent TO and confirmation calls, SMS or MMS without an “out”. Avoid calls such as: “I just wanted to make sure we are still on for today” or anything that opens the door for excuses. Use something more like: “I just want to be sure you have the best directions for our appointment today (or tomorrow morning, if the night before)”. If the call is not appointed, TO the call while talking with the prospect, not later only to leave messages.
When you change the way you handle calls and utilize these 10 essential techniques you will differentiate yourself and your dealership from the competition. Customers will feel listened to and validated. The results will speak for themselves.