By Michael Renaud, General Manager, Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions

Now is the time to power up for a profitable year and to focus on the best and hottest leads in the dealership – your sales calls. So, let’s dive into the top strategies for mastering your sales calls, converting leads, and boosting your sales numbers.

A Culture of Order-Takers

Unfortunately, I still hear sales reps everywhere that get on the phone with a potential shopper and completely wing it. It doesn’t matter if the rep is young, old, green, seasoned, highline or used cars; they’ll answer every question like an order taker until the shopper just runs out. They’ll get on the phone and react and are thrown off track when the customer asks about price or brings up an objection. And then, perhaps even worse, I hear brand new salespeople using strategies from 20 years ago just because they heard what the vet in the next cubicle is saying.

But Do They Like You?

The problem with this is that most shoppers today decide where they will buy even before leaving their house. According to the 2022 Capital One Car Buying Outlook, 53% of car buyers research vehicles online, and 44% research local inventories. The majority of vehicle shoppers start their journey on Google with a few searches. When they’ve completed their initial research and are ready to get serious, they often call a dealership. So, by the time they’re ready to call, they’re simply deciding if they like you and if it’s worth their time to come down to see you. They’re doing most of their homework online and then calling you to size you up! If they don’t like you…… CLIIIIICK.

So, you can see why those first moments after you pick up that phone are so critical. As a sales professional, your job is to guide that call and take it to the next level. It is your goal to convert that shopper to the next stage of the process – and then eventually into the dealership! You want to do everything possible to get that shopper into that dealership and physically in front of you.

Logical to Emotional

The main reason you want your shopper in the dealership IN PERSON is that it takes their shopping process from a logical one to one of emotion. Lack of inventory, market adjustments, special orders, and high-interest rates have shifted the mindset of shoppers. And today, they are willing to switch – on package, model, and even brand and segment. When you can convert that shopper into the dealership, it doesn’t matter which vehicle they called on. Once in the dealership, more than 80% of shoppers will switch. They see the shiny new paint, smell the new car leather, hear the engine’s purr, and then boom. That shopper who was dead set on a white hybrid buys the black-on-black AWD sport package showroom special. Additionally, even though shoppers today use more online resources to shop for cars, most shoppers – more than 90% – still want to come in, so INVITE them!

Get Excited Again

Remember that while you might work around car deals every day, your average shopper only buys a car every three to five years. It’s a big deal for many. Think about it for a minute. First-time buyers, ethnic families, and single moms; this is a sign of accomplishment for some. Get excited, help them, and advise them. Be that friend they want to work with. Don’t pick up the phone and act annoyed or distracted. And don’t let questions or objections keep you from getting customers in! Objections are just opportunities to build more trust. Objections might mean you are closer to a deal than you think. Every call is an opportunity to gain a customer, and if you do things right, you’ll gain a fan and referrals for life.

Lastly, have fun! There is no business like the car business. By doing the right things every day and taking care of people, ANYBODY, including YOU, can have a lucrative career on the sales floor.

I’ll see you at the top!

About the Contributor

Michael Renaud is the General Manager of Alan Ram’s Proactive Training Solutions. With expertise in BDC structure/management, sales management, fixed operations, marketing, buy/sells, and operations, Michael has worked for both franchised and independent dealers. He brings his breadth of experience across the dealerships to help clients improve their bottom-line results.

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This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb 2023 Issue of Dealer Magazine. You can view the latest digital edition as well as past issues of Dealer Magazine here.

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