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Are you on the phone - Why not?

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Even after 20 years of training and consulting in the auto industry we are still surprised by some of the salesperson behaviors that are so counterproductive yet resistant to change. The ineffective use of the telephone is one. In some dealerships you would swear that they installed special phones that have a 300lb receiver! No one wants to pick it up and make outgoing calls.

It's impossible to achieve the kind of sales results and income you deserve without generating traffic of your own. You have to get good at using the phone.

Why do so many salespeople have such an aversion to the phone? The light bulb came on for us about 3 years ago when we started facilitating Private Sale Events.  For the two days prior to the event, each salesperson calls 150 clients to follow-up the invitation, explain the sale event, and book appointments.  There are always several salespeople who are so terrified to pick up the phone you wonder how they could survive in sales. Yet these same people with some training and coaching find out that yes they can make the calls, people are glad to hear from them, in-market buyers do make appointments, show up, and… buy vehicles!  Even more exciting is the fact that clients with appointments have double the closing ratio of walk-in traffic.

So why can salespeople who have a hard time making outgoing calls day to day suddenly become phone stars for the Private Sale Event?

1. They know what to say.  The follow-up call has a script that gets the call started, generates interest, and takes the "curse" off the call. Not knowing what to say creates enough anxiety to stop calls before they even start – that 300lb phone!
2. There is an expectation and accountability around call volume.  This is a management issue.  Managers must have call volume and appointment expectations for salespeople and hold the team accountable to the daily activity. 
3. Salespeople receive phone skills training and coaching.

So how can you put the lessons of the Private Sale phone blitz to work in your day to day outgoing phone calls?  Simple.  Use the same 3 step introduction for every call. For example, here is an outgoing prospecting call to an existing service customer:

1. Introduce yourself. "Hello Mr. Smith. It's Jim calling from ABC Motors."
2. Give a benefit statement that tells why you are calling and makes them want to speak to you.  "I'm just calling to see how your vehicle is working for you and to introduce you to our preferred buyers program."
3. Take the curse off the call by getting permission to continue. "Did you have a quick minute to talk?" or "Have I caught you at a good time?"
4. With their permission continue. "Our preferred buyers program links up customers who have vehicles that we have done the servicing on (like yours) with other customers who are looking for a pre-owned vehicle that we just don't have in stock. As you can probably guess, we are able to pay top dollar for vehicles that we know the service history on. We have had buyers looking for a vehicle like your Accord and I was wondering: have you at all been thinking of switching your vehicle?"

Apply the first 3 steps for every outgoing call you make and you will find that they start much more smoothly and you get a positive response. Put some thought into the Benefit Statement – that is the short statement that gives the client a reason to speak with you.

Add up the amount of time you spend in a day or week actually working with clients versus the time you are in the building.  You have the time to do more out going calls that generate more appointments.  Will you do it?  

"The successful person takes advantage of time; the unsuccessful person laments in the lack of it."

Automotivaters is highly recognized and one of the most respected automotive training and consulting companies in Canada. Since 1987, the company has acquired an international client base throughout Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia, French Polynesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and New Zealand.

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Copyright © 2008 by ISI/PAL Automotivaters Inc.
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