25 Oct

As promised, here is the next installment of our blog posts on handling incoming sales calls. In my last post, we looked at how poorly the average dealership handled these calls and how much money was being lost by not taking advantage of these opportunities. In this installment, we will talk about what should be your goal for every call and techniques for reaching those goals.

Your first goal with every sales call is to get the potential customer’s contact information. You cannot, however, make it sound like you are filling out a form or grilling the customer. Studies have shown that callers make a decision on whether they like someone on the telephone in about 10 seconds.

Your second goal during the phone call is to get an appointment for the customer to come to your dealership. Despite all the advances in technology we have experienced, you still can’t buy a car over the phone. This applies to Internet leads, as well. Although potential customers do much more research online today than they have ever done in the past and your first contact may be by web lead or telephone, the actual purchase will still usually take place face-to-face. If you don’t get them in the dealership, you’re not going to sell them a car.

The secret to success in handling incoming calls is to be friendly but professional and control the conversation to get the potential customer to provide the information you want in the course of normal conversation.

Here is an example:

(phone rings)                                                          Always try to answer within 3 rings

Good Morning. Thank you for calling ABC Motors. My name is Al, may I ask who I am speaking with?

             Good Morning Al. My name is Julie Smith.

Good Morning, Julie. How can I assist you today?

             I’m looking for a new minivan.

Outstanding! We have a great selection of minivans. Have you purchased from us here at ABC Motors before?

             No, I was just driving by the other day and I saw you had a few I liked.

Since you haven’t purchased here before, Julie, I’d like to explain how our financing works. Would that be OK?

             Sure, that was actually one of my questions.

Great. Here at ABC Motors we are concerned more about your future than your past. We offer financing based upon your stability and ability to pay, not your credit history. We set up your payments for each time you get paid to make it easier to budget. How does that sound to you, Julie?

             That sounds great.

Super. Now, what exactly are you looking for in your new minivan?

             Well, I prefer Chrysler or Chevrolet. I don’t really like Fords. We have 3 children so I want one with 3 rows of seats. Of course, we’re looking for one with air and we’d like power locks with the remote.

Anything else?

             I see an awful lot of tan or brown vans, I’d like something different. White or blue or              red, maybe.

Good. I noticed you said ‘we’ when you were describing what you are looking for. Is there somebody else who would be involved in the decision, Julie?

             Yes, my husband.

OK. We have a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan in white and a red 2004 Chevy Uplander and both have all the features you are looking for. When can we make an appointment for you to come in to take a look and drive them?

             I can come in tomorrow after work.

Great. What time do you get off work?


So shall we say 4:30?

           That would be great. My husband gets off at 5:00 and he works just a few blocks      from there so he can meet us then.

That will work. Julie, can I get your phone number in case something would come up and I would need to call you?

             It is 987-654-3210. That’s my cell number.

Great. Thank you, Julie. By the way, what is your husband’s first name?

It’s Jim.

OK, thank you again. Now, have I answered all your questions, Julie?

             I think so.

Well, if you think of any more, please call me. Why don’t you write down my name and number? As I said before my name is Al and my last name is Scott   S-C-O-T-T. My number is 800 – 123 – 4567.

             Got it.

Great. So just to review, you’re going to come in tomorrow at 4:30 and were going to look at a few minivans. Did I get that right, Julie?


Good. Then I look forward to meeting you tomorrow. Have a great afternoon and I will see you then.

A pretty simple conversation but if you maintain control, are friendly and let the potential customer know you are truly interested in helping them, your sales conversation can go like this. We got the customer’s contact information, set an appointment and know which vehicles we will be showing them. We tried a few trial closes and established rapport with the customer. A successful call.

In this post, we have looked at what we should do on an incoming sales call. In my next blog, I’ll talk about some of the things you shouldn’t do, like talk about price. Watch for that early next week.