The Inbound Sales Call: First Impressions

By Ted Schuler

We discussed in our last article the importance of the telephone in today’s competitive business and the need for training with all your salespeople. The phone skills an individual has or does not have directly impact the business’ bottom line simply due to the fact that telephone will affect roughly two thirds of your business. This is not something we can continue to ignore and hope our people get better through osmosis. We all know that “Hope is not a Strategy”

Your Salespeople, Service Advisers and dealership in general are at a huge disadvantage if they are not offered some kind of instruction on how to speak effectively to potential customers on the telephones.

Studies show that over 95% of sales customers are shopping via the Internet and that they will spend up 15-20 hours searching for what they want to purchase. So how do our people interact with our well-informed customers? Using the antiquated scripts from years ago is NOT the answer, especially since the Internet has completely changed how we buy things today.

We call this change The Three I’s of today’s consumer. Because the Internet has changed the way we shop for almost everything today, we demand Instant Information, Instant Value, and Instant Gratification. We get these three every time we visit Amazon. The days of “Let me go put my hands on the vehicle and call you back” are long gone. These old techniques fly in direct conflict with what the consumer wants, which is a “Customer Advocate” not a salesperson.

So what are the keys to the inbound calls today? Let’s discuss that.

THE CALL BEGINS
The Call Framework

The phone rings or is sent to your salesperson from reception. He or she knows it is a sales call. Potential income. A check on the board. So why would they still answer it like this?
“Joe!”
“Used cars!”
Or one of my all-time favorites:
“SALES!”

I know you have heard it a thousand times before but it bears repeating:
You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” So always remember, as a manager or dealer, these salespeople are representing you and the dealership. So, Step #1 in what we call our “Call Framework” for your people is:

SMILE WITH A WARM FRIENDLY GREETING OFFERING ASSISTANCE!
SMILE!
Callers will be able to tell. Offer a warm, friendly greeting. Something as simple as:

Thank you for calling Johnson Motors. This is Ted. How may I help you?”(with a smile.)

Part of our initial sales and manager training includes this question to the group: “Imagine you’re a customer and you’re about to pick up the phone and call a car dealership to speak with a salesperson. What is the one word that best describes your thoughts of the person you are about to speak with?”

The responses we get from the classes are pretty predictable and absolutely not words you would want to hear at your eulogy. Thief, crook and liar are some of the more printable ones for this article. But the point is that the customer’s perception of an automobile salesperson has not changed over the years. So when done properly, our first impression can be a tremendous opportunity to begin to knock out some of the bricks of the wall that are in front us almost every time we take a call.

SMILE WITH A WARM FRIENDLY GREETING OFFERING ASSISTANCE

Along with the Greeting we suggest using a simple technique called the Intro Pause. While a very simple technique the amount of value it brings to the salesperson cannot be measured. We will share that with you next time.

NEXT TIME

Marcom Technologies listened to, critiqued and scored well over 100,000 calls just last year and in our 30 years of business that number is in the millions. We know that over 80% of the time the customer’s first question is about availability.

Tune in again for the next phase of the Call Framework. We will take this important call even further. What is the proper technique to use when answering the first question on a sales call? You will probably be surprised at just how simple and logical it really is. And it will make you so much more money.

Ted Schuler has been in the auto business in sales, management, training and consulting around the world for over 30 years. Marcom Technologies pioneered recording-based sales training in the late 80’s and has continued to develop progressive training techniques to align with today’s ever-changing industry.

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