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Zenith Dealer Solutions Blog

Don't Get Eliminated On The Phone Call


Studies show that while shopping for a boat, customers will visit an average of ten websites. They will then select several (about seven) dealerships to call and visit maybe two at most. Most customers will visit only one dealership before making the decision to purchase. With all the competition out there, getting chosen as that one dealership is becoming harder and harder.

If your phone is constantly ringing, great! Your dealership is doing well, you’re surviving rounds of eliminations in cyberspace, your brand is strong and appealing to buyers. Now, don’t get eliminated on the next round, the phone call. When customers are close to buying, most will pick up that smartphone, and click-to-call the dealership. Your staff’s phone performance will affect if that caller comes in to the showroom or not.

Industry statistics show that out of an average of 30% of callers that don’t reach a sales agent, roughly 15% are transferred to voice mail, out of which 50% hang up on the voice mail/hold. A surprisingly high number of agents fail to gather even the basic caller information for follow-ups. The dealership invests a lot of money into marketing and getting that phone call, yet less than 25% of the calls result in an appointment.

Most boat dealers are aware that their phones are not handled properly but don’t invest in effective call monitoring systems and processes—all to their detriment. Poor phone handling skills not only result in lost sales and RO’s, but also undermine long-term customer relationships, impacting directly a dealership’s bottom-line.

Are you getting ruled out on that phone call? Or are you ruling yourself out by not having your “A” game on the phone? Let’s get back to the basics and see if your dealership has the right game plan.

Answer quickly.

Don’t the let the phone ring more than 4 times.

Don’t make the receptionist choose.

A receptionist often has to make the choice to engage a customer or to answer the phone, and often the phone call is missed—staff appropriately.

Live answer is the best answer.

Auto attendants and phone trees can become obstacles in optimal communication with your customers; it’s always better to have a person answer the phone.

Warm transfers are a priority.

Your operator should always call the extension to confirm the sales agent is available before transferring the caller to the extension.

Staff according to peak call volume.

Manage your staffing at peak call times so that you’re set up to best accommodate the higher call volume.

Additional Game-Changers:

Text-enable your phone lines.

20% of your outbound calls will result in a text message, so make sure you are you able to receive them, otherwise, you will miss important follow up opportunities that can double your appointment rates.

Get text alarms on mishandled calls.

Calls that go wrong can become second chances if you know about them and act quickly. Set parameters for alerts like hang ups and no appointment set, so the management team has an immediate opportunity to re-engage with the customer.

Don't get ruled out on the phone call by following the simple steps above. If a mistake should happen, you can recover quickly IF you have a phone monitoring system in place that lets you review calls and provides real-time text alarms and call data reports about missed or dropped calls. Follow-up quickly and turn lost opportunities into an appointments. Your dealership spends real dollars to make the phone ring and so does the competition. When the phone rings, be ready to make the most of the opportunity instead of letting the next boat dealership get the appointment.

Need help with getting your phone skills up to par? Give us a shout and we'll get your appointment-setting percentage up!

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Topics: Phone Leads phone skills Dealership Sales