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Zenith Dealer Solutions Blog

Why Do Customers Call the Sales Department?


Crossing the Barrier of Initial Contact—the Phone Call

Before the presentation, before the test drive, and before the sale, the customer must cross the barrier of the the first contact with your dealership. In most cases, this is the phone call. That call is the most desired result of your advertising efforts, and the goal here is to establish good rapport, answer questions, set an appointment, and have the customer show up to the dealership. The inability to do this will undermine the most successful marketing or advertising campaigns.

Today’s Customer Knows What They Want

Whether a millennial or baby boomer, today’s internet-savvy customer has already done their research. After all, the information is out there for free. They’ve completed their product selection. They know the features they want. Customers look at countless sources of information and reviews during their initial research stages. Statistics show that sixty percent of the buying decision is made before a call. So what are the reasons they are calling your sales department?

Most Common Calls to Your Sales Department

The call to your sales department is usually the last step before visiting the dealership, so you should be familiar with handling the most common types—and get that customer into the dealership.

Availability (Do you have it in your inventory?)

  • Yes—”Great News, I have that Sea Ray!” Offer times for a test drive and ask for the appointment.
  • No—Engage the customer: “While I check on the availability...” Find out their needs, what are they really looking for (accessories, engine, seats, etc.), then offer choices you do have in inventory and ask for the the appointment. Studies show that 85% customers buy something else that they called on.
Inquiry (Looking for information)

  • “Does it have the casting chairs, the wake board racks, the depth finder?”
    They are ready to buy. All you need to do is answer their questions AND ask for the appointment.
Price (Validating or Negotiating)

  • Validating (Is the price real?)
    You’re priced to market and the customer is making sure the price is real. Reassure them that there is no hidden “best” price, and ask for the appointment. No one will call if you’re overpriced, so your goal here is to set the appointment.
  • Negotiating (Whole deal on the phone, price-driven)
    Customer wants to negotiate the whole deal over the phone. Give them your best price, but when they want trade, interest rate, financing, and all of the out the door data, then you can respond with:

    “Mr. Jones, here at ABC Boat Dealer no one beats us on price. Let’s schedule an appointment, bring us your best written, local offer, and if we cannot meet or beat it, we’ll get you a tank of gas and a gift card to (restaurant of choice, here). How does that sound. Is today at 3:00pm or 3:45 good?”
Scheduling (Wants a Test Drive)

  • This one should be easy: schedule a time convenient for the customer.
  • Can be disguised with: ”Is it in stock?”

    Agent response: “I saw it this morning, and at that price it won’t make it through the weekend. I have two times available for a test drive today, 11:45 and 12:30. Which one is better for you?”

    Listen and let the customer set the appointment convenient for them.

The customer called your dealership, so your goal is to maximize this opportunity to set an appointment that shows.

Train, Practice, Prepare, and Set the Appointment

The best preparation for these calls is to use detailed telephone scripts modified to reflect what media generated the lead and training emphasizing role playing. Nothing will ensure repeated success better than a well-scripted call after practice and rehearsal.

At the time a shopper picks up the phone to call your dealership you're at the zero moment of truth. Every single person in your dealership answering the phones should be able to expertly handle that phone call to set the appointment. If that's not the case, make the investment in training. How your phone agents handle that call is key. The phone is where it all begins or where it can end before it ever gets started! Place your focus and coaching there and you will reap the rewards.

Zenith Dealer Solutions not only offers the best in the industry alerting on missed calls to you sales department, but also point-of-error training for you agents. Find out how you can have superstar appointment setters in you dealership today!

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Topics: Marketing ROI phone skills phone process