The Phone is often your First Impression

There was a lot of back and forth regarding my last blog about taking control of the customer as not the best thing to do. Let’s clarify this by separating First Impressions and Making the Sale.

When a dealer markets itself, it does so in order to increase OPPORTUNITIES.  The more OPPORTUNITIES, the more sales is the thinking.  The largest percentage of those opportunities first touch our dealership via the phone (whether the marketing is online, email, postal, etc.).  Therefore, our first chance to make a good first impression is via the phone.  If we have 500 phone calls in a month and only 100 of those people come in, we only really got 100 opportunities to exercise our sales abilities.  However, if we had a method of having 300 or more appointments from those 500 calls, we would have 3 times the opportunity to exercise our sales abilities…right?

On the phone, when you answer a question with a question, you are NOT making a good first impression.  The impression you are making is that you are trying to sell, control or evade – not the best way to make a customer WANT to come in.

The phone is the number one point of entry and therefore the number one place to make a good first impression.  So, we want to minimize all negative impressions and maximize all positive ones and therefore, maximize our number of appointments. In short, we never want to alienate the potential customer.  We want them to feel like they are buying, not that we are selling.

Answer questions with answers.  Don’t sell and don’t try to control.  Tom Watson’s 20 plus years of research says that 85% of customers will suggest the appointment if their questions are satisfactorily answered.

You might consider trying a phone approach like this: “this is Joe Smith, I’d like to make sure all of your questions are answered, so please, what can I help you with?”

  • Answer the questions as best as you can
  • Don’t answer questions that have not been asked
  • Don’t interrupt, let the customer stay with their thought process so that they get all of their questions out.
  • When in doubt, don’t talk.

Once a customer has come in to the dealership, than we can debate the value of various sales methods employed and taught around the country.  The point here is simple, the phone is the first impression.  Save the selling, the control, the needs analysis, etc., for when you are face to face…after the phone call.  The statistics are heavily in your favor if you do.

Again, thanks to the material from Tom Watson and his Skill Development Systems www.skildev.net  Tom is currently working with Bell Ford in Phoenix at their request.  He will be there for the next two days.

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About dealerite

National affiliations of professionals who are engaged in changing the culture of the automobile retail business. Key focuses currently include Compliance, Behavioral Marketing and Phone Skills.
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