There is no question that the car gets sold at the dealership, but the recent numbers tell us that somewhere around 70% of all sales involve the telephone. It could be a “Phone Up,”‘ an outbound call made during long-term follow-up, a call made from an Internet Lead, a call to get a “Be Back” back, a referral call, or an appointment confirmation made by the BDC. Whatever the reason the phone comes into play 70 percent of the time and if there is one thing that stands out when it comes to selling cars it is the lack of car sales phone skills. I could probably write an entire book on using the telephone in the car sales process, but for now, I just want to provide some basic tips.

car sales phone skills

I am sure that I have listened to thousands of recorded inbound calls and made many mystery shop calls. Yet I am still amazed at the number of these calls that do little to aid in the sale of a vehicle, and some even seem to do their best to cause the potential customer to choose another dealership. The customer that makes the effort to car your dealership and ask for the sales department wants to buy a car, but the way the call is handled and the phone sales skills used will determine if they will visit your dealership or some other dealer.

Let’s face it, every question a caller asks and you answer could potentially remove your dealership from their list of places to visit or buy. In most cases, the purpose of their telephone call is to eliminate you. Customers aren’t driving from dealer to dealer to see if you have a specific color or model anymore they are using the Internet and your website. You can see this yourself by comparing the number of visits to your website to the number of Ups you receive each month. If you are fortunate, some of these potential buyers will call your dealership and ask, but if they talk to someone with poor car sales phone skills at your dealership, you are out of the running.

Car Sales Phone Skills Tips

When you are making an outbound call or picking up an inbound call, you should be prepared to talk the talk and not merely provide the caller with all the information they need to eliminate you and your dealership from the running. Here are a few car sales phone tips you should remember whenever you are talking on the telephone at the dealership.

  1. What’s in it for them? They don’t care about what you want. They are calling to save themselves time and money, so you need to provide them with the benefits of coming to see you. You don’t need to offer more information than they are requesting, which is a common mistake made by unseasoned sales professionals and one that can easily eliminate you from the competition to earn their business.
  2. Ask for an appointment! You can’t close a deal if you don’t ask them to buy, and you can’t get them to come to your dealership if you don’t ask them to come in and let you show them all of the great features of the vehicle they are considering.
  3. Create urgency! There is no reason for them to run down to your showroom today if you have 43 red ones with the sunroof in stock. However, if you do have one or two and you tell that that you had several calls on that vehicle you are giving them a reason to come and see as soon as possible.
  4. Get their name and phone number! If they are calling in and looking for a particular car they are a buyer so before you give them all the information they are requesting, make sure you get the name and number so you follow up with them if you can’t set an appointment while you are on the phone. Ask for their name right away and then ask their number a little later in the conversation. I have sold many cars by following up on a phone up. They might not be ready today, but they are going to buy or they wouldn’t have gone through the effort of making the call and one of the most important car sales phone skills.
  5. Ask questions! I have heard hundreds of calls where the caller asks for the finance department only to inquire about the current finance incentives, which any salesperson should know like the back of their hand. Then the caller comes into the dealership and buys a car, but they didn’t have an appointment or ask for a particular salesman, so they end up with whoever is lucky enough to Up them when they hit the lot. This could have been you if you asked them if you could help and answered their question about financing.
  6. Down payment requests! You would be surprised how many people call and ask how much down payment they need to buy and finance a car. You could tell them it depends on their credit score and the car they select which will end up going over their head or you could tell them that most of your customers don’t put any money down when they buy a car and then ask for the appointment. If they are asking, they are usually hoping that they won’t need any money down so make it easy for them. Once you get them in the showroom you can better educate them on the merits of putting money down when they buy a car, but first you need to get them to your dealership.
  7. Poor credit questions! People with excellent credit don’t call and ask if you can finance them with less than great credit, but people with weak credit do. You don’t need to get into the details over the phone so you tell them you work with several lenders, and then you see people buy cars every day at your dealership with credit problems. Some of the best-paying deals I have made were with people that had questionable credit. We know that we rarely make great grosses of those with excellent credit, but those who have weak credit that can get financed can make your day. Don’t make any snap judgments on their ability to get financed until they are at the dealership, get them in!
  8. Enthusiasm sells cars and appointments! We know enthusiasm is contagious on the showroom floor and the same goes for talking on the phone to a potential customer that is trying to decide if they should come to your dealership. Would you want to do business with someone than sounded like they just woke up or would you rather go and see someone that sounded excited about helping you on the telephone? It sounds crazy, but the old saying of putting a smile in your voice will get you more appointments and, ultimately, sales than anything you can say on the phone.

These basic tips on car sales phone skills are just the tip of the iceberg, but based on my experience and testing these are the ones that have the biggest impact on your sales results. Like anything the difference is in the details and with the telephone having an influence on 70% of all car sales you can see the importance of bring your phone skills up to speed.

It doesn’t matter if you work on the floor, in the BDC or you are an Internet Sales Manager, the telephone is an important part of being successful in the car business. Remember, people buy from people, so pay close attention to how and what you say when you are on the telephone with a potential car buyer because car sales phone skills make a big difference when it comes to making a six-figure income in the car business.

Later, Fresh Up on the Lot


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