The car sales hand off can used to describe a number of different situations you may encounter in the car sales process. The T.O. or take over a customer hand-off, the car salesman to the sales manager hand-off, the salesperson filling in for a salesman that is off or on vacation or the BDC rep handing off their appointment to a floor salesperson. All of these scenarios are basically a hand-off. I have seen these car sales hand-off process be smooth as silk or on the other end of the spectrum done so poorly that the customer walks before they ever see a car (red lag). There are plenty of times in the car sales process that the hand-off is essential all too often when selling a car the hand-off can make or break any chance of making a deal.

Car Sales Hand Off

Who, What and When of the Car Sales Hand-Off

T.O. or Takeover Scenario: We all know too well that is the only way to go when the car salesperson has hit the wall, personalities clash or there is no longer any forward movement in the deal. Either a sales manager comes in and takes over the customer or another salesperson comes in depending on the process you have at your dealership. However the most common is when the Sales Manager takes over to do what they can to close the sale. The proper car sales hand-off can go a long way to making the sale or it can put up a red flag, shut down the customer and send them on their way.

Proper T.O. or Takeover – No rocket science here, just good old common sense will usually do the job. The current salesperson introduces the sales manager both respectfully and professionally and then the salesperson leaves and lets the sales manager do their thing. (no whispering under your breath or sarcastic comments, just act like a professional and move on) It’s better to let a second sales person or the sales manager close a deal than lose every chance of a sale (car salesman tips). No secret formula, but I have seen salesmen get pulled out of a deal and set off the customer to the point of no return which can get ugly…everybody looses.

Fill In Car Sales Hand-Off

There are times when a customer comes in looking for a particular car salesperson and that person is already with a customer, off for the day (car salesman tribute)or on vacation and the customer needs to be helped. If the person requested is present, but with another customer the customer should be greeted and handed off to an available salesperson as long as the customer does not object to working with someone other than the person they came to see. I am not talking about skating or snaking your coworker’s customers; I am talking about helping your fellow car salesman.

Sometimes this can be an arrangement between salespeople to help each other out or sometimes it can happen unexpectedly. Either way the customer needs to be handled in a professional manner and hopefully with the blessing of the requested salesperson. In this type car sales hand-off scenario many dealerships will split a sold deal between the requested salesperson and the car salesperson that sold the customer. Seems fair, but not everyone agrees and some absolutely refuse to work for half a deal or at least work them like a car sales professional should work with a customer. Too often the salesperson that is doing the fill in car sales hand-off is less that enthusiastic and professional.

Proper Fill In Car Sales Hand-Off

If you work closely with some of your coworkers and help each other in the above scenario that’s great, but it doesn’t work that way at every dealership. When you are the fill in hand off car salesperson you need to treat them as if they were your own customers even if you only get half the deal. Be prepared whenever possible and try to get any information you can in order to treat them like they are special rather than like a stranger. Half a deal is better than no deal. Just remember that car buyers that come through the door asking for a particular car salesperson close at a much higher rate than a fresh up and with higher grosses. Often times that close rate is anywhere from 50 to 90 percent. That certainly beats the chances of closing a fresh up, so would you rather wait for a fresh up or roll the dice and take half a sale through a hand-off which is about the closest thing to a safe bet in the car business you will find? Do the math and you will discover that hand-offs can be a nice way to pick up a deal or at least half a deal and usually with a higher front end gross.

BDC or Internet Car Sales Hand-Off

Every dealership handles the Internet in different ways. Some dealerships have a designated department that only work Internet leads and take care of the customers from lead to delivery or commonly called cradle to grave. Then there are dealers that pass the leads out to their sales staff and let them work them as they see fit (usually the least effective method). Then you have what some might call the Hybrid Internet Department and/or BDC department that works leads, takes sales calls and sets appointments (usually the most effective). Because of the higher efficiency and the specialization of the staff this is starting to become a more popular arrangement in some areas and at larger dealerships.

In this type Internet/BDC arrangement the customer that comes through the door is usually looking for the person that worked their lead or took their phone call. However the car salesman on the floor is the person that actually does the walk-around, demo and the selling.  This is where the BDC or Internet car sales hand-off is especially important, but often lacking in proper execution, which will often, be a red flag for the customer. How well the hand-off is done in this situation is often determines the outcome of the customers visit.

Proper BDC or Internet Car Sales Hand-Off

When the customer walks through the door looking for a BDC or Internet representative they will likely be greeted by a floor salesperson. At this point the salesperson should get their name, ask them to have a seat and go into the sales office and determine the reason for the customers visit. Discover the vehicle they came to see, any prices quoted and any other pertinent information. They return to the customer and tell the customer that that they got tied up with a customer longer than expected and they asked that you (the greeting floor salesperson) show them the specific vehicle that they came to see. The customer realizes you know why they are there and they assume you were asked by their contact to help them. The rest should go smoothly as long as the customer is handled in a professional manner.

If the car salesman tells the customer that the person they came to see does nothing more than set appointments, the customer sees a red flag. They are thinking that they lied to me before I even looked at a car so what else are they going to lie about. That’s strike one within minutes of entering the dealership and now all they are doing is questioning everything said throughout the entire process. Of course it’s also up to the BDC or Internet Department rep to make sure the customer knows that they sometimes get tied up and may have their partner help them when they arrive.

Proper setup and proper execution of the car sales hand-off in all of the above scenarios is critical in order to sell more cars. It can only take one word or one red flag to turn a car buyer into a car shopper or be-back. Trust and rapport is what keeps customers coming back and Internet customers coming to visit your showroom and most importantly all of these types of customers have a much higher closing ratio than fresh ups.

Later Fresh Up on the Lot


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1 Comment

Mercy · September 24 at 4:38 am

I have been hired by a local Company, I am exited and nervous. I have 30 years experience in sales. I am bilingual and I was told that this is a big plus. Any advise for me is appreciated. I have sold just about everything except cars. I was a loan officer in a bank therefore I feel I have an idea of the paperwork involved but never sold a car in my life.


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