Hold the phone.
Whether your inbound sales calls are routed to a Business Development Center or your sales staff, your employees should be properly trained to answer calls before they pick up and start engaging with current or potential customers.
Most dealerships have at least one or two people that are all-stars on the phone. If you have one of these people, ask if that individual will help design some training for the rest of your staff.
A helpful first step is to record your all-star at work on the phone.
If you’re using a phone system with built-in call tracking, this happens automatically.
All you have to do is play the recording back for the rest of your staff, and then ask them to break down how it went. Sometimes just hearing how an experienced salesperson handles a call can do wonders for a trainee’s effectiveness.
For best results, that expert should have experience in the automotive industry. Our industry is unique, and it pays to have trainers who know the ins and outs of selling in a dealership setting.
Whether you use internal staff, bring in someone to help, or both, the key is to train your salespeople to maintain control of their conversations. Here are four tasks training should focus on:
- Using Closed-ended Questions
Avoid open-ended questions in your standard word tracks. Your salespeople need to control the flow and direction of their conversations, and the best way to do that is to ask closed-ended questions.
- Setting an Appointment With Multiple Choice Questions
To get a customer to commit to an appointment, give them simple multiple choice questions. Offer two possible appointment days and then suggest two different times for the customer to choose from. A pro-tip is to make the times are on the quarter-hour (2:00 or 2:45 p.m. instead of 2:10 or 2:50 p.m.). People remember top-of-the-hour, quarter-hour, and half-hour time slots better and are more likely to show up because of it.
- Previewing the Sales Process
Remove as much of the anxiety involved with the purchase decision as possible by providing relevant information over the phone. Inform the prospect what the sales process will look like when they get to the showroom, who they’ll talk to, and what to expect along the way.
- Getting Them to Show
Have a simple checklist of things your salespeople always tell a prospect while they are still on the phone. These are things like: directions to the dealership, where to park, and who to speak to when they arrive. The key is to make potential customers as comfortable as possible, even before they step foot in your store.
Throughout the training process, the trainer should include extensive role play to make sure the staff is comfortable with the process and the talk tracks.
Once the process is turned over to those taking the calls, the trainer should observe and coach them on how to improve.
Finally, make sure ongoing training is in place for new employees as well as refresher training for current employees.
Author: Alex Abramovich
Alex Abramovich joined Reynolds and Reynolds in 2012 as a consultant in Reynolds Consulting Services. He is qualified to consult on CRM process improvements and retail sales operations. Prior to joining Reynolds, he spent 10 years working in various dealership roles, including sales manager, finance manager, and general manager.