By Eve Paletta-Weaver
Have you ever called a store trying to ask a question about a specific product or service and decided right from that call that you will NEVER work with that company no matter how good a deal they may give you?
When a consumer calls your dealership for the very first time, the person who answers the phone is the very first impression of your store.
Lydia Ramsey, Business Etiquette Expert states “Seven seconds is the average length of time you have to do it, and everyone knows that you won’t have a second opportunity”. It does not matter if they are at your location or in an outsourced BDC; it is all the same and needs to be taken seriously to win.
It is important to understand the best way to make that initial connection.
• To accomplish this, it is essential to answer the phone with a welcoming smile. Have you ever tried to sound like you are smiling with a frown on your face? This is not possible. Make sure that you take the initiative to thank them for calling and choosing your store. When you have a sincere happy approach to your intro it gives a customer that initial feeling of comfort.
• Next build a common ground with the consumer so they feel like they are buying from a consultant rather than being sold by a sales person. Make sure that you use their name — it makes them feel important. Don’t be overbearing and pushy. Let the consumer know how much you care and are there to help. By allowing the consumer to feel that connection from the start they are more likely to become a customer for life rather than a customer for a moment.
• Answer the questions that you are asked without selling a car over the phone. So many times consumers have one vehicle in mind, and then when they come in to the store they leave with something completely different. Don’t allow yourself to narrow down the options over the phone by getting into specifics. Use active listening, answering the questions while allowing them to know that you do have a few that have similar options or price ranges it will help to keep this flexibility.
• The goal of the initial phone call is to gather information from the consumer and set the appointment — get them in the door. If they screen you out before they visit your store, you are effectively throwing away your marketing dollars. Once they are on the lot the vehicle specifics and your sales process come into play, you can be on your way to the sale.
Eve Paletta-Weaver is a Dealer Relationship Manager for the . and can be reached at [email protected].