Best Practices on Handling Phone Leads

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By Maggie Gormley

Stud­ies show that 50% of sales for most deal­er­ships start with a phone con­ver­sa­tion. Under­stand­ing how to approach a phone lead is instru­men­tal in con­vert­ing a prospect from a shop­per to a buyer. While phone leads could be con­sid­ered an easy close, many deal­er­ships strug­gle with them — los­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties and money.

For instance, most deal­ers only iden­tify them­selves 70% of the time while on the phone. Prospects want to know who they are call­ing and they have spe­cific ques­tions they want answered. Deal­ers also have less than a 30% chance of get­ting a prospect back on the phone. If you are not answer­ing their ques­tions imme­di­ately, you can almost guar­an­tee the prospect is call­ing a dif­fer­ent deal­er­ship after they hang up.

Con­sider these ideas when han­dling your next call:

When answer­ing a call
• 
Have a smart (and per­son­able) front line – phone greet­ings should always be friendly, enthu­si­as­tic, and pro­fes­sional
• The per­son who answers calls needs to be edu­cated on deal­er­ship inven­tory
• Get the first and last name of the prospect as well as his/her phone num­ber (make sure to pro­vide yours)
• Remind the prospect of what he/she saw on the web­site (How did you hear about us? What site?)

While on the phone:

• Be infor­ma­tive and answer ques­tions, but do not flood the prospect with infor­ma­tion
• Don’t try to sell over the phone – the goal should be to gather infor­ma­tion and get the prospect in the door

Set­ting the appointment:

• Ask the prospect when he/she would like to come in for a test drive and make sure to men­tion any pro­mo­tion that could help close (i.e.: we are cur­rently offer­ing 5 free oil changes with every car pur­chased)
• Ask ques­tions about why the prospect has a cur­rent inter­est in this vehi­cle. This infor­ma­tion can help you select sim­i­lar vehi­cles that match the prospect’s needs
• Edu­cate the prospect on the dealership’s  process of test dri­ving the vehi­cle and dis­cussing options
• Con­sider an “inter­net spe­cial” offer­ing to solid­ify the prospect’s visit to the dealership

Remem­ber:

• The prospect is look­ing for imme­di­ate answers
• The goal is to get the prospect in the deal­er­ship, not to sell the car over the phone
• Treat every prospect as a long-term client – con­vey gen­uine con­cern for their wel­fare
• You have mul­ti­ple toll-free num­bers assigned to your deal­er­ship. Make sure you know where the call came from
•  Always answer pro­fes­sion­ally. Some phone leads will have a “whis­per” before con­nect­ing phone lines

The phone leads you receive can be a valu­able resource if you under­stand how to han­dle each call. Make the most out of your mar­ket­ing invest­ment by imple­ment­ing these best prac­tice suggestions.

Mag­gie Gorm­ley, Busi­ness & Mar­ket­ing at GetAuto.com can be reached by the web­site con­tact form.

 

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