Best Practices on Handling Phone Leads


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


• 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 can be reached by the website contact form.