One of the most common challenges dealerships face is appointment no-shows. The phone serves as the bridge between a salesperson and their potential customer, so it is important to leverage effective phone handling practices when inviting customers in for test drives.
Here are 10 proven strategies to increase show rates for your dealership.
1. Be Personable
When a customer calls into your dealership, the most important thing you can do is listen. Instead of jumping straight into a sales-driven conversation, take the time to break down the barrier between you and your potential customer. By intently listening to a customer’s wants and needs for a new car, you can truly show the potential buyer how beneficial coming into the dealership will be.
2. Steer the Conversation Correctly
In order to steer the conversation correctly, make sure you are asking the right questions. If you learn the customer has four kids who play sports and a speed boat they take to lake every weekend in the summer, direct them to an SUV with a third row and maximum towing capacity. An important reminder is that dealers shouldn’t do most of the talking … the customer should.
3. Always Request an Appointment
Being flexible can make a huge difference when speaking with customers that have busy schedules and are hesitant. That’s why it is important to always request an appointment, even if it’s just a 20-minute appointment. Use word tracks to let the customer know that even a short appointment will help them find what they are looking for and will be well-worth the time spent at the dealership.
4. Have Your BDC Step in to Ensure Calls are Being Handled Correctly
Have your BDC agents ensure that every call to your dealerships is answered and handled properly. Calls may slip through the cracks if not enough information is given to the customer over the phone. Booking appointments correctly is the first step to ensuring a customer will come in. BDC agents should also give customers a warm introduction to the salesperson they will be meeting with before the appointment. For example, a BDC agent can say, “You will be meeting with Fred. He’s an expert in the type of vehicle you’re looking for and has three kids too. He’ll text you directly later today to give you his cell phone number in case you have questions that come up before your appointment.” This will make the customer feel more prepared and comfortable to come in.
5. Ask the Customer to Write Down the Appointment
Everyone has experienced a time when an appointment crept up on you and you completely forgot or missed it. An easy strategy to combat this, while still on the phone call, is to ask the customer to grab a pen and wait while they physically write down the date and time of the appointment. Make sure to confirm the customer has written it down correctly. Even if they don’t take the paper around with them, the action of writing it down will increase the chance of them remembering.
6. Put Up an Appointment Board
An effective way to keep your team accountable for the hundreds of appointments they schedule is to have a board up next to your reception area. The board should have the potential customer’s name, the day and time of the appointment, and the salesperson’s name who is assigned to each customer. Having this up will be a visual reminder for everyone since it is in the reception area.
7. Set Clear Expectations for the Visit
It’s important to ease customers’ anxiety about showing up for an appointment by having them feel prepared for what to expect during the visit. This means your team members need to give clear instructions such as where to park, what to bring, where to enter, who to ask for and more. This should be conveyed through multiple forms of communication, such as text and email, and provided in advance of the appointment time.
8. Know the Difference Between a Soft Appointment and a Firm Appointment
A firm appointment is requesting the customer come into your dealership on a specific day and time. This may seem like common knowledge, but salespeople can often be vague when requesting appointment times. For example, inviting a customer to “come in sometime after work” is not setting a firm appointment — it’s a soft appointment. Create a solid commitment by setting a specific time for the customer. A manager can call and confirm the firm appointment with the customer within the same day or at least before the appointment date to take an extra step. We found that there is a 25% show rate on soft appointments vs. a 75% show rate on firm appointments that have been confirmed by a manager.
9. Send a Personal Video as a Reminder
A personalized video is another way to remind your potential buyer to show up for their appointment. Make sure to include the salesperson’s face and the vehicle of interest, if applicable, in the video. This will help the customer identify who they are meeting with when the time comes. A video message also comes across as personable and can start a strong relationship with the customer before meeting.
10. Send a Text Reminder
A phone call should not be the only way a customer is reminded of their appointment. Alternative forms of communication, such as texting, can be beneficial to the customer as it offers a more efficient method of communicating. Getting the customer’s cell phone number before the appointment also gives them room to text you if they have questions. This opens the floor to solid communication and could change a potential customer into a buyer.
Utilizing these 10 strategies on a regular basis will increase show rates at your dealership. There are steps that every staff member can take to improve the odds of a vehicle sale. Build a team of accountability to keep the customer top-of-mind when inviting them into your dealership and leverage proper phone handling techniques to ensure a visit occurs.
If you’d like to learn more about Car Wars, visit www.carwars.com or call 833-745-4217.