In 2022, we found that the average dealership connected 28.7% of its outbound calls to intended customers. That leaves a whopping 71.3% of all outbound calls unconnected. This call connection metric has remained overall consistent over the past four years. Furthermore, when a dealer is cold calling prospective customers with no prior call history, average outbound call connection dips to 15.8%! Here are a few tips to improve your agents’ odds of getting connected with customers on outbound calls.
1. Call During Optimal Times
Dealers have the most success reaching customers on outbound calls when calling during the morning hours. In general, the most successful time to make outbound calls is 11 a.m., followed by 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., respectively. However, when looking specifically at outbound cold calls (no previous call history to or from the customer) made during business hours, the best time of the day to get a live call connection is at 8 a.m.
With that in mind, it’s important to prioritize making outbound calls first thing in the morning. Ensure any reoccurring meetings are moved to the afternoon, and consider blocking off a couple hours each morning specifically dedicated to outbound calling campaigns to ensure these efforts are efficiently checked off the to-do list.
2. Focus on Low Hanging Fruit
With the average outbound cold call connecting at a rate of only 15.8%, it’s easy for your agents to get discouraged when making outbound calls. That said, be sure to motivate your staff by also teeing up outbound calls that have a higher success rate, like follow-up calls from missed opportunities. Missed opportunities include callers who never connected to someone who could help at the dealership, hung up while on hold, left a voicemail message, weren’t invited into the dealership for an appointment or were booked for a soft appointment.
Outbound calls to customers designated as missed opportunities that occur within one week of the customer’s original call connect at a rate of 48.5%. Compared to cold calls that connect to customers just 15.8% of the time, these missed opportunities are low hanging fruit and can help keep your team from getting discouraged.
3. Stay Persistent and Act Smart
Even when a dealer is following up on a missed opportunity, it takes an average of 3.3 calls to get a customer back on the phone. That said, it’s important to remain persistent and not give up after one or two calls to a customer go unconnected. Your marketing dollars worked hard to bring that customer in; don’t let that money go to waste after just one attempt to get back in touch!
With today’s modern technology, don’t discredit the value of using alternative forms of communication such as text messages, emails, videos and voicemail messages. When used intentionally, these methods of communication can personalize your outreach, allow you to stand out from the competition and get you back in touch with your prospective buyers.
4. Avoid Getting Flagged as Spam
Phone carriers’ efforts to combat spam calls can negatively impact even the most well-intentioned outbound calls from your team. Recently, many dealers have noticed a trend of their phone number being flagged as “Spam Likely” on customers’ phones. This clearly impacts call connection rates as customers are much less likely to pick up the phone when it may be a spam risk.
That said, it’s important to register your outbound caller IDs with national phone carriers. In doing so, your lines are registered as a legitimate business and verified as coming from the proper source. This authenticates your outbound efforts and removes the headache of combating “Spam Likely” to focus on what matters — connecting with customers.
It’s easy for dealers to get discouraged making outbound calls when only 28.7% of calls connect with the intended customers. However, by calling during optimal times, focusing on low hanging fruit, staying persistent and avoiding “Spam Likely” designations, your team can improve your odds of getting connected and spend more time converting valuable opportunities.
Heather Servi is the senior director of marketing for Car Wars. To learn more, visit www.carwars.com/home/a/demo.