Have you ever tried baking a cake without one of the key ingredients? Forget the baking powder, and your cake will come out flat. Forget the sugar, and you’ll lose the flavor. Forget the eggs, and you’ll be left with a cake that’s far too dense. Each key ingredient provides a crucial component to your final product.
Whether baking a cake or grilling a perfect steak, you can’t miss a step – and if you do, it won’t turn out right. Just like in your favorite recipe, every step in the customer’s car buying process is crucial, and it all starts on the phone. By winning them over from the beginning, you create trust and a build a connection. Check out these five steps you can’t afford to miss in your phone handling process.
Connect, Connect, Connect
Connecting inbound calls to a sales agent who can help is step one in the customer’s journey and your phone handling process, but also the most important ingredient in your recipe. This does not mean the phone was simply answered, or that the customer spoke to a receptionist who transferred them to a voicemail. Connecting a call means every caller is getting ear to ear with a qualified agent who is available to answer all of their questions. It is important to understand who is answering the phone at your dealership and if customers are being left on extended holds. In 2021, Car Wars found 28.33% of unconnected callers hung up on hold with an average hold time being three minutes. If a potential Sales opportunity calls and never even makes it to an agent’s line, you are losing their business immediately. Make sure your customers are getting to an agent who is readily available to help.
Request and Invite Every Sales Opportunity
Step two in your phone process recipe is to request and invite every customer into your dealership for a test drive every time inventory is discussed. You aren’t selling the car over the phone, you’re selling the appointment. While there may be roadblocks with inventory, it is crucial that agents are equipped with techniques to overcome these objections. Offer an older model of the same vehicle to test drive or provide similar styles of vehicles that still meet the customer’s needs. If your dealership is part of a larger automotive group, rotate inventory among other stores. When dealers ask for the appointment, nine out of 10 customers give us some form of a yes. Once you have built trust and they are in your dealership, they are more likely to purchase from you instead of the competition down the road.
Set FIRM Appointments
After getting a customer to agree to come in, it is time to get an appointment scheduled. First, understand the difference between a firm and soft appointment. A firm appointment means scheduling for a specific date and time – Monday at 3:30 p.m. – and a soft appointment is more vague – Saturday morning. Aim for setting firm appointments to increase the likelihood of customers actually showing up because we all know the frustration of prepping for a customer to come in who ends up being a no-show. On average, 75% of customers who agree to a firm appointment will show up, versus the 25% show rate for soft appointments.
Pursue Every Missed Opportunity
Making outbound calls is an important follow-up step to connecting calls and getting prospects back on the phone. Reach out to your most important and valuable leads first, salvage any missed opportunities or no-shows and hold your staff accountable for true outbound performance. With current inventory challenges, pursue prospects who called about a specific make and model as soon as you get that car on your lot.
The Icing on the Cake: Service
Over half of inbound call volume in 2021 occurred in service. Dealerships’ service departments are unfortunately often overlooked when it comes to managing phone processes, despite often being the most profitable area of the dealership. Don’t let your service department fall behind — ensure they are prepared to connect every caller to the correct service representative, request every customer come in for an inspection and set firm appointments. By doing so, your service bays will remain full and customers will be more likely to show up for their appointments. Also, don’t forget to make outbound calls for status updates, no-shows and declined Service follow-ups. Mastering the phones in service is the icing on the cake to a proper phone handling process at your dealership.
The phone is a customer’s first impression of your dealership, and without a proper system in place, callers will be left with a negative phone experience leading them elsewhere. Perfect your cake recipe and turn it into a dessert your agents can’t live without.
To learn more about how Car Wars is helping thousands of sales and service departments gain valuable insight into 100% of inbound and outbound calls to capture more opportunities over the phone, visit https://www.carwars.com/home/.