How to Boost Appointment Conversions with Positive First Impressions

How to Boost Appointment Conversions with Positive First Impressions

It's crucial to equip your staff with effective phone handling strategies that can make a lasting impression and persuade callers to choose your dealership.

Your dealership only has seven seconds to make a positive first impression with potential buyers. Oftentimes, a first impression is made before your leads walk through your doors. Prospective buyers typically invest a significant amount of time conducting research and reaching out to different stores to determine where they’d like to purchase their vehicle. Therefore, it becomes crucial to equip your staff with effective phone handling strategies that can make a lasting impression and persuade callers to choose your dealership. By implementing these proven strategies, you can help your dealership stand out against the competition and greatly enhance customer experience.

Enhance Customers’ Routing Experience

Potential buyers can develop their first impression before they even speak with your staff. If they encounter long hold times and multiple transfers to different departments, they may grow frustrated and hang up before reaching their desired party. Implementing a multi-ring allows calls to be rerouted to an available staff member. If an agent fails to answer their desk phone, the call is then forwarded to their cell phone or another available agent or manager, thereby ensuring multiple opportunities for the dealership to answer the phone.

Consistently Use Their Name in Conversation

Be sure to take time to learn the customer’s name at the beginning of the call and repeatedly say it throughout the conversation. This frames the conversation as a personalized interaction and gives the impression that you are fully dedicated to assisting them. This, in turn, encourages the caller to feel more engaged and involved in the conversation. Establishing a friendly rapport is more likely to lead to solid relationships with prospective buyers.

Be Genuinely Curious and Ask Questions

Your staff should spend more time asking questions than trying to persuade customers to buy a vehicle over the phone, especially during the initial call. Buyers will immediately be turned away. Instead, train your agents to ask questions and invest in learning what the customer’s needs are. Fostering a conversation based on genuine curiosity will incline your customer to feel your agents are fully committed to helping them choose the right vehicle. Your agents will also have the opportunity to learn more about what the customer’s needs are and provide personalized suggestions.

Provide Flexibility with Scheduling Appointments

Proactively invite callers into your dealership, [HS3] whether it’s for a test drive or an in-depth conversation on what they are looking for. Find time in a customer’s busy schedule by being flexible and utilizing the “Whittle and Shepard” technique. Rather than asking when they are available, start with providing a broad range of appointment times and then drill down to two specific times.

For example, ask if morning or afternoons are better for the customer. Based on their answer, provide two appointment times within the given time frame. Avoiding open-ended questions alleviates the pressure and stress for a customer to shuffle through all the times they are available.

Set Firm Appointments

Train your staff to set firm appointments instead of soft appointments to avoid the likelihood of no-shows. Firm appointments are for a specific time and day for the customer to come into the dealership.

For example, “Would you like to come in at 3 p.m. on Friday?On the other hand, soft appointments offer a vague timeframe such as, “Would you like to come in sometime on Friday after work?” There is a 3x higher show rate for firm appointments versus soft appointments.

Set Clear Expectations

Setting clear expectations helps your customers feel more prepared and eases any anxieties that would prevent them from showing up for their firm appointments. Provide your customers with parking instructions, let them know what documents to bring and offer multiple forms of communication to reach you in case they have questions ahead of their appointment. Asking the customer for their email and cell phone number provides the opportunity for your dealership to send personalized appointment reminders. Customers will feel attended to and welcomed before they step foot into your dealership.

Quickly Follow Up with Missed Opportunities

Unconnected calls will inevitably slip through the cracks, so it is crucial for your dealership to implement a follow-up process to quickly recapture missed opportunities. There is a key difference between answered calls and connected calls. To be deemed as “connected,” callers much reach a qualified agent who can answer their questions. Therefore, it is helpful for your dealership to have the proper tools to easily find stranded callers. Your dealership should place dedicated time blocks in the day to make outbound calls and recapture missed opportunities.

Training staff to deliver top-notch service over the phone can be a game-changer for your dealership and increase the number of booked appointments. To further enhance your staff’s skills, listening back to their own calls and following key metrics provides a personalized approach to understand where they can improve.

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