Look we all know the number one goal with internet leads is to set the appointment but from my experience the classic phone training most BDC departments implement no longer work. Consumers want information and want it fast so when you take a call and the customer asks is this vehicle still available what do you? The "classic way" would be to say "I'm not sure can you hold on a minute" or "I will go out and look or can I take down your name and number and give you a call right back". If you called any other business and they pushed you off to call you back when they have time you probably wouldn't want to give them your information. Why is the car business any different? 

Why not get into more detail about what they are really wanting by simply asking them this question "I am confident this vehicle is still available, what other questions do you have about it? You then let them tell you how to sell them on this vehicle. 

I have done this both ways and I can say the sales have increased 30% at my dealership because we learned how to sell the customer over the phone...YES THAT'S RIGHT OVER THE PHONE! I know that is not the way we do it but why not?

We treat them just as we would if they were a fresh up. If they ask for your best price don't just give it them ask them what will it take to earn their business. They will answer! Sometimes you will be shocked that they only ask for a couple hundred off or sometimes you get the person that thinks all dealerships have 5k in markup and throw a low ball offer out there. Either way you say I am not sure I can do that but I will talk to my manager and call you right back. What is the number I can reach you at in a few minutes? Not only did you just get an offer but you also got their contact information.

One thing I love to do is find out if I have a payment buyer  right off the bat because I then can qualify them over the phone. If they are going to make payments I simply ask what payment will fit your monthly budget? If they are realistic in what they are looking at I will then ask them if I can get you into this vehicle close to your goal when can you come in? Most salesmen and BDC reps would stop there and hope this person can buy the car instead of just asking them a simple question which is " I am pretty sure we can get you close to that payment....I assume your credit is perfect right?" Either way they answer.  If I can save you a lot of time would you be interested? They always say yes! Why don't you visit our website and fill out a credit application so I can make sure we get this all locked up before you make a trip all the way here. That way I can tell you for sure what your payment will be before you even drive all the way here and all you have to do is come out and drive the car, make sure it is everything I said it was, and then go right into the business office to sign the papers. If it isn't everything I said it was I will buy you lunch and pay for your gas.( Make sure it is what you say it is before you say this so you don't get burned and if there are any issues or flaws go out and take pictures of them with your cell phone and send them so there are no surprises) You also gain the customers trust by taking the time to be honest with them and letting them know you are willing to invest in your word. 

You are probably saying to yourself you cant build value over the phone and I am going to lose out on gross because the customer cant see how nice my car is compared to the 4,000 other ones they have looked at online. Lets be honest if you are not priced right you are missing the boat completely and you should look into shutting down all of your 3rd party vendors because you invest in a product that wont work for you. Internet Marketing is all about Price, Pictures, and comments that don't say "this is the best thing since sliced bread contact Jack for more details". Please don't be cheap or lazy pay someone pull the build sheets of all of your vehicle's and put in real information about your vehicle because that is what they want! 

Please comment and let me know your thoughts! 

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Bravo!!!  I am glad to see someone think outside the box.  I agree that traditional phone training really does not work anymore.  I think we need to take the traditional phone training basic methods and modernize them to fit our own personality.  No matter whom you train phone skills they will never sound like you anyway.  It varies by voice, style, word choice, attitude, mood, and many other factors.  This is why I am not a fan of traditional call coaching where a company trains their people their basic phone script and then coaches calls based on the specific outline.  The reality is that all calls are different and the situation may perhaps be different.  I believe that a dealership or BDC within the dealership needs to evaluate their marketing efforts and create their own phone scripts or processes that work.  They need to figure out what to measure in the calls for effectiveness.  Cut out what does not work and take the best practices, stick them together and manage it.  Train your people a few times a week and listen to the calls.  If the marketing changes because you send out direct mail, prospect local businesses, or even do some traditional advertising you need to have a custom game plan.

Awesome comment! Thanks!

You're right Jason. "I have to make sure it's still available, give me your name and number, I'll call you right back" is indeed off-putting for anyone's customers. Also, this strategy invites them to immediately dial the next dealer on the Search Results Page. It's no surprise that when you do call back no one picks up. They've probably already set an appointment with the guy down the street and are on their way there.

"I'm confident it's still available..." is a great way to begin an answer to the caller's question about availability, and I'd be careful about finishing with "what other questions do you have about it?" The reason is the question is so open that it might invite a price objection too early in the call. 

Everyone is better at guiding a conversation, overcoming objections and closing when they have established rapport/trust with their caller. So you could say, "I'm confident it's still available and I'll check on that in a moment. By the way, what made you pick this particular <model>?" Now they can talk with you about their needs and wants, you'll have the opportunity to build that rapport, and you'll discover information you can use to overcome price objections if they do come up after you've asked for the appointment. The point is you'll often set appointments without having to get into price. 

Yes, that question might sound like it comes from a scripted call guide. And I agree with Stan that everyone will have their own style. When call training is too highly scripted it doesn't take into account all the possible scenarios that might surface. The challenge though, is that sales staff often take statements like these to mean that they can handle calls their own way and they wing it. 

There has to be a certain amount of practice so that effective concepts are internalized and no one is flying by the seat of their pants. Repetition provides a sound foundation for improvisation. And after your staff has the Basics down, that's when you should definitely customize.

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