First things first. Sell the appointment!

Hey Everyone!
A neat thing I noticed while training one of the newest members of our net department caught my attention this week. If anyone out there is having anything but excellent results with their new hires this maybe something to look into.
In our net department we have a proven set of practices we follow to get the best results. One of the main ideas we focus on is getting our leads on the phone to sell them on an appointment. Notice I said appointment, not a car. Here is where his confusion started.
For anyone new in the business this may be a hard idea to grasp until they become fully fluent in our best practices. My new trainee is doing a great job, however, he was way to hung up on selling his prospects a car over the phone. While listening to him work I noticed him struggling with issues such as price and availability, both issues we have rebuttals for, but they were causing a bit of call reluctance in this case. After a few bad calls where he ran into what in his eyes were unsurmountable obstacles he became frustrated he was unable to set appointments with these prospective buyers. He was focusing on selling them a car...and that was the problem.
Something we strive to do, as I previously mentioned, is getting the prospect on the phone to sell the appointment not the car. To help clarify this I went over a few of our most successful rebuttals to use when he ran into obstacles and a few points to focus on the help him sell our dealership and the appointment rather than selling a car over the phone. We all know its extremely difficult to sell a lead over the phone, but once they arrive anything can happen. This was an oversight on my part, assuming that the trainee understood the theory behind the practice. After working with him on some of his hang ups about common problems and how to address them, as well as what he would need to do to sell the appointment, he got a much better picture of what his goal was when he got a customer on the phone. He didn't have to worry about selling the car, just the appointment. He set three for the day and one of them wound up being a sale.
This simple adjustment where he realized that his goal was much simpler than what he thought and easier to attain than he was experiencing boosted his confidence greatly and helped him understand his job much better. I know for a fact now that he is looking forward to making his calls tomorrow and getting those appointments on the board!

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Comment by Walt Kustra on May 4, 2010 at 3:37pm
Catherine,
I like it. The idea of turning the discussion away from specific vehicle price to a consultative discussion about options is a key point I am glad you brought up. What we have certainly found is many of our customers do end up purchasing a different vehicle than they did inquire about, and sending the multi vehicle quote with a few pre owned options will open the door to this type of discussion much earlier in the process. We have been familiarizing ourselves with responselogix much more in the past few weeks after a very nice visit from one of your reps. Bobby Preston has been analyzing the information presented to him, and after we get last month all wrapped up and the ball rolling for may, I expect him to revisit our options as far as this is concerned. I am a big fan of your product and hope we can find a way to integrate it into our sales process!
Comment by Catherine Edwards on May 4, 2010 at 12:00pm
Walt,

You will close more customers by responding quickly with a high-quality multi-vehicle price quote. To be the one that wins the customer’s attention requires price transparency and a respect for the customer’s information-gathering process.

I'm the Marketing Director at ResponseLogix and want to provide a little insight on how we execute multi-vehicle price quotes on internet leads within 10 minutes. Our SmartQuote solution will provide the new car buyer with three price quotes based on the model and trim requested: conservatively equipped, comfortably equipped and generously equipped. In addition, we will provide up to four quotes for pre-owned alternatives.

By providing a multi-vehicle price quote you are giving the consumer choice and this will change the conversation between you and the car buyer from price to a more consultative discussion about options.

Our best practices recommendation would be for you to make a phone call to the car buyer within 20 minutes of receipt of the SmartQuote to set up the appointment. Then alternate either calling or emailing the car buyer every day for the next week.
Our SmartFollow solution will automatically follow-up and reactivate leads if the customer doesn’t buy right away.
Comment by Walt Kustra on May 3, 2010 at 10:57pm
Tobias,
I dig your enthusiasm my man! I can feel it coming of the screen! You hit the nail on the head as far as what I was talking about here.

I want our people to be genuine and to solve problems and answer questions. Things that it takes a lot of listening to do.

Having my trainee focus on selling our store and himself alleviated a lot of pressure he was putting on himself as far as customers expectations. He no longer worried about the price of the car (he really didnt know) or the equipment (hes just learning). What he did know was that he was working for a great store and he is a great kid that people would love to buy a car off of. Once he started concentrating on selling that, people started coming in.

They may have got quotes everywhere else, heck we would give them one too with no issue, but its the person that always sticks out in their mind. They get 5 quotes all about the same and buy off the PERSON the like the best. You gotta be persistent and give your self the chance to shine!
Comment by Walt Kustra on May 3, 2010 at 10:43pm
Hey Catherine,
Great points! Thanks for commenting! I have a question for you though. Do you think we best win a customers attention by being the first person to send out a quote? I agree in a lot of cases like you stated there are customers who will only respond to price. These customers tend to be the hardest to please and the smallest of grosses. However, there is a percentage of people out there looking for more. The ones that will take a phone call and talk to you. Tell you what they want and listen to what you have to say. That want you to SELL them. Sell them on the dealership, the car, and most importantly yourself. They are not strictly price motivated and are going to send you tons of referrals after they buy because they are looking for a better experience and a great place to do business. I still certainly am transparent with these people, ill give them all the info they want, I just would like a chance to take my best shot at them on the phone to try and move the process along. Why should I just fire out a quote to these people when I may have a chance to talk to them first and sell them?
That being said...I know I miss out on some of these deals that are only looking for the cheapest, quickest quote and it bothers me. I want to sell them all! How do we still give ourselves the opportunity to be salespeople without losing the price only customers?
What we normally do is try to get them on the phone or to respond by email within a day or two. If we are getting no response, at that point we start sending out quotes. What I have found is most peoples buying cycle online is way more than 2 days. So I am still getting the quote out to them fast enough, but I am also giving myself a chance to do my job which is selling. The internet has turned a lot of our deals into "orders". Ill take as many orders as my customers want to place, but I would much rather make a sale anyday!
Does this DRM you speak of have some type of que you can put quotes in to give a rep time to contact and try to sell the appointment before we send the quote out. This may help solve a problem of ours where we may forget to manually send quotes out every second or third day after a new lead comes in.
Comment by Catherine Edwards on May 3, 2010 at 5:59pm
Your new trainee needs to find a way to provide any customer who submits a lead with a high-quality and rapid response. The problem is that the customer wants an immediate price quote and will keep dealers at bay (phone / email / internet lead vs. walk-in) until they have decided who they want to work with. To be the one that wins the customer’s attention requires price transparency and a respect for the customer’s information-gathering process.

Fortunately there are Digital Response Management (DRM) solutions that will execute multi-vehicle price quotes within 10 minutes regardless of what the salesperson happens to be doing at that moment, such as taking another customer on a test drive.
Comment by Tobias Sedillos on April 22, 2010 at 7:39pm
Good stuff Walt - this may help him to get in the right frame of mind: remind him that he is in the "people" business, not the "car" business; and that his product is "himself" - not his cars. The best part about his product - is that his clients can't get it anywhere else, but to really see everything great about this is to schedule a convenient time to get together. Once his clients see that his concern is for taking care of them, and helping them make the best decision - they will soon realize that getting together to meet is the next best logical step. Go a little beyond being nice - be genuine, and be really nice.

I have seen my clients show up with a list of people the called - often times with a star, or circling my name with "Nice" written next to it. Trust me - it works.

Let me know if I can help in any way,

Tobias
303-827-4785

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