I tallied a lot of car sales because of incoming customer calls. There’s no trick to it. It’s about building a relationship. Get to know the person and you will increase your sales.

It can take several return calls throughout the day and sometimes over days. My goal was to get customers to the dealership to see our cars, but in some cases I would go for the close on the phone.

The process is the same as if the customer actually is at the dealership: Gather customer information, help select a vehicle, ask for the sale.

Incoming sales calls at the dealership can be worth as many as three to five vehicle deliveries a month per salesperson. Then there’s the potential additional profit for the finance and insurance office and service department.

Dealers and general managers should know how many daily and monthly sales calls are received. It’s important that the people handling these calls have great phone skills or are trained to do so.  

The following is a step-by-step word track. Using it will increase appointments and sales. At the very least, understand from this script what you are trying to accomplish.       

Remember to smile when you pick up the phone. It’s for your benefit, and the caller will hear it in your voice.         

“Thank you for calling ASC Motors. My name is Darin George.” (Always use your first and last name.) “And your name is?” (Ask for their last name if it is not given.)

You have to qualify the customer the same way you would as if they were on the dealership lot.

“Is this the first time you have called our dealership?”

This question determines if the customer has been dealing with another sales representative and how they heard about the dealership.

Tell the caller if the dealership is having a sales event or something similar.

A point of interest about the store is always helpful in building credibility.

“So what type of new or used vehicle are you interested in (do not pause): 2-door or 4-door car, truck, minivan, 4-by-4, sport utility? What features are you interested in: automatic or manual transmission, 4-, 6- or 8-cyl. engine; sunroof;  cloth or leather interior; your color preference?

“What do you have in your present vehicle that you would want in your new

one?”

“Is the vehicle for business or family use?”

“Who will be the main driver?”

“Would you be selling us your present vehicle?”

“What type of monthly budget are you looking at?”

“You do not have to get the vehicle today, do you?”

You ask that question to find out where the customer is in the buying cycle. And it will relax them in a reverse-psychology way. 

“Great! Let me check what I have now and what I have coming in the next few days. It will take me about 10 to 15 minutes. Are you calling from home or work?”

“OK, and your number there is?”

“How do you spell your last name?”

“Great, Mr. Customer, I’m looking over my list of vehicles available. When would you be available, this afternoon or tonight?” Try to set up an appointment.

“Do you have a pencil and paper handy?” Spell out your name, do not just say it.  “Please write this down…”

You need to end the call now, but call them back immediately. This will verify the phone number and show your interest in the customer.

“Hi Mr. Customer, It’s Darin from the dealership, I just wanted to know if (refer to any feature of a vehicle such as car color or sound system) would be OK with you?”

This is a short callback, so end it quickly. Then call the customer a second time, 20 or 30 minutes afterward. Say you have a few vehicles to show and reconfirm the appointment.

Calling them back like that shows you are working for them. One of the biggest customer complaints is that salespeople fail to call them back and follow up unless a sale is imminent. 

Your goal now is to get the customer into the dealership. If you cannot accomplish this, go for the close over the telephone.

Treat all of your incoming sales calls the same way you would talk with your best friend. It’s all about building rapport and meaning it.

Darin George is the founder of the Automotive Sales College. He can be reached at darin@visitasc.com.