I can still hear the ringing in my ears.

“I'll be back......, I'll be back......, I'll be back......”.

For a new sales person these words are the sound of hope, a possible sale.

I remember my rookie year, talking with customers and trying to find them the right vehicle to buy.

When we final found one that they seemed to want, I would discuss briefly the price and then they would say: “I'll be back” or “I'll give you a call.”

Off they would go into the far off land of “I'll Be Back.” I hoped that all of the people that said this to me would really do what they said, but of course I was usually wrong. I started to think that almost every customer was a liar.

I worked for a sales manager who always said not to give excuses why my customers would leave. Man, could I come up with great BS stories for him. He said the only excuse was me. Harsh. But right. He told me that the reason people will buy from me, is me. That was also true for why they didn't buy a car from me.

One of the most difficult questions in auto sales is: If you don't sell the customer today, how do I get them back to the dealership?

We joke about “be-backs” because we know 90% of them will not be back. That's no joke though. Why are they not coming back? What did a salesperson do to make them leave? Was it our product line? Did I help this potential customer in every way possible? Was it me?

If you can't sell the vehicle now, you have to work your hottest customers, your “be-backs.”

Here's how:

Step one

Call the customer shortly after he leaves — the same day.

Have something new and exciting to tell them over the phone or just ask them something about the vehicle they were interested in purchasing.

Example Call:

“Hi Mr. Jones! It's Darin calling from ASC Motors. I'm calling to let you know that I am still working on a vehicle and some numbers for you, but I would like to know if another color would be OK with you?”

(You can make any reference to options that might be of importance to the customer.)

Note: Keep away from the price, trade or payments during this call.

Your first-step goal is to build more rapport over the telephone. Make the customer realize that you are the only sales person working for them. In 80% of the cases, you really are the only one.

Step two

Call them back approximately 15 minutes after step one. Your goal now is to get them back to your dealership.

Example Call:

“Hi Mr. Jones! It's Darin calling again from ASC Motors. I was wondering if we can get together tonight and discuss the vehicle and the numbers.”

If they say yes, set an appointment ASAP and when they come back, close the sale.

Step three

If the customer does not want to come back to your dealership, never ask why. Just ask for the sale. This is if you have selected a vehicle they might want.

If you cannot make an appointment ask them:

“Mr. Jones, I can work the numbers for you right over the phone but I have to clarify a couple of things with you first. Have you ever purchased a car over the telephone? So you like the vehicle you drove? Do you have any questions about our dealership (service etc.)? OK then, do you have a Visa or Master card?”

(If they have a credit card, proceed with the sale.)

“Great! So if we can agree on a number over the phone can you give me your credit card number to hold the car?”

If they say yes, continue asking for the sale and negotiate just like you would if they were right in front of you at the dealership.

This strategy is an excellent start to increasing your “be-back” sales. If you like this one, use it. If you can customize it to suit yourself, do that and use it.

Quick tip:

If you do not want to call your “be-backs,” yourself, get one of your co-works to do it, and make similar calls for them. Use a team-work approach.

Darin's wrapup:

Remember, great sales people use a well thought-out strategy, and practice it everyday.

Darin B. George is president and founder of the Automotive Sales College which recruits and trains new and experienced sales people, and holds sales and service advisor courses. For a copy of our in-dealership services, call 1-888-681-7355.