At its core, sales is a numbers game. It always has been and always will be. If you’re selling the same product that others are selling, you can only expect to close a percentage of customers that come into your store. In our industry, top performers close 50 to 60 percent of their appointments.
Therefore, logic dictates the only way to increase sales is to make more appointments. We all know you can’t rely on “ups” alone. So, how do you get more appointments? It’s pretty simple. You make more phone calls.
The person who makes the most phone calls makes the most connections. Those who make the most connections, make the most appointments and ultimately close the most sales. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Yet, many salespeople routinely struggle to make the necessary phone calls. This is why 30 percent of auto dealerships now use call centers for the type of “heavy lifting” phone calls that their sales team can’t, won’t or don’t do.
I’m talking about calling hot leads, cold leads and equity leads generated from data mining your CRM for potential customers who in a buying position, about to go out of warranty or come off lease.
What’s that I hear? Your salespeople are already making these phone calls? Are you sure about that?
Just because your team is making some phone calls, doesn’t mean they’re making the right kind of calls, or all the calls they could be making. Let me share a few common myths that I keep hearing, and the reality of what’s going on.
Myth #1: My salespeople are making those calls.
Fact: Your salespeople aren’t making enough calls.
Call center data shows it takes an average 4.8 phone calls to connect with a customer. The average salesperson follows up with a hot lead two or three times and virtually ignores cold leads. Plus, salespeople get caught up in other activities of daily meetings, talking to ups, customer appointments and lunch. There isn’t enough time in the day for them to make the hundreds of calls required for prospecting.
Call center agents make phone calls, every day, all day long. That’s the only thing they do, and they are trained to know how to handle each type call professionally and use the right call guide to get information dealers need.
Myth #2: My salespeople are motivated to make phone calls.
Fact: Salespeople are not paid to make phone calls.
Salespeople are paid on commission when they sell cars. So, they will always be chasing the down funnel leads they believe are close to closing—and rightly so. They are not data mining your CRM or creating strategies that will fill their pipeline full of prospects three months away from purchasing a vehicle.
Call center agents create organized outgoing call campaigns and execute those campaigns with precision. They don’t lose interest in customers who don’t call them back. They contact cold leads and nurture up funnel leads. Then, when a lead becomes “hot,” they hand it over to your sales team.
Myth #3: My salespeople have better phone skills than an outsourced agent.
Fact: Not all salespeople are great on the phone.
Do you hire salespeople based on the impression they made from a phone call or from their in-person interviews? If the latter, how do you know what their phone skills are? Most sales people are great face to face but many lack the patience needed for phone skills that are effective.
How much phone skills training do your salespeople receive? Or, do you just assume that they should know what to say and how to say it? Converting conversations into appointments is a specific and learned skill. Call center agents are trained how to be personable and sound authentic. Asking for an appointment too soon is guaranteed to drive the customer away. You need to earn the right to ask.
Myth #4: My salespeople are great at making follow up calls.
Fact: Some salespeople suck at follow up calls.
It’s not their fault. When a customer leaves your lot without purchasing a vehicle, the salesperson has often done everything they can do. When they call to follow up, they don’t have an enticing offer to lure the customer back in, so they resort to the “checking in” call or asking if the customer has made a decision yet. No wonder customers avoid answering their phones.
However, 95 percent of customers contacted by a third party are willing to take a short survey about their customer experience. This is what call center agents do. These surveys provide valuable insights into what your sales team is doing right and wrong so that you can coach them up effectively.
Additionally, sometimes the customer shares the real reason why they didn’t buy, which is not always the same reason they give the salesperson. When the real objection is identified, the customer feedback is given to a sales manager who has strategies to overcome that objection.
Yes, your salespeople “should” be making phone calls. But are they? That’s the only question you need to answer, and hopefully, it’s an honest answer. Because whoever out dials, out connects and outsells.