Handling Inbound Automobile Sales Calls | John Schibi | Automotive Retail Consulting

John Schibi
4 min readFeb 2, 2023

Despite the success of the Internet leads, there are still areas where we can improve. For instance, according to a study conducted by CallSource and IHS/Polk research, over 80% of consumers buy a vehicle from a different dealer than they originally called.

The good news is that there is still a huge opportunity to improve the way car-buying decisions are made. Due to the rise of smartphones, the number of calls to dealerships has increased significantly . This is compared to the number of Internet leads and email newsletters which have remained the same or even declined.

One of the most critical factors that a dealer must consider when it comes to converting calls into sales opportunities is ensuring that they are getting the right message. This is because, most of the time, a customer will only get one shot at getting the right information.

Answer the phone

One of the most important factors that a dealer must consider when it comes to converting calls into sales opportunities is ensuring that they are answering the inbound sales calls. According to a study conducted by Marchex, over 20% of the calls that come in don’t connect with a sales representative.

Aside from the various factors that can affect the quality of a call, such as the number of auto attendant options and the call routing errors, another important factor that a dealer must consider is the number of people who are available to help the customer.

To ensure that they are getting the right message, a dealer must consider hiring a receptionist or a BDC agent to answer calls. You can also have a salesperson dedicated to this task during certain times of the day. Always make sure that the salespeople are focused on the phone and not on other tasks.

Collect the right information

Numerous studies have shown that the majority of customer inquiries are not handled properly by the sales staff. According to one study, only 5% of salespeople identify themselves as being from a sales department, while dealers gather the necessary information on only 11% of callers.

According to a study conducted by BDC, almost all of the callers who ask about their experience or personal information will provide it over the phone. In order to get the most out of a call, a dealer should always have at least two numbers and an email address. According to the study, it usually takes around four attempts to get a call back. With only one phone number, there’s a 67% contact ratio, but with two, the number jumps to 80%.

Make sure that your callers feel important, so let them talk about what they want to hear and remember what they said. Also, ensure to enter details about the type of car they’re looking for and the follow-up action they should take.

Exceed expectations

Your dealership’s branding should also be consistent with what the consumers experience when they call. Most people who make a call are already in the process of elimination because they have already done their research. Don’t try to get them to eliminate you.

Answer their questions and provide them with the necessary information to make an informed decision. Although you may not be able to close a deal on the phone, you want to make them feel like they are receiving a memorable and effective call.

One of the most common strategies dealers use is to force their potential customers into an appointment before they’re ready to make an informed decision. However, this is not a winning strategy. Instead, establish a rapport with them and let them make their own decisions.

One of the most effective ways to improve the efficiency of your sales process is by developing strong scripts that will help your BDC agents and salespeople learn how to interact with their potential customers. Although it’s important to have a well-written script, it’s also possible to add your own style and words to it. Each week, you should regularly monitor the metrics of your phone system and provide feedback to your staff members.

The rise of digital marketing has made it easy for consumers to contact dealerships directly. Phone leads are great opportunities to build rapport with your customers. By following these tips, you should be more successful in navigating your inbound calls.

Originally published at https://johnschibi.org on February 2, 2023.

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John Schibi
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Learn more about the impressive 25-year career of John Schibi in automotive sales, team leadership, and consulting by visiting his website at johnschibi.net.