[Phone Skills] Keep Phone-Ups on the Phone
Because Off-Lining Calls is Like Throwing Your Catch Back into the Sea
Imagine you are out on the docks fishing with your buddies for the catch of the day. You spend an abundance of time making sure you have the right bait, the right spot and you cast your line just right so that you get the best fish.
You get a bite... you feel the tug on your line... you feel the rush of excitement as you reel the fish in. Then you take it off the hook and throw it right back in while you say to yourself I can catch that one again. You put your fishing line back in the water and wonder where that fish went. Did the fish move on to your buddy’s bait or over to another dock? Your buddy has now caught the fish, he keeps it and he has dinner. You don’t.
You may be wondering what this fishing story has to do with car sales and call handling skills. This story is an analogy that I like to use to describe the scenario of Off-Lining a customer for a promised callback. Your caller is "the fish" and your competition is "the buddy" and hanging up the phone to check inventory is going to leave you hungry because you haven't taken steps to close that deal.
We have all heard a sales agent say to a customer;
"Let me check if it’s in inventory and call you back," or "Let me walk out to the lot and touch the car and I will call you back in 10 min".
They just threw their fish back! The reason Off-Lining can be so dangerous is that there are so many competitors out there all "fishing" for the same in-market customers and they're all using the same costly advertising "baits".
In today’s market, customers have access to many dealerships' inventories at their fingertips. When a customer gets Off-Lined at one dealership they simply dial the next dealership they see on their computer screen. What is the likelihood you will get that same customer back on the phone even if you have an outstanding follow up program? The possibility of getting the customer back on the phone is less than 30% and the ability to then turn that customer into an appointment is even less.
Do you know how many times a day or month your sales agents let an opportunity off the phone with a promised callback? Do you know if they ever got that prospect back on the phone or even into the dealership?
Our data on phone calls to the dealer in this example reveal they have a serious promise--callback issue:
They are throwing 44% of their opportunities back into the "sea" for the competition to catch! What's worse? A caller actually had to call back when the sales agent broke their promise to follow up. The scary part is that these callers tend to be most vocal people in all arenas, especially social media.
Are you here? Or are you in the Best of the Best with 15% off-line rate and 0% broken promise rate?
How can you prevent your team from throwing your leads back? Training, scripts and word tracks! Use role play to demonstrate to your team how you want them to handle objections. Ultimately you need to have a process in place you want your team to follow and then track their progress and actions.