For most dealerships, not being able to attract customers over the phone is a major roadblock to success. The problem isn’t with the customers, but in the lackluster phone skills of your staff.

When customers call a dealership, it isn’t to talk about a car. They are looking for help. They are looking to be guided to the right decision. They want to be told why they should buy a car from your dealership and why buying from you is better for them than any other dealership. They’re calling to cross you off their list.  And most dealerships make that easy. Your team must discover what it is they are looking for, so you can deliver it with confidence. If the customer has confidence in the seller, price will be less of an issue.

Take, for example, what happened when we were in the market for new computers for our office. When the salesman answered the phone, we explained how we’d narrowed down the selection to two different brands. Right away the seller should have been raving about what he could offer us that his competitors couldn’t. He should have told us WHY his store was a better choice for us. But how could he have known? The first mistake this salesman made was that he didn’t ask any questions!

A customer should never have to drive the conversation forward.  And yet, there we were, telling the salesman what we needed. We were left asking all of the questions. If the seller had asked questions—“What are you trying to accomplish?” or “Will this be a home computer, or will you use it for business?”—the conversation would have been more effective. In order to sell, you must ask the right questions, so the process can run smoothly.

Salesmen with subpar phone skills hurt your dealership. When a customer calls a dealership, on some level they are ready to be sold! And if your team doesn’t ask the right questions, they can’t provide the best solution, leading to frustrated customers, poor experiences, and lost sales. Your team must know how to prep the bait by asking the right questions of the customer. If they can’t figure that out, then you can’t take your business to the next level.

The Importance of Asking Questions

Conversations start and thrive with questions. The more questions you ask, the better the conversation will be. Ask your customers not only what they are looking for, but also what their goals are. By asking questions, you can guide your customers to the right decision. Through questions you discover what the buyer is interested in and why. You can start to build a meaningful relationship with them. Then, when they show up at the dealership, you already have a connection, making it easier to get off on the right foot. If you guide them toward a different car that better suits their needs and goals, for example, they will realize you have their best interest in mind.

The most effective question you can ask is “what do you want to accomplish?” This question starts a conversation and reveals the customer’s needs, so you can lead them in the right direction. Continue asking questions until you have narrowed it down to the best scenario for your buyer. The more effective your questions, the more opportunities you have to tell a story!  And stories equal sales.