August 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive
My favorite part about working shared leads is that a shared lead gives you the opportunity to set yourself apart from everyone else who is calling these leads. Effectively working shared leads is more about selling the appointment than setting the appointment, and your phone skills are just as important as a quick response. You won’t set yourself apart with a hard sell. Instead, with shared leads, you set yourself – and your dealership – apart with very subtle influence and persuasion techniques. To win with shared leads, business development representatives (BDRs) must be able to identify with the customer, build rapport (which can be done by relating to what they’re going through) and be empathetic.
An easy way to identify with the shared leads is to acknowledge that they’ve been receiving other calls by saying, “I bet you’ve been getting calls from people who have been promising you this and that …” And it’s not so much poking fun at the competition as it is simply bringing up what they’re likely hearing from the competition. By identifying what they’re hearing from everybody else, you begin to win people over and build rapport. By the same token, they’re subconsciously realizing that you’re different from the other dealers who have called them.
Instead of jumping into appointment setting, the goal is to build the customers’ confidence and earn their trust. You should give them a sense of ease and comfort that they are now speaking with the right people. For shared leads, especially special finance leads, you must have a backbone validation in order to build confidence and earn trust.
Being empathetic to customers’ needs and situations is the next step to winning with shared leads. BDRs need to convey that they’re nice, understanding people who value the customers’ time. For example, they can say to the customer, “I wouldn’t want to waste your time, but the reality is that I can’t because our credit specialists don’t eat if you don’t ride. I can’t have you come in and have them working on an account that they can’t do. So, if we do get your application accepted, we have a win/win situation!” In addition to letting customers know you value their time, this does two things. First, it lets customers know you value their business and second, it lets them know you’re serious about getting them into a vehicle.
To really sell an appointment, I like to have some type of interrupt. I create or find a reason to put the customer on hold because it basically insinuates there’s a likelihood that I might have to call them back. It also gives you a chance to collect more information from the customer. For example, “I know your time is important. I want to do a little legwork, and I don’t want you to have to go through what you’ve gone through at other dealerships … Is this number you’re calling from your cell phone number?” Then, you can ask for an additional number, the correct spelling of their name and any other information.
Then, proceed with, “Hold on just a second, I have a manager available to help us right now, can you hold for just a moment?” Then put the customer on hold for 10 seconds, and when you get back on the call, say, “Great news! Your application has been accepted! We even have a special selection for the big sale, so our timing is excellent! Speaking of which, is today or tonight best for you?” When they answer, let them know you are checking the calendar, and set a firm appointment. Ensure your appointments are confirmed by a manager and called if they are even 15 minutes late. Sell the urgency!
Winning with shared leads isn’t rocket science, but it does take phone skills, and even if you don’t immediately respond to the lead, you can use the other calls the person has received from competitors as a means to identify with the customer. If a BDC is lackadaisical and isn’t responding to shared leads promptly, skillfully and with unrivaled tenacity, that BDC will lose with shared leads, and they’re going to say the leads stink. In reality, it’s not always the leads; oftentimes it’s the process. In these times especially, you have to be on your A-game. Remember a true A-game requires mastering the abilities to identify the personality type you’re speaking with and accordingly adjust your tone and impact wording.
People may forget a lot of what we said, but they never forget how we made them feel. People will do what they said they would (i.e., show for an appointment) when the feeling they had when they said they would show is still alive. That’s why you never let the appointments cool off. Get them in the same day whenever possible.
Good phone selling, and may the best BDC win!
Vol. 6 Issue 7