Best PracticesDealership Operations & Processes

Don’t Allow Salespeople be John Michael Montgomery on the Phone

Is there anything sadder than a country song?

I listened to country music during a stretch between 1990 and 1994. That was it. Pretty much gave up on any country after that time frame.

Those years seemed to be the renaissance for country music. Artists such as Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Clint Black, the aforementioned John Michael Montgomery, and others all came out during, or were reaching their pinnacle, during that heyday (pun intended.)

Beyond the occasional country song that permeates an elevator, gas station, restaurant, or movie scene, I haven’t heard any country music. That was, until, I was harkened back to a John Michael Montgomery gem while listening to a recorded sales call for a client.

In JMM’s sing-along ditty “Be My Baby”, the main character asks a girl on a date in a very roundabout way. With zero confidence, he stumbles over his words…”Couldya wouldya ain’t ya gonna if I asked you would ya wanna be my baby tonight.” As if reading from a lyric book, I listened to a salesperson butcher the appointment ask of a sales call with a similar stumble.

[Tweet ““Do ya think ya might wanna if ya could possibly come on into the dealership maybe?””]

Wow. He really swept that customer off their feet with a confident, well-worded invite, am I right?

Sales calls are a commodity, and dealers cannot waste opportunities by putting their calls into the hands of untrained, uneducated (on product), unconfident salespeople. People respond well to direct invites, and the best results come when asking pointed, either-or questions with actionable logic. This was not a one-time occurrence, and I know this happens more often than not.

Do your people know how to ask for a proper appointment OR are they stumbling into customers that would come in any way?

I assure you, the weak-spirited, wishy-washy John Michael Montgomery invite will not win you any extra appointments. Nor will asking something unimaginative such as…

“When ya wanna come in and look at it?”
“Got time to check it out?”
“When can you come on into the store and see it?”

Today’s shoppers don’t want that. Those actions are redundant. They can “look at it”online. They can “check it out” on Google. They can “see it” on your website. You need to give people something actionable, and end with closed-ended options…

“When is the best time for you to test drive it, today or tomorrow?”
“When is best to have your vehicle professionally appraised, this afternoon or this evening?”
“When is best for you to get approved by one of our in-store business directors, right now or later today?”
Heck, “When do you want to purchase this vehicle, Friday or Saturday?”

Appointment setting becomes much easier when you ask them to visit for something actionable that they know they’ll need to complete anyway (i.e. test drive, trade appraisal, credit approval, or purchase.) And they’re direct asks. Always assume the customer’s need to complete an action and offer it to them with time variables. We cannot allow salespeople or BDC agents to beat along the bush.

Asking for an appointment cannot be a long, winding dirt road that a countrified salesperson can just mosey along. Confidence wins “Yes” responses to appointments, but the “mightya’s”, “wouldya’s” and “couldya’s” are a good way to get yourself dumped by the caller. So, open up your call management tool and listen to your sales calls. If it sounds like your salespeople are reciting John Michael Montgomery lyrics when talking to customers, lasso them away from the phone and learn ‘em a better way.

See what I did there? I should have never listened to country music.

Marketing consultant & process leader, specializing in automotive. I'm also a writer, speaker, movie buff, and Dad. --President of DealerKnows--