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The First Call Should Be the ONLY Call

One of the greatest challenges for dealers trying to master the internet is getting over their own preconceived notions about what internet sales entail.

As I’ve been writing throughout this this 7-part series, internet sales are not hard; they’re not mysterious and they’re certainly not anything to overthink. My hope has been to detail in plain language how you and your sales managers can stop overthinking much of what goes into making a sale to an internet prospect, and how to use these seven simple strategies to set more appointments that show-up and buy today:

Simple Strategy #7: The First Call Should Be the ONLY Call

The Problem: Our teams expect to make more than one call to schedule an appointment that shows; because, as we learned in Simple Strategy #4, they’re treating leads like requests for information instead of like orders. This means when they do reach someone, or someone calls them, they immediately go into “information mode” or worse, “helper mode.”

In information mode, they vomit information all over the prospect. The prospect that has already completed nineteen hours of research, looked at more than twenty different source of information and has chosen our car from among the millions for sale online. All we can do now is tell them too much… just enough so that they do not need to come in.

In helper mode, they believe their only job is to help the customer make an informed decision before buying their next vehicle; when in fact, their only job should be to schedule an appointment that shows. So they engage in a strange back and forth asking question after question in some odd ritual that resembles an old-school needs analysis. Moreover, these needs analysis-like questions often make the helper seem untrustworthy to the customer. (The customer is already well-informed – often armed with more information than our teams have – and they’ve already completed their own needs analysis, thank you.)

The Reality: Not only is the lead an order; but when you fail to set the appointment on the very first call, you often never get another chance. The only reason you should ever have two calls with most prospects is if the second one is to confirm their appointment.

Do some customers require a second or third phone discussion before coming in? Sure, but those are the exception and not the rule for disciplined salespeople and BDC agents who stay on task and keep control of the first call. Expecting a second call ensures you will not set an appointment on the first call. Conversely, expecting to set an appointment (and staying in control of that first call) ensures you will set many more appointments that show.

We must learn how to stay in control of the first call so that we can set more appointments that show.

The Solution: Remember, there is only one goal of the call: To set an appointment that shows. If necessary, write that down near your phone: AN APPOINTMENT THAT SHOWS. This is the ONLY goal every time you have someone on the phone.

Of course, you must maintain control of the call, and always bring them back to the goal when (not if) you get pulled off-track. So, be prepared to repeatedly ask for the appointment, because anything less and you will likely never get them on the phone again.

Consider three scenarios; one where the salesperson maintains control, one where the salesperson goes into information mode and one where the salesperson goes into helper mode:

Customer asks: Does it have third row seats?

Helper mode salesperson: Are third row seats important to you?

Information mode salesperson: Yes, it does have third row seats, as well as heated front seats, an upgraded sound system, intelligent four-wheel drive and it gets 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 miles per gallon on the highway.

Control mode salesperson: Yes, it does have third row seats, and at the price we have it listed at it will not make it through to the weekend. Now I do have two test drives open on that Explorer this afternoon, I have a 1:45 and a 2:15. Which one of those works better for you?

The helper mode salesperson seemed smarmy and the information mode salesperson talked themselves out of an appointment; while the control mode salesperson stayed on task and set an appointment that showed and bought.

Good selling!

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This is part 1 of 7 Simple Strategies for Closing More Internet Deals Today!
by Steve Stauning.

Don’t miss out on the complete series:

Part 1Simple Strategy #1: Pay for the Performance You Want

Part 2Simple Strategy #2: Internet & BDC Teams Must be Managed Like Call Centers

Part 3: Simple Strategy #3: Stricter Rules Drive Higher Sales

Part 4: Simple Strategy #4: Treat EVERY Lead and Call Like an Order

Part 5Simple Strategy #5: Yes, You Should Always Use an Auto Response

Part 6Simple Strategy #6: Email Templates can be Personal AND Automated

Part 7: You’re reading it


Steve is the author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers;" as well ...