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Well it’s March Madness and one of the most familiar voices this time of year is Dick Vitale. What if Dickie V were your sales manager? He’d tell you when you can’t set an appointment with a phone up, to get a TO baby!

Customers shopping you on the phone or online are in a process of elimination. When they decide to call you it’s usually because they are considering your store as one of the few they will actually visit while shopping for their next car.

It’s just as good a lead! Properly handled the phone ups are going to have a close ratio just as high as a fresh up and sometimes higher. If we blow the call and fail to get a name and number or set an appointment we don’t get a second chance.

100% TO in the showroom. You have a TO policy for showroom visitors, right? Why not for the customer on the phone. A second voice, especially if it’s a manager can help convert more calls to car deals. Phone shoppers are looking for interaction and information. Sometimes it’s simply “is it there”? Other times customers may have questions about trade value, payments, interest rates, etc. If your word tracks don’t work to bypass these questions then we need someone on the phone that can answer specific questions in order to get an appointment and the sale.

A short shelf life. Phone ups have a very short window of opportunity.  We get a lot of calls from customers that are in their car on the way and sometimes they are calling from the lot!

Transaction mode. By the time a customer is calling stores they are in transaction mode. 82% of phone up appointments we set are for the same day!

Follow your phone process. I can remember being a young salesperson and telling my manager I needed a TO with a showroom customer. The manager always had some questions. He’d ask me have they test driven? Have they had a tour of Service? Do they have a trade? Where are they from? How did they hear about us? What he was doing was checking to see if I’d followed the process. This was important to him as he would now try to get them back on process, or in a test drive, and so on.

When you go to your manager for a TO on a phone up, the same principal applies. Did you follow your process? Have you asked for an appointment? Do they have a trade? Have you described your appointment process? Your manager needs to know where you are in the process and what you’ve done so far.

Get a commitment. My advice to salespeople and BDC reps is to get a commitment prior to the TO. If they go to a desk manager or BDC Manager and say “Will you call this customer for me because I couldn’t set an appointment?” how excited is the manager going to be? On the other hand, if I can go to the manager and tell him or her “this customer will do business if we can do X”, you will get your managers attention.

It’s ok to talk turkey on the phone. The TO comes when your salesperson or BDC agent can’t set an appointment. If the customers not coming, why not try to work the deal on the phone? Or at least establish the framework. When customers see you have nothing to hide you create chemistry and should be able to work this out if you have the car they want.

Don’t accept excuses. There are plenty of excuses to go around, but they aren’t reasons! The fact is you can sell one out of four phone ups, maybe more. You wouldn’t accept customers walking out of the showroom without a TO and you should adopt the same philosophy for your phone customers.