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A Shop Owner’s Guide to Handling the Most Difficult Phone Shoppers

Today’s consumers have more choices than ever before. When it comes to choosing someone to take care of their automotive needs, they turn to their friends, family and co-workers for recommendations, they consider brands that they have heard of, and they search the web as well. Once they have a shop in mind, they may then either reach out over the web or stop by your shop, but the majority of your potential customers will pick up the phone and give you a call. Since you’ve spent a good amount of money to make the phone ring, and because most of today’s consumers are well-armed with information, you and your employees need to be far more than just good on the phone: You need to be extraordinary. I have created this particular guide to help you do one thing; Create an experience that will turn those difficult phone shoppers into lifelong customers.

  1. Start with the end in mind. You need to ensure your advisors and support staff have clearly defined car count goals. Start each day with a predetermined number of vehicles you want to get into your service bays, and then have your team monitor that number throughout the day. For example, if based on your ARO you need 8 cars a day to reach your sales goal, then your advisors simply begin the day with the number 8 on a note pad, and once the first customer comes in, they strike a line through the 8, and write a 7 underneath it. This easy-to-use method of tracking your progress throughout the day will bring a whole new level of focus to your advisors, and time and time again I’ve been amazed at how effectively this focus helps advisors bring in more phone shoppers. Additionally, this approach will provide you with the opportunity to acknowledge the success of your staff when they reach the daily car count goal. I used this simple technique to grow some of the most successful shops in America, so I know it will work for you.
  2. Meet with your entire crew and create a list of reasons why your shop is the best shop in town. Your list may include items like your commitment to ethics, world-class technicians, second-to-none warranties, etc. In order for your advisors to effectively sell anyone on anything, let alone sell those tough phone shoppers, they first have to believe in themselves and in your company.
  3. Implement a phone procedure you feel comfortable with, and mandate that every employee follows that procedure. The top shops in America realize that phone procedures are critical to their success for many reasons. Well-developed procedures will provide you with consistency in how your callers are handled, it will allow you to know what is being said or not said to your callers, and that consistency will help you bring in more first-time callers. In all cases, well-designed procedures will put the caller at ease, will reflect your professionalism, and will build interest and value in the services you offer. Never forget, the first thing the caller has to buy, regardless of how tough the caller may be, is your advisor on the other end of the phone. The right procedures will help ensure that the caller likes your advisor, trusts your advisor, and views your advisor as a credible expert.
  4. The top shop owners in America record their calls. Not only will this better ensure that your employees follow your phone procedures, but you can use the recordings as training tools when you are coaching your advisors on their phone skills. Recording calls gives you the opportunity to praise their successes, and discuss the areas that need improvement.
  5. Never prejudge or prequalify. Many of those difficult phone shoppers are people just like you and me. Most just feel they have been taken advantage of in the past, so are legitimately overanxious. Win them over, and they can become your biggest songbirds.
  6. Lastly, ensure that all of your employees realize that their responsibility is to help people, not just to fix cars. When they embrace this responsibility, when they follow well-crafted phone procedures, and when they live by the principle of never putting money ahead of people, you will be doing a lot more than just bringing in those tough phone shoppers; You will be setting a new standard for the industry, and building a more successful shop at the same time. This is a promise I can make to you.

Guest Author: Bob Cooper

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