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I'm prepping for a big strategy meeting with a dealer group. So I decide to verify my hunch that there is big opportunity in training the call handlers for better Appointment Set, CSI, Retention and all that good stuff. I decide to listen to a bunch of calls from some of the top performing dealerships in the country, to help identify the skill differences and training opportunities.


Then it hit me......How could I have missed this for so long?? 


The "Top Performers" were in many cases no more skilled than the average and below average call handlers in setting appointments. But, the callers were far better trained in these stores!


The best of the best in appointment conversion are converting callers who ask them if they can come in today! How hard is that??


In every case the majority of the calls were about a compelling message they had seen, heard, received in the mail or found on-line.The questions became about the message.... "How can I lease a car for $6 a day?", "You will give me price, payment and trade appraisal on the phone?", "Do I really get free service and oil changes for 36 months?", "How can you lower my payments on a new car?", "I really don't have to come there?, You will give me all the details on the phone?". In these dealerships the percentage of "Do you have", "What's your best price" and all the other questions designed to rule out the dealer are in the minority.


Average in-bound sales call appointment sets are under 25%, and these top performers are setting 65%+.


    2 Actual Dealer's August 2011 Results-  Message or Phone Skills??







The success rate of the top performers in the market seems to be directly related to the message the caller is reacting to, along with the training the call handlers have in keeping the excitement level high about the message.


So could the formula be:

1) Skilled BDC/Trained Call Handlers intimate with the message

2) Consistent, Compelling Message

3) "In market" audience

4) In PMA audience


= 70% Inbound Call to Appointment??


Obviously, we need to stay focused on the skills of the handler...but maybe its time to consider the power of training the caller?

Tags: BDC, appointments, callers, calls, marketing, message, phone, skills, training

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Replies to This ADM Discussion

Chip, thank you for sharing the real-world metrics you showcase in this Forum discussion post... I would suggest that this is ample evidence that how a dealer creates their message and THEN handles their incoming phone calls is as important as how effective the dealership's marketing is at generating those calls.  And, your data proves the case that the message often determines how you handle those very same calls, which is apparently more of a big factor in the ROI a dealership receives from the money invested in their automotive marketing and advertising than we may have previously suspected!

Thanks Ralph...

Interesting addendum---the very best in class dealer that we measure takes this one step further. They build several approaches or "scripts" (if that word doesn't give you a chill) around their marketing message---then measure each approach by appointments set. As they measure they narrow down till they reach the very best, and stick with that approach. Every day they review the questions they are getting and train in the best handling of the most common dialogue....results? 7 in 10 set and appointment... 7 in 10 show, and 6 in 10 buy...



Chip, I love all your stuff!  Thanks for another great article!!
Keith- Ever notice by blogs almost always follow a conversation with you?? mmmmmmmm

Chip, I think the strongest ROI of your product is twofold:  First, it's going to identify the profit leaks (down to the person answering the phone!) across the dealer's phone process, no matter who answers, so they can be addressed and profits can go up; second, it also identifies what the customer says drove their call ("saw the car on your website", "got a direct mail piece", etc.).  Very valuable to see how to spend precious advertising $!


With customers using the phone over Internet lead at a 7-to-1 ratio, the focus needs to grow in the phone area.  Internet leads get a lot of attention for several reasons, but a big one is that they can be MEASURED.  Measurement is like a giant light that draws the "attention moths" of owners and good GMs, and so the phone has lagged--and what your product does is render a HUGE level of measurement to the phone that has been missing for years.


Every dealer in the USA needs your product.

Thanks Keith--- Agreed....

Though the connected sales and service calls are critical measurement, as are the "Alerts" to calls gone wrong, If dealers can measure the entire "Caller's Journey" the value is exponentially higher--- the callers are telling us everyday what we need to do to make and keep them a customer--seems like we just have to "Listen"!

Chip, that is exactly how we do it. In the 6 weeks we are working with our client together we moved to 67%.

We expect to get to 75%. Also the grosses are up $375 per copy. The client is very excited about the continuos improvement. It is a pleasure working with your staff at Call Revu.


Awesome job!! Thanks for the mention... It's a pleasure working with a vendor engaged in making a difference for the dealer, and not for themselves...


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