Get the Number

Never before has the average American consumer been so reachable by telephone, whether at home, in the office or on the go. Yet car buyers frequently withhold these numbers, making it difficult for you to follow up after the initial inquiry. Because a deal often hinges on your ability to connect with the shopper on the phone, let’s look at a new tool that both encourages customers to provide their contact information and positions you to bringing the consumer into the dealership.

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Car buyers typically refrain from sharing their phone number either to avoid aggressive salespeople or to keep you at arm’s length while they do their research. After narrowing down their list to the car(s) they want to see in person, and perhaps test drive, they can reach out to you at their convenience. Knowing this tendency, you can use the prospect’s desire to simplify his or her search to your advantage.

It’s All in How You Ask

Similarly, before concluding calls with shoppers that seem interested, offer to help them keep a record of the vehicles they’re considering with Cars.com’s new “Send to Phone” feature. You might say: “You’re probably looking at a number of cars right now, and it sounds as though the one we’ve just discussed may be a good fit. I’d hate for you to lose track of it, so I’d like to send the link for this listing to your cell phone. That way, you’ll have the information at hand should you want to review it or give us a call to take a test drive. What’s your mobile number?”

Look for Other Opportunities

Cars.com’s “Send to Phone” feature also helps you merchandise other cars you have in inventory. Consider these scenarios:

  • A prospect calls about a listing that recently sold.
  • You realize the vehicle about which the prospect called may not be the ideal match.

Each situation equips you with a reason to request the shopper’s number, which you can then use to provide information about another car at your dealership. By taking this approach, you keep the customer on your virtual lot and build credibility. Prospects are now more likely to buy from you — especially if you articulate a sincere interest in helping them find the right car — rather than from one of your competitors.

Avoid Old-School Tactics

Utilizing “Send-to-Phone” technology also eliminates the need for potentially awkward conversations with car buyers that can erode trust. Rather than claiming to be in the service department and asking for the prospect’s phone number so you can return the call from your desk, take a straightforward approach. Answer the customer’s questions and look for the most appropriate time to suggest an appointment. When consumers recognize you’re there to help them — rather than to sell them — they’re more likely to be confident enough in you to give you their phone number and take the next step toward a purchase.

Old-school tactics like “I’m away from my desk, but give me our name and number, and I will call you back” no longer work with most people most of the time. Not only do they see through them — they’ve been hearing the lines as long as we’ve been saying them — but they are more likely than not to withhold their phone number and move on to the next dealer.

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