Appointment-Driven Communications – Part 4

Appointment-Driven Communications – Part 4

TRANSCRIPT: In this part we’re going to teach you how to handle the in-bound call in an appointment culture. Remember, when you pick up the phone and you’re talking to someone about a vehicle, you have one goal. What is that goal again? That’s right. Your only goal is an appointment that shows. Your goal is not an appointment. It is an appointment that shows. Our goal is not to get off the phone quickly. When we ask for the appointment, we need to make sure it’s a very firm appointment, so, here’s what we have to do: we have to ASK for the appointment.

Now, we usually get three types of calls on vehicles from, say,,, or from our own website that are going to close today. Those three types of calls are a stock check, a price check or an equipment check, right? “Is it in stock? What’s your best price? Does it have third row seats?” A stock check, a price check or an equipment check.

Now, first I’m going to show you how most dealers, who do a decent job, handle this call. This is actually the wrong way to handle this call, because their goal is information; our goal is to get an appointment that shows. So, here’s how they handle the call, “Hi, I’m Steve Stauning with Century Toyota. How can I help you today?”

“I’m calling about a 2013 Camry that you’ve got on; the blue one. Is that still in stock?”

And, now, here is what your team says: “You know I saw that Camry this morning but there was a young couple looking at it last night. Now, they may have put a deposit on it and I’m not sure, so what I’d like to do is, I’d like to go outside, put my hands on the vehicle and make sure it’s still here . Then I want to talk to the sales manager and make sure that it is still available for sale. So, if you would do me the honor; if you would please give me your name and number, I’ll go outside, make sure it’s still here and call you right back.”

See, the goal there was information. It’s not your sales peoples fault; it’s the manager’s fault, right? Managers were saying you’ve got to get the name and you’ve got to get the phone number of everybody who calls and the only way we can do that is to tell them “we’re going to go outside and we’re going to put our hands on the vehicle to make sure it’s still in stock. We’re going to go and talk to the manager and see what the best price is that we can do. We’re going to go out to the vehicle to verify that it has third row seats. Can I get your name and number so I can call you back”?

The problem with that; of having a goal of information, is, this is what happens five minutes later when you do try to call them back: “….(voicemail) Hey, Mrs. Jones, Steve Stauning calling from Century Toyota. Hey, yeah, that blue Camry is still in stock and available for sale. Please give me a call right away so we can schedule an appointment. Thanks, talk to you later, bye”. Pfft, that’s it. You didn’t get to talk to her. You didn’t get to set the appointment because you got her the information she wanted. She sees your number calling back. She knows why you’re calling, right? She asked you a question, “is it in stock?” She knows what you’re going to say and she’s afraid you’re going to sell her so that’s why she lets it go to voicemail. The other reason it may have gone to voicemail is she may have been calling four other dealers while she was waiting for you to call her back. She may have been looking at other Camry’s in the market, right? My gosh, they might be looking at other vehicles.

So, here’s how we’re going to handle those in-bound calls from today moving forward because now we have a goal. The goal is an appointment that shows. It’s not information. So, here’s how the call should go: “Hi, Steve Stauning, Century Toyota, how can I help you?”

“Yeah, I’m calling about a 2013 Toyota Camry, blue, I saw in autotrader. Is that still in stock?”

We’re going to create the same sense of urgency that we did before. “Yes, ma’am, I saw that vehicle this morning, however, there was a young couple looking at it last night. Now they may have put a deposit on it, I’m not sure…” that’s creating the sense of urgency just like we did on the last call, but here’s where we start to change; “I do, however, have two test drives open on that vehicle today. I’ve got a 12:15 and a 12:45. Which one works better for you?”

See, what I’m going to do, “wait, Steve, how can you set an appointment – you don’t have her information?” That’s right. Guess what she’s going to give me, freely, once I set the appointment? She’s going to give me her name. She’s going to give me her phone number. She’s going to give me her email address. She’ll give me her children’s names and date of birth, if I ask because, now, we have a relationship. Now I’ve set an appointment. See, I haven’t tried to sell her a thing. I’ve said, “Yes, I saw that blue Camry this morning, but, I do know there was a couple looking at it last night. They may have put a deposit on it.” By the way, we don’t want to lie, so the sense of urgency we’re going to create could be something as simple as this, right? “Yes, I saw that Camry this morning although I know that at the price we have it at, it‘s not going to make it through to the weekend. I do have two test drives open on that Camry today. I’ve got a 12:15 and I’ve got a 12:45. Which works better for you?”

All she asked was if it was in stock. I said it was in stock, I created a sense of urgency, and then I set the appointment. Now, once I set the appointment, guess what? I can now ask her for her information: “Okay, we’re going to see you at 12:15, can I get your name? Alright, Barbara Jones. Fantastic. Could I also get your phone number in case anything happens to the Camry, I want to be able to give you a call. Alright, fantastic. Now, listen, I’d like to send you some additional pictures and information about the Camry, so, if I could get your email address, that would be great. Okay, great, thanks”.

Then what we’re going to do, once we get their information, we’re going to promise to get her some information, and, this is critical, we’re going to keep our promises.

So, here’s how we’re going to promise to get her information. We’re going to recap the appointment that we just set. Remember, our goal is an appointment that shows. Our goal is not to get off the phone. See, once she sets the appointment for 12:15, and, we have her name and her phone number, your team wants to do this: “Okay, I’ll see you at 12:15. Bye”. They want to hang up that phone right away. They are afraid she’ll cancel the appointment. She’s not. She just set the appointment. We’ve created a sense of urgency. We set the appointment, we got her information, and she’s going to show up.

Now, we’re going to recap and this is how we’re going to recap because we’re going to promise to get her some information. “Okay, Mrs. Jones, so we’re going to see you today, at 12:15, to test drive that 2013 Toyota Camry that we have on autotrader. Mrs. Jones, we’re going to get that Camry, cleaned, gassed and parked out front so when you arrive for your test drive you will be in and out and on your test drive in under five minutes. Mrs. Jones, if anything happens to us or that Camry, or, if for some reason that Camry’s no longer for sale, I’m going to call you right away to let you know because I don’t want you to waste a trip down here. Now. Mrs. Jones, all I ask from you, is that you show us the same courtesy, so, can I count on you for today at 12:15?”

See, when I say, “Can I count on you for today, at 12:15”, when she answers “yes”, do you know what my show rate is? My show rate is 80%. Without even doing an appointment confirmation. Just because I did that recap and because I said “can I count on you for today, at 12:15”? So, I’ve just guaranteed myself an 80% show rate if she says “yes” to that.

Now, remember, I promised to get her some information so, let’s say we go out to the desk and we ask for the keys or we go to get the keys for the Camry and they’re not there. We saw the Camry this morning but, guess what, somebody bought it this morning, or, there was a deposit put on it last night and it’s sold. We saw it alright but somebody already bought it. So, we promised her information and we’re going to keep our promises. We’re going to call her back and tell her the Camry is no longer for sale. We are not going to keep our fingers crossed and fight that battle when it gets here. Here’s the reason, and I know your managers say “just get ‘em in”: that’s wrong because the world has changed. The world has changed and we have this thing called the internet. We have things like ‘yelp’ and ‘google’ where people will flame us online, but worse, if we tell someone something’s in stock and we set an appointment for it and they show up and it’s not there, they’re not going to buy something from us.

There’s a 90% chance that they’ll be so mad that they will go online and crush us, or worse, call the state and accuse us of “bait and switch”. Fact of the matter is, it’s not “bait and switch”. The car was sold so let’s call her right away. If the vehicle sold, let’s find two alternate vehicles that are fairly close in price and in body style to that vehicle. The same color would be great. Then we’re going to call her back. We’ll say something like this:”Hey, Mrs. Jones, I apologize, that Camry actually was already spoken for. Someone did put a deposit on it last night, however, I do have two other 2013 Camry’s in stock right now. Both of them are at, or below, the price of the other one. What I’d like to do is get those cleaned, gassed, parked out front, and ready to go, so when you arrive you can test drive one, or both, of them right away. So, can I count on seeing you today at 12:15?”

We’re going to call her back because, if she needed that blue Camry; she needed the color blue, she needed that specific Camry, whatever, and she says no, she’s not going to show up now at 12:15, that’s okay. We weren’t going to sell her anyway. But, if she says “yes, I’ll still keep my 12:15”, our closing ratio is going to be 80%. Now she’s going to look at two vehicles and it’s going to be a choice of A or B and she’s going to pick one of them and we’re going to close at 80%. So, I’m going to get 80% show; I’m going to close at 80%. That means I’m gonna sell 64 cars to every 100 people who call me and I set appointments with. And that’s important. That’s why we treat the in-bound call the way we do. That’s why the goal is not information. The goal is what?

An appointment that shows.