Creating an Appointment Culture – Part 14
TRANSCRIPT: Now it is time to talk about the Perfect Appointment. The Perfect Appointment is the one that will close at eighty percent for your internet appointments, but interestingly you can close all of your appointments at eighty percent. If you follow the Perfect Appointment for any sales appointment you have, you will close them eighty percent of the time. I guarantee it.
What are the keys to the Perfect Appointment? The biggest key is that every one of your sales managers, anyone in the sales department with manager in their title; such as, F & I, desk managers, new car manager, used car manager, internet manager, sales manager, even general manager is deeply involved in what we call the post-connection processes. This means that after we have connected with the prospect, the owner, or the “be-back”, they are deeply involved in every process after that. There are really four post-connection processes we are going to talk about.
They are strong appointment setting, appropriate appointment confirmation, pre-appointment preparation, and last is in-store VIP treatment. We will talk about each one of those, one by one. The first step in the Perfect Appointment is this thing called strong appointment setting. The goal is an appointment that shows. If your team is setting passive appointments or appointments too far out, that is not strong appointment setting. Your managers need to be deeply involved in the appointment setting processes to make sure that your team is working toward strong appointment setting.
One important part of this process is that all appointments need to be made for a named person. We never set appointments for “The Sales Manager” because it doesn’t create a connection in the prospect’s mind. If I am a sales rep and I am calling my owner data base, I am going to set the appointment for me. I want them to know that they need to come in and ask for me, Steve Stauning. I will let the prospect know this and that I will be the one taking them through the test drive or to introduce them to the appraiser to get an appraisal on their trade-in. Again, your appointment needs to be set with a named person.
If you are working with a BDC, or other appointment setters, you never want them to set the appointment for themselves. In fact, we want to make sure that the prospect on the other end of the phone understands that my only job is to make sure that their VIP appointment gets scheduled and to ask for our manager, Steve Stauning, when they come into the dealership. One thing that your team should understand is that all of the appointments will be set with the same named manager. Even if it is their day off. The reason for this is that we don’t want to try to get too cute with this because our team is going to be trained that when someone walks into the dealership and says, “Hi, I am here to see Steve Stauning”, the whole team knows that this is an internet appointment. If it is my day off, the team should know to say, “Listen, Steve is with a customer right now, but let me take you to meet Bob. He is our sales manager.” We will get to this when we get to the VIP appointment. This can’t happen unless you set the appointment with a named person, and in the case of a BDC, we are going to set appointments with a named manager.
Appointments should be less than forty-eight hours away. I understand that this is not always possible. For example, someone who is serving overseas in our military wants to buy that new Camaro when it comes out. They want to set an appointment to come and test-drive it, but they don’t get back into country for three months. I get that. We still want to set that appointment. We just want to confirm it differently. We will talk about the appropriate appointment confirmation in the next session. In this session, it is important to understand that if we set an appointment for more than forty-eight hours away, there is a chance that they are never going to show. One reason for this is that it is a weak appointment.
Another reason, and probably more importantly, is that if we have a great competitor and they set their appointment for tonight and ours is for next Saturday, eight days away, guess what? They are not going to buy a car from us because our great competitor has already sold them a car. Strong appointment setting means that we are going to strive to set the appointment for less than forty-eight hours away. If it is before noon on any day of the week, we are going to try to set the appointment for that day. We may offer to bring it by their work at lunch or schedule them for a specific time after they get off work. We are also going to try to avoid setting appointments for Saturdays, unless Saturdays are not as busy as other days. For most dealerships, Saturday is the busiest day of the week, so it does not make sense to schedule too many appointments for Saturday. An exception would be if we get a call at seven in the evening on a Friday, and we close at eight. The prospect may live forty-five minutes away, so they are not going to come in for an appointment Friday. Though, they would probably come in for an appointment on that Saturday morning. So we should try to set that appointment. That is strong appointment setting.
All appointments require three things: A specific appointment day and time, like tonight at 5:15. It also needs a specific goal, such as saying they will be test-driving the new Camry. Now we have a specific day and time as well as a specific goal for the appointment. Finally, we need to make sure we get a mental and verbal commitment from the prospect. This means something like, “Mrs. Jones if anything happens to us or the vehicle, we are going to be sure and call you well in advance. I would appreciate it if you would give me the same courtesy.” We are going to make sure that they say, “Yes, I will absolutely do that.” Then we know they have made a mental and verbal commitment to us. Those three things make it a strong appointment.