The way modern-day automotive customers shop and receive information is undoubtedly changing. More often, consumers are viewing products online, before buying a car at the click of a button. However, one marketing technique that continues to drive sales is cold calling and with so many automotive businesses making a comeback following on from the pandemic, it’s more important than ever right now to make sure your selling tactics are pristine. With that in mind, SnapCell has created this handy list of what to do and what not to do, when making that all important cold call.
Do: Master the pitch
There’s nothing worse than a BDC agent who hasn’t learnt their pitch. Just 15 seconds, or so, that’s all we advise. Of course, it’s unrealistic to believe you could sell a car in just 15 seconds, but a brief overview of the business and its core values should be enough to solidify that engagement with the customer. Include your business’s unique selling point (USP), or a fact about your business that will capture the attention of the person on the other end of the phoneline. Whether it be a current car deal, or that you can match the price of one of your competitors, whatever it is, having this prepared could be the difference between you making a sale, or not.
Do: Get to know the customer
We’re not going to pretend that we believe every BDC agent has the time and capacity to research every person they’re picking up the phone too. However, our advice is to try and know as much about the person you are calling as possible. It might be more time consuming but honestly, this is a form of flattery and could lead to a sale in the long run.
Plus, knowing a bit more about the customer before you make the call will definitely help with your confidence too. You can then shape the phone call to suit them, so for example, if they are parent, it would make sense to give them the family car sales pitch, rather than that unpractical but hugely attractive sports car pitch, which would probably be more appropriate for a middle-aged successful businessperson.
A top tip from us is, don’t be scared to use social media to research your clients, as this is often the perfect way to gain a fly-on-the-wall glimpse into their lives. Never underestimate just how much you can discover on the internet. A person’s social channels can highlight their family set-up, their hobbies and even if they are interested in a particular vehicle.
Do: Call at the right time
Make sure you’re strategic with your timings. According to research, the best time to make a car sale cold call is between 4pm and 5pm, locally to the receiver. If you think about it, at this time, the prospective customer is most likely to be winding down for the day, which means having more time to speak to you. They are also probably going to be on their own, quite possibly at work, without the interruptions of homelife, or the distractions that come with friends and hobbies.
Do: Ask questions, but the right ones
If you’ve cracked the introduction, successfully made your pitch and you’re still on the phone, then it means you’ve started to build up trust with the customer. Use this to your advantage and nurture the prospective customer’s ego by asking them questions.
Consider breaking the cold call down into three parts: the initial pitch, the conversation and the deal. Asking questions goes in the middle and is a vital part of the call to generate conversation, as well as making the customer feel comfortable and respected, while building a rapport with them. Of course, make sure you’re asking only appropriate and correct questions to engage the customer and hopefully, this will get you one step closer to a deal at the end of the call.
Do: Smile when you talk
OK, this is might seem crazy but honestly, give it a go and you’ll soon understand that cracking a smile when you dial has many benefits when cold calling. First of all, it’s a well-known fact that smiling reduces stress levels and as we all know, these cold calls aren’t always easy, so the more you can do to ensure you’re relaxed, the better.
Secondly, if you smile, you will naturally sound happier and more friendly. If you don’t believe us, try it. A smile can go a long way, even if the receiver can’t actually see your face.
Do: Prepare yourself for the call
There’s no denying that cold calling can be daunting and sometimes quite disheartening. Remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression, so make sure your head in the right space to making the phone call.
If you’re feeling nervous or unmotivated, then try going for a quick walk, grabbing a coffee, stretching, or listening to relaxing music to prepare you for the call. If you’re not in the right mood to be making a cold call, this will immediately come across to the customer and could have an impact on your attitude, your responses and the information you’re giving.
Do: Let the customer drive conversation
Although it’s a cold call, you might find that the customer actually has an idea of what car they would be looking to buy next. If this is the case, then don’t be afraid to let them take control and lead the conversation. Prompt them by asking appropriate questions and guide them towards making a deal at the end of the phone call.
Do: Make car cold calling a regularity
Familiarize yourself with the cold calling process by doing it more frequently. Make it a daily occurrence in your diary by blocking out half-an-hour or so, to ensure it becomes a regular task. This will help build up your skill, confidence and experience.
Do: Focus on objections rather than rejections
As a car sales cold caller, you are most likely to face a lot of no’s, potentially rude customers and probably multiple phone slams. With this in mind and for your own wellbeing, it is extremely important that you continue to focus on the positives from each call.
Consider looking at how your pitch could be improved next time or turn it into a game whereby you see if you can beat the time you stay on the phone each time. Some car sales teams have been known to create a competition among themselves, to see who gets the most ‘no’s’ that day, or week. Remember, it’s not about being any less professional on the phone, it’s about building a hard exterior, something that is vital to any car salesperson, especially those who are cold calling.
Don’t: Ask them how they’re doing
The first of our don’ts is to never start the phone call with ‘how are you doing?’ While it’s tempting to be polite, avoid using phrases like this to kick off conversation. There are two main reasons for this, the first being that the person might not be doing great. If this is the case and the customer replies with something like, ‘terrible’, then you have immediately set the tone of the conversation. Let’s face it, the reason you are making the call is to sell a product, so putting the customer in a bad mood is not the ideal was to start your pitch.
Additionally, if the person on the end of the phone is having a bad day, you might find yourself still listening to them half-an-hour later, without having mentioned your business. Asking ‘how are you doing?’ can be interpreted as an invitation for the person you are calling to give you a detailed rundown of why they aren’t doing very well. It really is one of the worst ways to start your phone call. Instead, we advise starting the conversation with ‘thank you for taking my call, I’m calling with regards to…’ and head straight into your pitch.
Don’t: Ask if it’s a good time
Let’s be honest, put yourselves in their shoes and ask yourself, is it ever a good time? The answer is most probably, always no. So, why give them the option to say no, which will ultimately end the call before you’ve been given a chance to get started. If it isn’t a great time, rest assured, they will tell you without prompting, so don’t encourage them to cut you off any sooner.
Don’t: Apologize for making the call
Saying sorry to the person you’re calling immediately implies that you have something to apologize for. Of course, it’s human nature to want to say sorry for calling at such an inappropriate time, but don’t. If you say sorry, you will automatically be encouraging the person you’re calling to consider you an annoyance and you won’t have even began to start on your pitch.
Don’t: Be fluffy
Don’t be fluffy, or in other words, don’t make excuses for why you’re calling. This is often considered one of the most important tips for car cold callers. Treat the person you’re calling with respect by getting straight to the point and providing them with honesty. If you do this, they will be more likely to respect you back and hopefully give you the time to listen to your sales pitch.
Don’t: Give information overload
While it’s essential to understand what information to include, it is equally as important to know what information to leave out. Information overload can lead to customer frustration and confusion, two things that certainly won’t get you any closer to making that all-important deal.
Streamline the information you give, being sure to include only the most important and relevant. Remember, not every person you call will be as familiar with the automotive industry as you are, so be careful not to use complex phrases or words that they don’t understand.
If you’re in the automotive industry and you’re looking for ways to get ahead of the competition by taking your marketing up a level, then get in touch with SnapCell.