When you start calling dealerships about your next new car, consider this: The salesperson at the other end in the line might be a veritable ninja in using the phone as a sales tool.
Jerry Thibeau, a Rochester, N.Y.-based sales trainer, ought to know. In late 2009, he started a company, Phone-Up Ninjas, to build up the telephone skills of dealership staffs.
Thibeau teaches anything from phone etiquette and a positive and productive attitude, to lots of sales techniques and strategies. One of his specialties is to convert the call-in shopper into flesh and blood presence in the dealership floor.
The bottom line for consumers: They may be at a disadvantage in dealing with these ninjas.
Through the dealers’ standpoint, the rationale for ninja training is simple: Over the years, they already have seen most of the sales transaction begin the Internet – witness every one of the shopping and financing sites now available. Therefore they risk missing the boat entirely when they aren’t efficient at bringing customers onto their lots.
Good phone training might help them try this, often at the expense of a dealership across the street or across town. That, at least, is the way the thinking runs.
The important thing for consumers: They could be in a disadvantage in working with these ninjas. While they have clearly improved their bargaining position in a vehicle buying game in recent years, precious few have coaches giving them pointers.
Thibeau contends they have nothing to worry about. Salespeople trained in his ninja arts are prepared to introduce them off to the right vehicles — at the dealership, naturally. No customer can fully evaluate an automobile from miles away, he explained.
Salespeople undoubtedly agree, even though they may not be fully sold on the merits of phone training.
Salespeople often think that their best customers are those who walk into a dealership. They almost see phone customers as a bother, Thibeau said. That’s a huge mistake, he explained. These people are prepared to buy a car.
It could cost a dealership $5,000 to attack sales inertia with a good training ninja program, Thibeau says. He personally provides onsite training for $2,000 a day, plus expenses. But there are other alternatives, including webinars and remote coaching.
Included in his mystery shopping service, a member of his staff calls a store and pretends to be a customer. The conversation is recorded and after that put beneath a microscope.
The firm uses audio editing software to operate a vehicle home the instruction, replaying the conversation for the salesperson with constructive comments inserted at the precise point in which the individual could have used a little bit help. Thibeau’s team is likewise ready to critique emails along with the telephone calls addressing Internet sales leads.
We submit the Internet lead after which wait to discover when the response comes back to us, he was quoted saying. If email was personalized at all or maybe any video was incorporated.””, We check to see””
Getting the appointment is crucial, since it is in any sales profession. The genuine ninja moves ahead forthrightly with an invitation.
Dealers have got a big enough problem with their staffs’ performance around the telephone, Thibeau said. It’s not uncommon to the salesperson to fumble a call right in the beginning. People have to be personal’ and ‘upbeat when they answer the phone. That’s the first mistake that people make, he said. They don’t answer the phone with any passion.
If you call four dealerships, and all of them sound crummy on the phone, guess where you are going to go? The nearest one. It is really an opportunity for dealerships to set themselves apart.
He recommends the next as an opener: It’s an awesome day at (dealership) this really is (your name) how may I help you today? Then the salesperson should ask a few questions to ascertain the customer’s needs.
Getting the appointment is crucial, as it is in any sales profession. The real ninja moves ahead forthrightly with an invitation.
If you ask in a weak ‘Hey, manner, like and John do you think you should come down for the dealership on of these days? ‘ The consumer is going to say, ‘Well, I don’t know – maybe.’
Instead, the salesperson should ask: ‘When do you need to come down and check out a new automobile – now or later today.’
It’s absolutely critical to get customers’ contact and names information hence they aren’t lost forever once they hang up, he said. However , many clients are reluctant to give that out.
The key is to not divulge anything significant in that first phone call, Thibeau said. He advises sales staff to say they need to check availability.
The dealership could lose a sale when the caller gets too much information too quickly, Thibeau said. 000 miles onto it, the prospect might get bored, if a salesperson were to instantly reveal that a Ford Focus has an unattractive color and 87.
But with a little research, the sales people might identify a similar car with a better color and much less miles into it. The result could be a sale — along with a happy customer.
Thibeau’s workout sessions also relate to the basic tackling and blocking of sales work, including identifying a buyer’s objections. One of Thibeau’s sample ninja scripts goes like this:
– The main reason I am calling you is to thank you for making the effort to visit our dealership. I truly do appreciate the opportunity to advise you regarding the selection of a (make) (model).
– I often realize that our customers will think about questions they forgot to inquire about me whilst in the dealership, have you got any questions about the (model) that we could answer for you? Is the (model) the car you would enjoy to own? If you have to pick one reason that prevented you from purchasing, what would you select?
Within their arsenal, true Phone-Up Ninjas also have an exquisitely non-judgmental approach to the bane of any salesperson’s existence: the no-show.
– Is (customer first name only) there?
– I hope I am just not getting you at a bad time?
– This is (your full name) at (your dealership name).
– The reason I am just calling is apologize for not being able to help you yesterday. Together with the big sale going on we got real busy here. So, if you did come in I am hoping one of my associates could help you. You were not able to come in? Well I am just glad I didn’t miss you then.
A number of rounds of education will improve performance measurably, Thibeau said, provided that salespeople take it seriously. His scoring and tracking systems reveal individuals who don’t. The dealership will definitely suffer whenever they fail to, he explained.
You would feel that someone who has been in the business for 10 years would know how to perform a phone-up properly. The veterans are usually the worst, The brand new people will at the very least try, and after they run into rejection, they become such as the veterans.
The courses will get them past the obstacles, he said. Several years ago, the long-time sales veteran put together the idea of embedding tips and suggestions into recordings of sales conversations. He began experimenting with audio editing software on his and then hired a programmer to help him develop a system.
It helps that lots of dealerships have special 800 numbers whose messages advise callers their conversations might be recorded for quality reasons. Those calls are the raw material of countless of his coaching sessions.
We are the standard control, he explained It is a great opportunity – here there exists a real-life example that we can show from.
The laggards naturally aren’t likely to be allowed to take phone calls any more.
His staff will pay attention to the recordings, alert to opportunities for improvements, and then insert their tips. When the salespeople hear these conversations, they will likely hear themselves, the customer, and the coach’s interjections at various steps as you go along.
For a typical 10-person sales staff, with two critiques apiece, the cost works out to $700, or $35 per round of tips and critiques. Thibeau considers that a bargain.
Phone-Up Ninjas gives the salesperson a score on the original conversation, tracks whether the individual has heard the coaching, and ranks the individual against other salespeople in the dealership and against Phone-Up Ninja’s industry averages.
Then we start watching the needle move. They improve.
The laggards naturally aren’t going to be permitted to take calls any more, Thibeau said, as newly trained staff enhance their sales record.
That has to become the equivalent of relieving one of the ancient ninjas of his sword. There is no word yet on whether Thibeau’s firm is planning on therapy sessions to deal with the letdown.