The Telephone Is Your Most Powerful Sales Tool

(This article appeared as a feature in Automotive Management Magazine in January 2017)

Getting bums on seats can certainly help sell cars but a targeted, personal and professional approach to prospecting will ensure that more of those bums turn into profit on the bottom line.

High test drive conversion rates don’t just happen by chance. To enjoy the best results, dealerships need to ensure that the best prospects receive the best test drive experience in the car that’s best suited to their needs. 

So how do you get the hottest prospects into your showroom (and your vehicles) in the first place? At MFG we follow a proven process to help dealerships generate increased footfall from people that are ready to test – and then buy – new and used cars.

Get the data right

Whether you are using bought-in data or your own database, the first step is to identify those people who are most likely to buy. Anyone who has made a recent purchase (say within the last 18 months) is unlikely to commit to another vehicle so soon. However, looking beyond that, you will find people who are approaching the end of finance agreements or who may be on the lookout for something different.

Turn up the heat

Once you have identified your potential leads then it’s time to warm them up with some marketing communications. Email marketing, for example, is highly cost-effective, gives you the option to introduce some personalisation and is trackable – so you can quickly see those prospects who are reacting positively to what you have to say.

But you can’t stop there.

Time to talk

While this outbound marketing will raise awareness and spark interest, it won’t drive people to your showroom on its own. You need to back it up with professional telephone calls that engage, inspire and focus the mind of prospects.

This is often the part that sales teams struggle with. In our experience, while many sales executives are comfortable dealing with people face to face in the showroom, they often feel daunted by the thought of getting on the phone and calling customers at home or work.   

However, with some expert training around how to open the conversation, how to build intrigue and then how to close the call, a sales team will soon be able to convert initial customer interest into face to face appointments - especially when the prospects have been identified correctly in the first place.

And once they’ve secured one appointment, and then another, it’s amazing how the momentum and motivation builds among the sales team. 

The perfect result

When all of these elements work in unison you end up with people in the showroom who understand what’s available, will be keen for a test drive and are ready to buy. Your salespeople will be on the front foot and you’ll have everything in place to support a higher test drive conversion rate.

What’s more, you’ll have achieved all of this without compromising on the price per unit or undermining the value of your brand.

To find out how our prospecting events can drive profitable footfall to your dealership, please call 01308 802033 or email