Converting Phone Shoppers into Buyers

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More and more customers are phone-shopping dealerships to look for the best deals on powersports equipment. This can have good and bad consequences, depending on how you handle each situation. If you get offended and treat the caller rudely, you’ll lose all chances of making the deal. If you quote a number just to beat another shop’s pricing, you’ll stand to lose profit in the deal.

The objective is to get the customer into the store where they get excited about the product so you can close the deal and make money in the transaction. The following are examples you can use to better respond to a caller’s request for your best price.

For example, start by saying, “This is (insert your name here), thanks for calling (insert your store name here). How can I serve your needs?” (Here, the caller asks for your price on an XYZ) “OK, I can answer that, but I need 60 seconds to double-check our price sheet. Can I get your name and phone number in case we get disconnected?” This gives you time to check your DMS to see if the caller is a regular customer and check your inventory in the desired vehicle.

Let’s assume the caller doesn’t show up in your DMS system:

“First off, thanks for giving us the opportunity to serve your needs. I’d like to answer your question with what makes us special and ask a couple questions to determine our position in the deal. First off we, at (your store name) take great care of our customers. That’s why our customers receive...Deliver at least five of your customer benefits. For example:

• “A 15 percent discount on accessories and gear purchased during the first 30-days you own your new bike

• Dollars earned when you shop here, so you can spend on anything in the store

• “Free pickup and delivery within a 15-mile radius

• “Free wash and dry every time you bring your bike in for service

• “Personal invitation to all events, many of which include free food and beverages

Then you ask the potential customer some questions:

“What year, model and color were you interested in and what attracted you to it?” This tells you if the vehicle desired is in stock and is a fast-mover or not, which relates to your wiggle-room in the pricing. You also learn the customer’s hot-buttons, which will enable you to create a sense of urgency to doing business now, as in, “I know you’ll want to get that new Yamaha as soon as possible to go riding with your buddies.” Other questions:

“Do you have a motorcycle now? What is it and where did you purchase it?” Here you might learn if they’re a past customer, which, in my opinion, should be a factor in the pricing.

“Would you be interested in trading in your bike, and if so, can you tell me a little more about it?” Obviously, the trade-in affects what you can sell the new bike for.

“What did you hope to pay for the XYZ (Bike desired)?” This tells you how well they know the manufacturer’s suggested price and what they may know about your competitor’s pricing. That said, if you can match the desired price you can answer, “I have great news for you. We have the exact bike you want in stock and today we can sell that bike for the price you desire. Can you get down to the store in the next hour?” This creates a sense of urgency.

What we don’t want to do is discuss discounts. Here’s why; the discount percentage becomes an easy mark for the caller to use on the next dealership. Truth be told, a discount isn’t the most accurate way to shop because it means little if the asking price was originally jacked up, or the bike has added charges for setup, shipping, pre-accessorization, taxes, etc. In some cases a vehicle could have hundreds or thousands of dollars packed into the deal for additional items. This, by the way, is food for thought on how to respond when a customer remarks, “So and so says they’ll knock 15 percent off the price, what will you do?”

Assuming the customer’s desired price is more than yours; continue. ”Based on what you’ve told me I think we have the deal you’re looking for. Over the phone I can tell you that not only will we make you a great deal, but as a customer I want to remind you that you’ll receive...” Repeat those bullet points again for emphasis.

“Now, for an exact price in dollars and cents, I’d like to meet you face-to-face (Especially if a trade in is involved). We can do that here at the dealership or at a place of your choosing. What works best for you?” Few customers would meet anywhere other than the store, but this shows your desire to do whatever it takes. At this point, either you’ll make the appointment or the customer will insist on a number. If pressed for the latter, my suggestion is to state the number with the promise to make it worth their while to stop by for a face-to-face. Either way, you gave it your best shot and now the customer knows the benefits to doing business with you.

In the end, the goal for every dealership should be to grow a customer base of loyal riders who come back to the store for more — more bikes, more accessories, more service, more gear. The best way to do that is to build mutually beneficial relationships. You don’t do that by simply discounting and/or impersonal service. You do that by taking care of those who take care of you. The customer takes care of you by shopping at your store. You take care of them with great customer service and loyal customer benefits — which can include special pricing.