Answering Incoming Sales Calls

During my days on the sales floor I remember selling many cars, because of the incoming sales calls. There was no trick to it. It was just about building a relationship with the customer. All you have to do is get to know the person and you increase your phone sales.


This usually took me several returned calls over a few hours and in some cases days. Then I would either get them to the dealership to see our cars or, in some cases, I would go for the close on the phone. The process is the same as if the customer was physically at the dealership—gather customer info, select a vehicle, ask for the sale, ask for a credit card number, providing we can agree on a number, fill out a worksheet and take it to my sales manager—the only exception is that it occurs over the phone.


Incoming sales calls at the dealership can be worth as many as three to five sales per month per sales person. That means telephone sales calls are worth a minimum of $1,000 dollars per month for every salesperson. It’s about $36,000 per month for the dealership based on three sales per salesperson per month, with a staff of 10 reps. These numbers do not include the potential profit from the F&I office and future service department work.


As a dealer principal or general manager, you should know the number of daily and monthly sales calls. It’s very important to have your best telephone sales people handling these calls or you need to train your entire sales staff properly, asap.  


The following is a step-by-step word track to handle incoming sales calls. This may sound like a long track, but practice and follow it this way every time and you will see an increase in your appointments and sales. At the very least understand from this script what you are trying to accomplish.       


Remember to smile when you pick up the phone. It’s for your benefit and the caller will hear it in your voice.         


“Thank you for calling ASC Motors. My name is Darin George”(Always use your first and last name.) “And your name is?” (Ask for their last name if it is not given.)


You have to qualify the customer the same way you would as if they were on the dealership lot.


“Is this the first time you have called our dealership?”

This question determines if the customer has been dealing with another sales representative and how they heard about the dealership.


“Did you know that our dealership is having a sale on…?”

A point of interest about your dealership is always helpful in building credibility. Tell the customer about any specials or sales.


“So what feature do you want in your new vehicle (Do not pause! )new or used, two-door or four, truck, mini-van, 4 x 4, sports utility, automatic or manual transmission, four, six or eight-cylinder engine, air conditioning, power windows and locks, sunroof, cloth or leather interior, your color preference dark or light etc.).”


“What do you have in your present vehicle that you would want in your new one?”


“Is the vehicle for business or family use?”


“Who will be the main driver of the vehicle?”


“Would you be selling us your present vehicle?”


“What type of monthly budget are you looking at?”


“Mr. Customer, you do not have to get the vehicle today, do you?”

You ask this question to find out where the customer is in the buying cycle and it will relax them. It’s the old reverse psychology concept. 


“Great! Let me check what I have now and what I have coming in the next few days. It will take me about 10 to 15 minutes. Are you calling from home or work?”


“OK, and your number there is?”


“How do you spell your last name?”


“Great, Mr. Customer, I’m looking over my list of vehicles available. When would you be available, this afternoon or tonight? …Good, let’s make it…


Do you have a pencil and paper handy? Wait until they get it. (Spell out your name; do not say it)“Please write this down, D-A-R-I-N G-E-O-R-G-E”


 “Ok, I’ll call you back in 10 to 15 minutes.”


You need to end the call now, but call them back immediately. This will verify the phone number and shows your interest in the customer.


Simply say, “Hi Mr. Customer, It’s Darin from the dealership, I just wanted to know if (refer any option on the vehicle; colour of the car, stereo system) would be OK with you?”


This is a very short call back, so end it quickly. Then call the customer back a second time, approximately 20 to 30 minutes after your first call back to say you have a few vehicles to show and reconfirm their appoint time.


By calling them back several times you are showing them you are really working for them. One of the biggest complaints from consumers regarding calling the sales department of a dealership is that the sales people fail to call them back and follow up.


Your goal now is to get the customer into the dealership. If you cannot accomplish this, go for the close over the telephone.


Follow this telephone strategy and you will see an increase in your appointments and phone sales.


Treat all of your incoming sales calls the same way you would talk with your best friend on the phone and watch your telephone sales jump. It’s all about building rapport over the phone.


Darin George is the founder of the Automotive Sales College. For information on recruiting new sales staff and in dealership sales training, contact Darin by email at ASC company websites: and





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