Best PracticesJun 18th, 2013

Four Tips for Turning Be-Backs into Sales


The typical dealership already possesses every asset necessary to sell more vehicles. Sometimes the exception is the correct attitude toward be-backs and appointments. By right attitude, the question is: how and in what ways should a dealership engage with customers and show gratitude to the business opportunities that have chosen to return to the dealership? Included in this definition are individuals who once walked from the dealership without buying a vehicle. Also consider those existing customers who a sales representative has reached out to and invited back to the dealership to discuss new vehicle possibilities.

These individuals often come back into the showroom, mostly for their own reasons, even if an associate followed up with enticing offers.

  • They might have left unsold originally, because they failed to reach a deal agreement or negotiations broke down for other reasons.
  • They might be existing customers that your BDC phone sales have identified as likely candidates for new vehicle purchases, based on their equity positions, lease mileage or other factors. An associate has encouraged them to revisit the store and scheduled an appointment date with them.

For either type of returning shopper, it is imperative they be greeted as if they were very important people, which they are! Greet them with indifference or anything less than a hearty welcome and they’ll likely walk right back outside and leave, never to return again.

As be-backs or returning customers coming back from a follow up call, what plan is in place to ensure that greeters, receptionists, associates, and managers do indeed deliver VIP treatment to them?

These VIP suggestions should serve as guidelines:

1. Change for it

More than state “we will treat be-backs differently,” put into place steps to change how greeters and sales representatives first interact with these individuals. Insure that it becomes part of the culture in your store. To the degree that your staff knows a be-back or existing customer is expected to visit the dealership that day, be sure everyone is on alert and knows these individuals’ names. If customer records on prior visits exist, pull them or have them queued in the CRM and ready to be reviewed with them. VIP’s don’t like to be kept waiting.

2. Prepare for it

If customers or be-backs are returning in response to follow-up calls that have offered new deals or adjustments to deals to be finalized, be prepared. Keep your word and have your offers ready and preapproved by management. Ideally, insure that you have worked up new offers that are likely to be embraced by the prospect or customer. VIPs don’t tolerate delaying tactics.

3. Respond to it

Prepare greeters, staff, and managers to greet these individuals with great enthusiasm, a warm handshake and a sincere thank you for choosing to visit the dealership again. VIPs should be recognized and greeted promptly. Usher this customer immediately to a designated manager who should acknowledge that the individual is a: “A VIP Customer and we will offer every courtesy, for a speedy and no-hassle deal.”

4. Complete it

Have your pre-owned manager available for the appraisal. Have the proposed new vehicle ready for a test drive — have it cleaned; make sure it has some gas, and have the keys available for a test drive as theirs is appraised. Have your previous credit application available for a quick update to the customer profile. As they meet with your F&I manager to complete the transaction, make sure the extra keys, books, spare tire, and everything required for delivery is available and waiting for final delivery. A typical VIP deal should not take much more than 60-80 minutes.

Since you probably already have these tools, sometimes it just takes practice or a small adjustment in procedures. These might include the customer database and the ability to segment this database via customer, vehicle, mileage, or other factors. Training on the telephones might be necessary to learn the proper techniques to invite customers and unsold prospects back into the store. Often the use of tested and proven scripts to reach out is most effective and helps to keep your message consistent.

When these VIPs arrive, be sure they know their presence and time are highly valued by your dealership. The tips here will help impress them about how important they are to you and how you wish to continue earn their business long into the future.

Boyd Warner is CEO of AutoAlert®, Inc. (, the most advanced lead generation solution available on the market today. Contact him at [email protected].

Authored by

Boyd Warner

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