Part of automotive internet sales manager training is specific procedures that you can put in place to maximize your efficiency pre- and post-appointment. The high volume of internet traffic creates complications that must be addressed in order to convert a high percentage of these customers successfully.
Automotive Internet Sales Manager Training: Introduction
The general idea is to have an incredibly efficient, machine-like business, that operates under strict guidelines, while still having a human face towards the customer. You should dream of a process in which your customers are taken from the internet lead to a confirmed appointment to a sold customer like a factory. Make no mistake, those who manage and own the store expect this out of the internet department. To sell to these customers, they have invested in leads, business development centers, and you, and they want the return on investment.
In the Automotive BDC Manifesto, I spent a significant amount of time reviewing effective internet sales follow up. In that book, I offered a number of email templates that readers all over the world have started to use to great success.
So, what are the components of a great email template? What makes a great phone call script? How about some examples? Let’s get started.
Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Process and “Making Your Own Luck”
If your emails are ending up in spam, your phone calls will save you. If you can get your customer enticed on the phone, you can have them find your emails in order to retrieve information. This allows you to work around the problems of spam filtering since the customer will actively find your emails in the spam filters and bring them back to life. This act will also help your email reputation since Google is always watching!
So what do you say on the phone?
Here are some basics for every outbound phone call:
You must identify yourself and your dealership
You need to speak slowly (the older the customer, the slower you talk!)
You need to stay calm (regardless of their attitude)
You need to remember the mission (get the appointment!)
In my mind, phone calls are about information gathering, deal sharing, and serendipity. Your calls are the best way to get an immediate update on the customer’s status. If a customer picks up, they will generally answer at least a question or two before wanting to go. The phone call also reinforces your dealer name and your name, so when the customer is ready to come in, they will think of you first.
At the start of the call, make sure to identify yourself and your dealership, every time.
“Hi! This is Andrei Smith from Audi North Michigan”
That’s a great start to ping the customer’s brain. Hopefully, they will remember an email that they’ve seen from you recently. As soon as you say that, they will respond, and from this response, you will know how much of their time you have. If they say:
“Uh… ok, yes?”
Then you probably don’t have much of their time. Get to the point right away:
“Thanks for jumping on the phone! I had seen your inquiry on stock #4123 and I wanted to let you know that this specific vehicle is still available and has a discounted e-price right now. Did you have a minute to review?”
As I mentioned in the Automotive BDC Manifesto (Chapter 4: Inbound Phone Calls), it’s critical to create a back and forth of information as quickly as possible on the phone. You need the customer to be hooked and to desire the information that you have. If you give your customer all of the information right away, without having them participate in the call, you have lost your value. Your information is what you trade for their time and attention. By mentioning an “e-price” and then immediately asking if they have a “minute to review” you have set up a conversational trade. I give you information if you opt into our conversation.
At the end of the day, the point of the call is to set the appointment. Deals happen, in almost all cases, in person at the dealer (exceptions include out of state deals and some corporate deals). Buying a car is halfway between buying a house and buying a TV- it’s a balance between practicality, finances, and emotions. Generally, practicality and finances win on the phone, emotions win in person.
The most exciting part of calling customers (and follow up in general) is what I call the “discovery of serendipity”. Serendipity is defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Over my career so far, there have been countless times where customers tell me this when I get them on the phone:
“Wow that’s funny you called…”
At that point, the customer will say that they are “just about to go visit dealers” or that they “were just talking about new cars.” These are the best moments!
When I say that car purchasing is partly emotional, I’m not referring to color preference. I’m more speaking to the fact that, when a customer feels like everything is coming together serendipitously, they tend to close deals. If you’re constantly doing high value, professional follow up, you are giving yourself more opportunities to be in the right place at the right time. You are actively “creating your own luck.”
Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts
I’ll restate what I’ve said elsewhere, I think that phone scripts are just for when you are starting out. They can inspire you to have more dynamic conversations, with better value propositions, but they should not be used as a long term crutch. Try to get yourself (and the rest of the people that sell cars on the internet) to a point where phone calls are natural, without the use of any script. As you progress you will develop scripts that you can call from at any point, lodged deep in your brain by repetition.
Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Standard Outbound Call with Price Offer:
Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”
REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! I had seen your inquiry on stock #X and I wanted to let you know that this specific vehicle is still available and has a discounted e-price right now. Did you have a minute to review?
OPTION 1 – IF CUS SAYS: No, I don’t have time to talk right now
THEN REP SAYS: No problem, I’ll send you over an email with the pricing. Is [email protected] your correct email address?
OPTION 2 – IF CUS SAYS: Yes, I have a few minutes, what was the pricing?
THEN REP SAYS: Great! I’ll be sending this quote via email as well, can I confirm that [email protected] is your correct email?
EITHER WAY REP SAYS: Ok, sounds great. So for this stock #X, with an MSRP of $XXk, we are having our SPECIAL REASON sale right now, that reduces the price down by $Xk. This offer can be combined with extra incentives that you might also qualify for.
CUS: Oh ok, what are the incentives?
REP: We have incentives for customers that currently have QUALIFIER 1 and QUALIFIER 2. This sale price will be running until the end of this weekend- did you have time tomorrow at 11am to swing by and check it out?
Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Vehicle Availability Confirmation:
Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”
REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! I had seen your inquiry on stock #X, the COLOR MODEL at DEALER. Did you have a minute to review?
OPTION 1 – IF CUS SAYS: No, I don’t have time to talk right now
THEN REP SAYS: No problem, I’ll send you over an email. Is [email protected] your correct email address?
OPTION 2 – IF CUS SAYS: Yes, I have a few minutes.
THEN REP SAYS: Great! I’ll be sending this information via email as well, can I confirm that [email protected] is your correct email?
EITHER WAY REP SAYS: Ok, sounds great. Stock #X is currently available at our dealership. As you can imagine, because of UNIQUE THING ABOUT CAR, I doubt that this specific vehicle will last on the lot a long time. Was this Stock #X the exact fit you were looking for?
OPTION 1 – IF CUS SAYS: No, I just clicked on a car on your site at random (etc)
THEN REP SAYS: Oh no problem! We have X number of MODELS in stock. We have some specials running on some cars right now, what were the specifics you were looking for?
OPTION 2 – IF CUS SAYS: Yes, that is the exact car.
THEN REP SAYS (Excited!): Wow! Generally, the customer has to make a ton of compromises when buying a new car, that is so serendipitous/great/fantastic that we have the exact car you are looking for! Let’s not miss this chance, did you have time to come by tonight to come check it out? I have some time around XXXpm.
Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Lease End Call
Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”
REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! I work with MANUFACTUROR directly as a lease end representative. It’s my job to keep MANUFACTUROR up to date with your lease end plans and to walk you through your options. Have you an idea of what you want to do with your lease end?
OPTION 1 – IF CUS SAYS: Yes, I plan to drop off the car and will not be purchasing a new BRAND car.
THEN REP SAYS: *Explain lease end drop off process for your dealer, but ask if there was anything that would entice them to stay with brand*
OPTION 2 – IF CUS SAYS: No, I haven’t decided yet.
THEN REP SAYS: No problem. MANUFACTUROR would like us to set up a time to discuss your options, did you have time tomorrow at XXXpm?
For lease end calls, I’ve found that I have the greatest success when I frame the conversation as a requirement of their lease end. Although the lease end is a fantastic opportunity to sell the customer a car, the fact that they have a lease coming due means that you don’t ever need to hard sell. They have to make a decision; you need to sell yourself as the frictionless route.
Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Appointment Follow Up
Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”
REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! We had met last Sunday, where we demo’d the MODEL. You had mentioned that you were still shopping brands. We actually have some new incentives to tell you about, I was wondering if you were still in the market?
CUS: Yes, I am still in the market.
THEN REP SAYS: Great! I’ll be sending this quote via email as well, can I confirm that [email protected] is your correct email?
EITHER WAY REP SAYS: Ok, sounds great. When we met we had driven the COLOR MODEL with PACKAGE OPTION. You had mentioned that this was a good fit, is that still the case?
If CUS says: No, that car won’t work for us.
Then REP says: No problem, we have X MODEL in stock. What was it that you were looking for instead?
If CUS says: Yes, that car still works for us.
Then REP says: Wow! Generally, the customer has to make a ton of compromises when buying a new car, that is so serendipitous/great/fantastic that we have the exact car you are looking for! Let’s not miss this chance, especially since we SPECIAL OFFER running for SPECIAL EVENT. Can you make it in at XXXpm tomorrow?
Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Car in Service
Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”
REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! I’m the service liaison here at DEALER. We have your CAR here at DEALER in service. There are some things we need to chat about with your vehicle. Do you have a few minutes?
CUS: Yes, I have a few minutes… what’s going on?
EITHER WAY REP SAYS: During the inspection on your vehicle, they discovered that your car needs PROBLEM THAT CAR HAS. The price to get this fixed is $Xk. Since your vehicle is outside of the warranty period, this would be a customer pay option. That being said I do have an option that might be more attractive than fixing this problem.
If CUS says: Ok? What’s the alternative?
Then REP says: I’ve got my management involved on this one, and they have agreed to take your vehicle in on trade with this problem as is. If we get you swapped into a new model year MODEL, your payment would go from CURRENT PAYMENT to NEW PAYMENT. OPTIONAL: We are able to waive your down payment, so nothing would be due today.
Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Just Sent Quote:
Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”
REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone. I wanted to review the lease quote that I sent over via email a few minutes ago. I can offer an extra incentive on top of that quote if you have a minute to review. Did you have some time now?
Cus: Yes, I have a few minutes, what was the pricing?
THEN REP SAYS: Great! I sent over the quote a few minutes ago. Just to review, this car that you had expressed interest in is the COLOR MODEL with FEATURES. Does that sound right?
EITHER WAY REP SAYS: Perfect. The lease quote I sent over is $XXX per month with $Xk due at signing. I’m able to offer you an extra $XXX off of your drive off on top of that quote if you are able to come in today. Did you have some time after work to come by?
What Makes Up a Great Follow Up Email
There a few common threads that run through all of the best follow up email templates:
They don’t look like templates (short and targeted)
They are easy to add personalization (spaces to put in details of the specific customer’s situation)
They don’t end up in spam (very few if any images, very few hyperlinks, no spam phrases)
They provide value (the customer is happy they opened them)
I believe in a relentless email follow up. It’s not an opinion that is shared with everyone, but I think that it’s your job when selling cars online to be consistently appearing in your potential customer’s email inbox until they are out of the market. That means that you need to have a reason to email a customer, every day, for at least the first ten days after they submit an inquiry.
The Spam Trap
Do you know what doesn’t work? Sending the same email every single day. As soon as a customer sees a duplicate of an email you’ve sent, the gig is up. They mentally categorize you as spam. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if every time a customer opens an email from you they find something different, they mentally categorize you as valuable.
It’s not just the customers who are categorizing you. Email clients, such as Gmail (which has 26%+ of the market share) will categorize your emails into spam automatically if you abuse customer’s inboxes. Gmail is always learning, and saying things like “YOU WON’T BELIEVE THE DEALS!!” or “INCREDIBLE SaVinGS!!!” is going to get you flagged very quickly by the algorithms.
Here are some basic rules to follow if you want to avoid being filtered into spam automatically:
Be short and direct
Do NOT use shortened URLs (Google punishes these heavily!)
Include the customer’s name using “merge tags” into your template builder
Write the template to mirror a traditional “letter” format
Speaking of spam filters, there are a number of reasons that dealership emails end up in spam. Frankly, I think all dealers will have some of their emails end up automatically sorted into spam. That’s pretty common. The issue arises when all of your dealership’s first response emails always get filtered into spam. The reason for this can be multifaceted, and Google is intentionally vague on the issue. You can even be punished because of your sender reputation (your “SMTP server” and your IP addresses can have the negative rep), your email service provider.
For now, it’s critical you find out if your emails are being filtered. Set up a secret shop and test your own internet department. Do your emails end up in the “spam” folder? That’s pretty catastrophic if they do!
If your dealership is having all of its emails sent directly to spam, it’s time to change up your processes. First thing, turn off all automated emails. Next, strip all templates of all images and hyperlinks. Then, double down on the phones- texting and calling your customers just became your dealership’s bread and butter.
Long term, this isn’t sustainable at scale. Sending every email by hand takes too much time, and it sets you at a severe disadvantage to your competitors. You need to work with your management and your point of contact at your CRM’s company to solve this issue right away!
Spam flagging is a massive topic that I may dive into more if requested to by my readers. For now, just know that your email reputation can have huge effects on your internet departments conversion rates. If your customers don’t see your emails you can assume that they won’t set an appointment.
Review: Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts
Your dealership’s internet department is defined by its follow-up. Ineffective templates, spam filtering, and bad phone voice can all hold back your closing rate.
A good place to start? Secret shop your own dealer. Set up a fake Gmail and send in a lead to your store. See what your automated emails look like in Gmail and on your phone’s email client. When you are on the receiving end of your own follow up you may find some problems glaringly obvious!
In 2018 I made progress on some lifelong goals. I’ve started this blog, written a book, started rock climbing regularly, saved thousands of dollars a month, and I made it to intermediate Mandarin. In the summer I rode my bike to work, and for the bulk of the year, I’ve been giving 5% of my gross income to charity. My relationships with my family are stronger than ever. I even started a little Facebook group called “Ethical Sales Managers, Internet Managers, and BDC,” which is slowly growing.
If you told me when I was graduating university in 2012 that I would have a year like 2018… I wouldn’t have believed you. I mean, Mandarin? Are you crazy?
The fact is, even with that list of personal goals, internally I am still growing and yearning for more. For much of the year, I have been plagued again with video game addiction. I’ve slowly added a bit of fat around the love handles from being a bit too liberal with my snack choices. The blog, designed to be a launching pad for a consulting and coaching business, is only making $200 per month.
I did feel like I “cracked the code” a bit in 2018 for addressing “How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation” and I figured I could write about what worked for me. I’m very much still a work in progress, but this is how I took the steps I took this year. This article will dive into what I learned while working on each of my 2018 resolutions.
I’ve been learning Mandarin for two years now, and it’s not nearly as hard as people make it out to be. There have been a few thoughts that have helped me so far.
First, and most importantly, was my mindset going in. Two years ago I had this lofty idea that “learning Mandarin” would be a cool thing to accomplish, especially since my girlfriend’s family all speaks it. After a little bit of research, I found out just how hard people think it is.
The reasons I read online about not being able to learn it centered around the fact that it is a “tonal” language and that it lacks a Latin alphabet. Also, when an English speaker learns Spanish, there are a few freebies (“computadora” for example). In Mandarin, there are no freebies (电脑 is the word computer, pronounced “dian nao,” which roughly translates to “electric brain”).
So my mindset wasn’t great going into my first class after reading all these excuses. I went straight to the teacher and shared my reluctance, and the conversation was pretty classic.
ANDREI: Ok, so I have a question. I’m 28 years old and I’ve never studied Mandarin before. Can I really learn Mandarin? I heard it’s really hard, almost impossible.
TEACHER: Well… it’s harder than Spanish. That being said, there are somewhere around a billion people that speak it. I’m sure you’re as smart as a few of them.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Avoid Negativity
The guy had a point. I put away my negativity and sat down.
This mindset is pretty useful. Consider car sales. There are plenty of people online that say that selling cars is a horrible job, one in which very few ever make any money. That’s just plain not true. Go to any car dealership, and you will find successful employees, many of whom earn six figures with no student loan debt. Others have done it, and with the help of some guidance, so can you.
This blog now has 200+ email subscribers, and the accompanying Facebook group has 40+ members. We are in the ninth or tenth month I think at this point. The blog gets 2000-3000 unique visitors a month with many readers spending quite a bit of time here. Overall I’m happy with the growth that I’ve had, and I’ve learned tons cranking out this content.
If I had to pick the most “teachable” thing I’ve learned, it would have to be the patient mindset.
Successful and profitable blogging has been a “halo” goal of mine for years. The idea of combining writing, something I’ve always loved, with making a living, is too enticing to ignore. I’ve read about successful online entrepreneurs for years, but it took a bit of convincing for me to take the plunge into trying it for myself.
I’ve noticed that when getting started I perform best with a class (regardless of the personal goal), so I ended up using FIMP (Free Internet Marketing Project). Ian over at FIMP had around ten hours of free training that I watched through, which set me off on the right foot. I was pretty obsessed in the first month or two, inspired by what Ian talks about. He really “sells the attainable dream” in an approachable way.
Once I had a bit of a basis in understanding how to go about this blogging enterprise, I got to work, writing content. Since I have been in Automotive for over six years, I had plenty to talk about. I had been thinking critically about this business for years without an outlet, which I think was a great place to start.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Patience
Blogging, as my side business, is slow going. It’s a labor of love, one that takes a long time to scale to reasonable profitability. Anyone that sells you the “overnight success” story is just making shit up- I can tell you that honestly from the trenches. I figure that if you break down my hourly rate on this project, I would be making an average of a dollar an hour.
So why do it? The easy answer is- I’m just not there yet. One day I will make more. Matthew McConaughey, that weird actor dude, once said that “my hero is myself, in ten years.” Although that still sounds a bit odd, I like the sentiment. Right now I make $1/hour doing this blogging business, but six months ago I was losing money doing this. Now I have passed breaking even; I only have one way to go (up, hopefully)!
So patience is key. In blogging, in automotive, and life. It took me a while to figure that out.
Since I started work, I’ve wanted not to have to work. Not sure why. I think that I have a bit of the rebel in me deep down which makes me resent having a boss/schedule. Where that comes from, deep down, I haven’t figured out yet. As such, I’ve always had a keystone goal, independence. Whether that comes from old school financial independence or starting my own business, I don’t much care. As such, I’ve hedged my bets and started down both paths.
I’ve written about saving and my career mindset before- in my Dad’s favorite article of mine (thanks Dad!), Run Your Life Like a Business. In 2018, I saved a significant chunk of money, using the exact strategy I outlined in that article.
The word momentum embodies my key takeaway.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Momentum
Once I started saving, my outlook on money changed. Six years ago, when I started selling cars, I would keep a few hundred dollars a month. I got used to that, started making more money, and it was easy to transition to save a thousand a month. From there, a few thousand. As long as you keep making more money (because you get better at what you do), and don’t start buying a bunch of new shit, you will save money.
The mindset is so ingrained now that I have the opposite problem as most people, I have a tough time spending any money on myself. It causes me anguish to buy myself a new computer, for instance. Alas, there are no perfect answers. We are all only human!
So, try to build some momentum in your savings. Say “no” to new stuff sometimes. Learn how to buy used. It’s better for the environment anyway.
Writing a Book
I surprised myself with this one. The funny thing about writing a book is actually how “evolutionary” it is from blogging. If you are blogging regularly, you will eventually write enough content to warrant putting together a book. It just of happens. On this topic, I recommend two books; You Must Write a Bookand On Writing. Those two books gave me the perspective, outlook, and motivation to get the thing done.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Little Steps
Writing a book isn’t that hard. It’s a polished, heavily edited string of blog posts (chapters). It’s funny to describe it in this way since books have so much more social significance in society than blogs, but that’s how it feels looking back.
If you want to write a book one day, start with a blog. I can’t imagine writing a book without having the practice that this blog provides.
It’s just writing, after all, something most of us learned before we were eighteen years old.
Charity is a lot like saving money. You start, and it gets more comfortable over time. I’ve found it to be a foundational element of my happiness now. I would have a hard time doing my job without giving back my 5% to charity. It would just be lacking.
Before 2018, Charity was something that you do once you made it. Once you become Bill Gates, then you give. Once you make your millions, then you cut off a slice for others.
Where this mindset came from, I’m not sure. Charity seemed to have all these pitfalls- what if I gave to an evil organization? What if they waste the money? Can I spare a percentage of my income every month?
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Open to Change
Since I started mid-year 2018, I gave about eight grand to charity, which was 5% of my taxable income. After the first month, it just became a routine, and it fits into my budget just like rent. The great thing about percent based giving is that it scales. It never feels punishing, since if I have a slow month, I end up giving a bit less.
I think that Peter Singer’s logical steps are all that I needed to break through on this one and start doing it.
First Premise: Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad.
Second Premise: If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so.
Third Premise: By donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important.
Conclusion: Therefore, if you do not donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong.
He is always a bit “heavy-handed,” but I understand that stems from his passion for the topic.
I think charity is good and I think that, if you can, you should. Whether or not you can or not depends on your income and your budget. If you want to talk about this topic in person, shoot me a message, and we can chat. I’m even happy to jump on a phone call if you want to talk that way- I’m passionate about this!
There have been a few great bonuses that have emerged from doing charity. The first bonus has been the process of giving the donations. Every month I have been able to dedicate my contributions. Tributes have been a great way to show my appreciation for some of the critical people in my life. It’s been a uniquely powerful way of keeping in contact with some of the most successful people in my extended network. When a multi-millionaire receives a card or a gift, I’m guessing that the gesture is appreciated and quickly forgotten. When they receive notice that someone made a charitable donation of $500-$1000 to a great charity in tribute to them, it seems to be special:
One of the above emails is from the former VP of a huge technology company; the other is from one of the most successful bloggers on the internet. Very few things break their mental filter they have to unsolicited messages, but these tribute donations work. It’s a great way to open a door or keep a door open. Especially sweet since I was determined to do the charity anyway!
I’m a skinny guy. I always have been. I’ve always wanted to look more… “The Rock-esque.” Huge muscles with giant biceps. To that end, I’ve spent plenty of time working at the gym, with months dedicated to eating 3000-4000 calories a day. Suffice to say it’s never got me anywhere.
Then I found indoor rock climbing. Here is a sport wherein the best athletes are skinny little vegans. I went from going to gyms where I am tiny to going to gyms where I am too heavy and need to lose some weight.
I’m not fantastic at rock climbing, but I do realize that it is a better fit for my body type.
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Fit
The idea of fit applies to the association of you and the automotive industry. Although I think this is an industry with incredible opportunities, I don’t think it’s great for everyone. Just like how I’m not a great fit for a powerlifting gym, you may not be an excellent fit for automotive. Automotive is a career path where you need to be self-directed and sociable. It’s a dangerous career path if you need constant supervision and it’s a painful path if you don’t like working with customers. Automotive is high-end retail in a way that is similar to real estate. You need to make people love you, and your drive needs to come from deep down.
Just because I espouse the great parts on this blog doesn’t mean that automotive is a great fit for you. It’s ok to “call it” and pivot to a new career if you have exhausted yourself trying to make it work!
How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation
In 2018 I learned some valuable lessons. Mandarin taught me about mindset and blogging taught me patience. Saving money taught me about momentum and writing a book taught me about the little steps that add up to something more substantial. Charity taught me about being open to new ideas, and rock climbing taught me about lining up who you are with what you do.
I hope that 2019 holds as much wonder for you as 2018 did for me! The first step for how to overcome laziness and lack of motivation involves setting a goal. What’s yours?
One of the most satisfying things of building out Car Sales Story and the “Automotive BDC Manifesto” has been the interactions I’ve started having with my readers.
There is the growing Facebook group, in which readers are getting together to tackle the challenges that they face in the Automotive industry. Although early days still, this group is growing into a fantastic resource for Automotive Sales Managers, Internet Managers, and BDC Representatives.
Yesterday morning I received this video message from one of my readers, Steve, from Canada.
Check out how professionally he comes across:
In less than a minute, Steve conveyed his professionalism and his dedication to building a business relationship.
I’ve dismissed video messaging before, advocating my readers to use less time-consuming methods. This message, recorded directly into Youtube, is a convincing counter-argument.
Steve’s message is clear and concise. His suit and the framing of the shot speak to his professionalism. His voice is loud and clear, easy for anyone to understand.
Please respond to this email with your thoughts on video messaging for customer follow-up. Do you think that video messaging is a productive way to build relationships with your customers?
Saturday is a day, unlike any other in the car business. Saturday is the day that embodies the sacrifice of the car sales career and the day that most of us make the bulk of our income. Over the last six-plus years, I’ve spent just about every Saturday selling cars.
Some Saturdays feel great and are full of success, while others make me question my career choice.
In this article, I’ll start by reviewing the foundation for a successful Saturday. I’ll follow that up with strategies for the morning, a time when you can build momentum that sets the tone for your day. The article will finish with the physical and mental tricks that will teach you how to close every car deal (on your Saturday) as the day progresses.
Saturday comes around every single week without fail, and yet salespeople still fail to prepare. At my store, Saturday is an 11-hour shift for everyone in the sales department. Often our store will sell half of the week’s cars on Saturday. If you think you can dominate your sales on Saturday without proper preparation, you are wrong.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. There are a few key things you need to get done before Saturday rolls around to make the best of your day.
First thing? Set expectations with your family. Often I see salespeople handling family business on Saturday, fielding phone calls and texts throughout the day. It’s natural for your family to want to spend time with you, but they need to be on the same page. Saturday is the day that pays the bills. I’ll often see salespeople trying to leave early or sneak away because they feel guilty for not spending more family time.
Here is the reality: You work in car sales. Until you stop selling (or you negotiate a different schedule), you are going to be working on Saturday. Expect it. Since you can expect it, act on it before disappointment happens! Take your kids to the movies on a different night. Cook dinner and spend time with loved ones on the days leading up to Saturday. Many jobs require people to work on Saturdays, and plenty of people have successful relationships in those roles.
If you don’t get ahead of this first and foremost, you are going to have a bad time. I know, because I’ve been there. In past relationships, I’ve dealt with the constant struggle of guilt that comes with working all day on other’s day off. The only way I could fix the problem was through effort. I get ahead of the problem now, spending quality time with loved ones on the days that I can. I make time work for me; I don’t let it dictate my life.
It’s that simple. I still see my fellow salespeople that are self-proclaimed “night-owls” come into the dealer on Saturday morning looking like a train wreck, even though they’ve been in the car business for years. Although they know that Saturday is a big day, they still stay up until one in the morning the night before. Some are party animals, some just like Netflix. Regardless, it’s not going to work if you are looking to be the best and make lots of money.
So get your eight hours of sleep. Seven hours should be the minimum. Try and wake up with an hour to spare, so that you have time to get ready. When you rush, you will not be your best. Give yourself the time you need to prepare.
Quick tips for a better nights rest:
Don’t have your phone in your bedroom
Take a walk outside before bed (it’s easier to fall asleep if your body temperature is a bit cold)
“If a done deal delivery must come on Saturday to finish the deal, try to book them for the moment you open so you don’t have any wait for F&I and you can give the most amount of time to your Sat unsold appointments. Being busy on a Sat and seeing lots of deals working is infectious and a great environment for unsold customers to be a part of. (We are closed on Sundays in our local market so Sat is very booming)”
Some salespeople will congratulate themselves (myself included) for a successful Saturday if they sell two or three cars, even when those cars were sold before the day started. Plenty of times customers that order cars from the factory will choose to come Saturday. Although it’s not optimal, it is understandable from the customer’s perspective, and as such, you need to prepare.
Set all Saturday pickups for early in the day. If you can, have the deal printed before Saturday. Have the customer send you drivers license, insurance, credit application, and trade registration the day before, so you can get a deal jacket prepped. Set F&I’s expectations so everyone is on time.
Lastly, I always avoid setting 1pm-2pm appointments on Saturdays and Sundays. Those are big times for a customer to drop in. If you schedule people to come, you are going to miss out on the business that walks in the door. You want your appointments at 10 am and 4 pm.
Just because a customer hasn’t picked out a stock number before their appointment for you to prepare, doesn’t mean that you can’t be ready to take care of them.
If a customer has selected a car before they come in, have that car ready. One superstar strategy is to gas it up the night before, and while at the gas station, send a text photo to the customer with the message “preparing for our appointment tomorrow!” That type of message confirms the appointment in a friendly way and builds anticipation.
For customers with leases coming due, have a car prepped that is going to be similar to their current vehicle. That way, you have a smooth transition car if their needs haven’t changed.
How To Close Every Car Deal: Saturday Execution
Saturday is the day to make it happen. If you have followed the Friday preparation, you should be 80% of the way to having a good Saturday. There are a few things to keep in mind on Saturday if you want to maintain your momentum throughout the day.
Walk-in Happy and Early
Assuming you’ve laid the groundwork on Saturday, you should have no problem walking into your store happy and early. Walking into your store with a smile on your face, well dressed, and ready for work, is a great feeling. That feeling of positivity can carry you for hours, and your customers will feed off of it.
We are all reflections of the people around us. You can build “good-attitude momentum at your store” if you walk in with a smile on your face and say hello to everyone. Be a happy person when you walk in, and others will absorb your positivity.
Having a positive outlook is also essential for your relationship with your managers. If your baseline is happy and ready to work, then your sales managers will be able to tell when you aren’t having a good day. That’s a good thing. When a manager knows that someone is having a rough day, they can step in and help.
If instead, you walk in every Saturday late and tired, your manager expects that of you. If you are having a bad day, your boss won’t know, since you always look terrible on Saturday mornings. As such, they won’t realize when you need support.
Diets for Success
I’m not talking about successful diets here. What you eat on Saturday can affect your wallet and your waistline. The foods that unprepared people eat tend to be “easy foods” like cereal, toast, and sweets. These simple carbs will through quickly, and you will be hungry by 11 am. That’s not going to work.
Two strategies that I have found work are high-protein breakfasts and fasting.
For high-protein breakfasts, think eggs. Scrambles, omelets, and the like are delicious and will keep you satiated for hours. I’ve also found success with Soylent, which is a high-protein meal replacement.
Fasting is a more advanced strategy. If you do pursue it, keep an eye on your mood. If you find yourself getting grumpy while you wait for your hunger to subside, this strategy probably isn’t for you. I have seen success fasting in the morning until 1 pm, at which point I eat a nice lunch that carries me through the rest of the day.
How to Close Every Car Deal: Review
Having a successful Saturday in the car business requires preparation above all else. Mastering your Saturday will have a significant effect on your income, as much of the car business is done on this stressful day.
I’d love to chat more about car sales, so I’d like to invite you over to our Facebook Group to talk more!
How can you maximize your internet car sales lead closing rate? In this article, I will address how to sell more cars on the internet.
I’ve been an Internet Manager at one of the largest Audi dealerships in the world for four of my six years, and I’ve sold over 2,000 cars in that time. I’ve developed a set of processes, skills, and strategies that have helped me dominate the hyper-competitive market. On top of my experience doing the job, I’ve been doing extensive research into the topic for the last eight months.
The amount of quality content written about selling cars on the internet is pretty low, with a catch. If you realize that selling cars online is a lot like selling any other physical product online, the world opens up.
I’ve been loading up on some of that content via Jeff Walker’s “Product Launch Formula.” I signed up for a copy of his book on his website, and I received it a few days ago. Jeff Walker began his career selling things online with a stock market email list for which he charged a subscription. He has since branched into helping other people sell items online with his online courses.
Since I just released my book, his content has been incredibly useful.
What does this have to do with “how to sell more cars on the internet?” Well, in my reading of his content, I came upon his list of eight “mental triggers” that can help you sell things online. The more I thought about those triggers, the more I came back to how applicable this stuff was to my fellow Internet Sales managers and BDC reps. Anyone that sells stuff online can leverage these eight triggers to achieve better conversion rates.
In this article I’ll break down all eight triggers:
Not a bad list! You may already be thinking about how these eight triggers tie into your emails. If so, consider joining our Facebook group to share your thoughts!
The book, “The BDC Manifesto,” is a start to finish career guide for automotive BDC representatives. It’s meant to be a comprehensive manual for representatives and managers that work in the BDC (also called “Internet Department” at some dealers).
One mindset that helps me foster a sales mindset that is undeniably likable is EXTRA ENTHUSIASM. I like to play a game in my head when talking to customers, which goes like this. My secret goal when working with the customer is to make them like me so much that if I invited them to my New Years party, they would want to come. The people you know that host successful parties have certain traits that make them extra likable.
I ask myself: How can I be like that person?
So I turn it on.
Things I need in order to enable this superpower? I need 8 hours of sleep, exercise, and a concentration on shared goals.
Sales Mindset: 8 Hours of Sleep
Ask yourself this: What do you accomplish of value to your life after 9 PM?
I would guess just about nothing.
Now, ask yourself this: What do you accomplish of value to your life before 7 AM (when you wake up early)?
I’d guess quite a bit.
When I stay up late, and the clock ticks past 10 PM, I’m most likely doing one of these three things:
When I get up early, and the clock hasn’t hit 7 AM yet, I’m probably doing one of these four things:
Making Family Breakfast
Working on my Business
Pretty drastic difference right?
So why do I stay up late? This comes down to my discipline, which weakens as I get tired. By 10 PM at night, I’m a shell of myself. I want sugar and entertainment. I want to be a vegetable.
The chance that I will be able to get myself to go to bed once I’ve “broken the seal” and started being ultra-lazy is especially low.
The only thing that can save me is a proper routine. Most people set an alarm to get out of bed. I set an alarm to go to bed.
Sales Mindset: Daily Exercise
If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed, and beneficial, medicine in the nation.
That video says some of the most salient points on the topic. Suffice to say; exercise is a must.
So get out there. Get into it. Get moving.
I recommend mid-day walks as well. When you can take 15 minutes to get away from your dealership, go on a walk. Take a buddy if you can, but solo-walking is great too.
Sales Mindset: Shared Goals and the Win-Win
If I’m going to win the customer, I need to remind myself of the value of “shared goals”.
Most salespeople that I meet consider the sales relationship in as a battle. They want to win. I find that I’m most successful when my mindset is one of working together.
I know what I want out of an appointment. I want to sell a car. The hard part is to figure out what my customer wants, and then reframing my goal (selling them a car) into a solution for their desires.
How do I line up what they want with what I have?
This is “solution” selling, and it’s all the rage in SAAS sales.
When I foster the “solution” selling mindset, my offers and compromises take a different form. Instead of saying:
“Ok, if you buy today I can get you $45k out the door! Today only”
“I understand you have a tight schedule with your baby here. Why don’t we do this. I’ll shorten your buying time by selling you this car for $45k out the door today. That way you don’t have to visit more dealerships with a baby in tow! I am happy to offer this below-market deal because I will be able to cross you off my follow up list and concentrate on my next sale”
The second option highlighted our we would solve each other’s problems.
This weekend, inspired by my research for my last article (How to Be a Good Car Salesman), I spent a significant amount of time casually interviewing some top performers. I asked them probing questions designed to unearth their sales mindset for success.
These top performers had all already decided that car sales is a good career. They are all in the most productive parts of their careers. They are crushing their quotas and making outsized incomes.
I found one thing above all else. The top sales representatives all had a way to be “Undeniably Likable” with their customers. They each had a unique way about them, a way of talking, of connecting, that can make you feel comfortable. I could immediately understand why their customers liked them.
The dream of a sustained book of business is attractive to any salesperson – a self-filling, income-generating, free-time-enabling pipeline of customers. Referral customers are the best type of customers.
All of the top sales representatives understood this. Their sales mindset for success centered around the “customer experience.” In the end, this all boils down to one thing, which is being likable. Undeniably likable (check out the follow up to this article here!)
I want your customers to fall in love with you. I want them to “eat out of your hand.”
How do you do that? It’s about a sales mindset that enables success.
To give you an idea of what I mean, think about this:
How would you act if your customer was your girlfriend’s grandmother, and that you were meeting her for the first time?
How would you act if your customer was your bosses wife or bosses husband, and you were showing her a car?
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. is an American chain of fast-casual restaurants in the United States. You probably have one (or seven) in your city.
I go to Chipotle once a week, on average. I order the same thing, over and over again. I’m not the type of guy that get’s sick of stuff quickly.
I get brown rice, black beans, chicken, onions/peppers, hot salsa, mild salsa, corn, and sour cream. Cheese on top.
Every time, it’s the same order.
So why do I sometimes get a heaping serving of chicken, and sometimes just a timid scoop?
Everything in the equation is routine. Same Chipotle, same order, same employees, and it’s the same time of day.
Everything in the equation is routine, except for how I treat the people behind the counter.
If I come in, mind still at work, and passively tell them my order, I get a small scoop.
If, instead, I come in with a smile on my face, a kind greeting and meet the server’s eyes? Big scoop.
So there you have it. My attitude can drastically, perhaps unconsciously, affect my scoop of chicken.
Think of your customer buying today as a big scoop of chicken. Think of your customer saying yes to a fair deal where you still make some money as a big scoop of chicken.
Sure I could pay extra for extra chicken (just like I can “pay” the customer with a discount to buy), but it would be much easier if I could win them with my personality.
So How Can You Be “Undeniably Likable”
You have to put in the effort to foster this sales mindset for success.
I heard a quote the other day, “Happiness is the prize for Hard Work.”
I like that quote a lot. I think that many people are still trying to do the bare minimum at work. They don’t start their job with that intention, but after months of hard work and quality customer service, they burn out. They don’t have the motivation or the discipline to stay with it. It’s no wonder that so many new salespeople start with a few great months, but then slowly fade into mediocrity.
It’s challenging to stay on top of your game, but it’s no magic trick. The only thing between you and winning over a customer is effort.
Big Bosses “Pep” Talk
A few days ago, my boss came to my business partner and me with an ultimatum.
“Sell as many cars as we did last year’s December or face a few hundred dollar monthly pay cut.”
This was going to be a challenge, as the store itself was down 25% year over year, mostly attributed to the new same-brand dealer that opened in the neighborhood.
Although I don’t necessarily agree with the tactic, money talks, so my business partner and I huddled on what to do. When we discussed our options for pulling off his ask, we came to a simple conclusion: we had already pushed every lever we control.
Our BDC is converting web leads well, our inventory is substantial, and we were offering market setting low-prices. The only lever we had left was going to be how we treated the customers. We hoped that with a renewed focus on being “Undeniably Likable,” we could convert that extra few percents of traffic to meet our bosses expectation.
In the end, only so much is within our circle of control. We don’t control the customer’s desires nor the market. What we can control is our effort.
Practically Speaking, How Can I Be “Undeniably Likable”
Practically speaking? You need to take that effort we just talked about, and focus it on finding a connection with a customer. That is the key to this sales mindset for success.
building a relationship is your superpower
This begins with the “seed” of the relationship. Some topic or theme that you two have in common that lowers the guard of everyone involved. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of the things that have become the “seeds” of my long-term car sales relationships:
Take that effort and ask some questions. Ask them directly and ask them indirectly. Ask them:
How long have you been in this area?
Did you live nearby?
How far do you drive to work?
Where do you work?
What do you do there?
How did you get into that?
What did you do before?
Did you always want to do that job?
What do you do when you’re not working?
What shows are you watching on Netflix?
How many kids do you have?
What are their hobbies?
Where do they go to school?
What does your spouse do?
How did he/she get into that?
Did you read that new article “Sales Mindset for Success: Undeniably Likable”?
You keep asking questions, in a friendly “I really would love to get to know you” way, until you find something that connects you.
Once you find that “something,” use that to bring you closer to them, make jokes about it. Get into the details. Have it be “your thing.”
New Contact Style
If I were doing my old style of contacts, I would have added this contact in my phone today:
Todd Smith APPLE 408-555-1111
Instead, I’ve added (name changed of course):
Todd Smith (funny Irish tall guy, likes boats) APPLE – antenna scientist 408-555-1111 Notes: wife likes S5 Sportback. 2 kids both ski
Your brain needs a little hint to remind itself of that social connection.
What do you call a car salesperson that picks up the first ring, three days after you first meet him, and immediately knows who you are? What do you call a car salesperson that remembers things about you and cares about you? You call that salesman, “undeniably likable.”
More Ideas for this Sales Mindset
Other things that can make you stand out as incredibly likable involve things like common courtesy, patience, and smiling. Active listening wherein you repeat back snippets of what they say to you is a great practice.
You already exhibit these behaviors, naturally, when you feel like you have something to lose.
Hi there! Thank you so much for subscribing. I’ve worked hard on the Automotive BDC Manifesto, and I am excited to give you a little glimpse of it.
This chapter is meant to share with you the most effective email templates that I’ve developed (and acquired) over the last 6+ years. Check it out, enjoy, and stay in touch!
Chapter 8 of The Automotive BDC Manifesto
Your efficiency as an Internet/BDC representative is going to be dictated by your ability to use automated tools well. You need to have a variety of templates, an autoresponder for web leads, and phone scripts for specific situations.
This chapter centers around email templates. All of the email templates I’ve ever created will be in this chapter (except for the seven days of unqualified follow up from Chapter 6!)
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Alternate First Response (Specific Inventory Chosen)
SUBJECT: STOCK NUMBER @ DEALERSHIP NAME – SALESPERSON NAME
Not only is this MODEL available to be seen today, but we also have special internet pricing for this unit. If you can come by in the next 72 hours, the price for this vehicle will be lowered to LOWERED PRICE.
I have some availability today at HOUR:15pm and HOUR:45pm, would either of those times work for you?
My name is NAME, and I have been working at DEALER NAME for YEARS. Here is a link to my Yelp reviews, where you can get a feeling for my level of customer service.
SUBJECT: Appointment Confirmation @ TIME DATE
Looking forward to our appointment for TIME and DATE at DEALERSHIP NAME.
To save you time, here is our street address:
STREET ADDRESS WITH GOOGLE MAP URL LINK
If you want to confirm or reschedule, please respond to this email or text me at SALESPERSON PHONE.
This photo below is what I look like when you come in:
SMALL PICTURE OF SALESPERSON
I like to include a small picture of the salesperson that will be helping the customer in the email. Generally, customers will have this email pulled up when they walk into the dealer, so that photo will help them find the right person!
SUBJECT: quick note
Just wanted to wish you a happy birthday. Hope all is well.
Every year when my birthday comes around, I get a bunch of crappy automated birthday greetings. I always receive one that looks handwritten, and it’s from the guy my Dad uses at Edward Jones. If it weren’t for the fact that he sends the same email every year, I really would have thought he was typing it myself.
An advanced strategy, if you handle the lease portfolio in your BDC, would be to get a list of the birthdays for the customers who have leases expiring that year and send them the birthday email like this:
SUBJECT: quick note and a gift
Just wanted to wish you a happy birthday. Hope all is well. Since it’s your birthday, I thought I’d offer to get you a free car wash today if you want to drop by.
Lease End Manager
SUBJECT: I am your Lease End manager
My name is NAME, and I will be your Lease End Manager for your current BRAND. As you move towards your lease end date, I will be able to answer any questions you have. If you are interested in leasing a new car, buying out your current vehicle or anything else I will be your contact here.
You may be eligible to get out of your current MODEL early. Are there any new cars that interest you? Let me know if so- I can get you quotes using our BRAND Loyalty program!
If you are in charge of the lease end portfolio, this template will come in handy. Often customers are clueless on what to do for their lease end. This email is a friendly way to start the conversation.
Lease End – Waiving Payments
SUBJECT: Payment Waiver on your lease
Since you currently have X payments left on your MAKE MODEL, you can walk away from those payments and get into a new Audi sedan today!
That means you can take advantage of our vast specials we have running for our SALES EVENT without having to pay the last few payments on your lease!
Please contact us for more details! Some terms and conditions apply that we need to share with you.
This offer only works if you have this type of program running with your manufacturer, but if you do this type of email is very enticing for customers. People love getting out of leases early, and the early you get them out the less likely they will have cross shopped.
SUBJECT: pending removal
I understand that we recently lost your business to another dealership. For my records could you let me know what dealership won your business (and why)?
We will be marking your pending sales event to “lost.”
In the “Buy or Die” culture of sales, many people ignore the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. I whole heartily recommend leaning into your lost sales. You can learn way more from your failures than your successes.
When customers share with you the dealer they purchased from, you should secret shop that dealership that day! Get in their and secret shop! Learn what they do better than you and STEAL IT! The best performers are constantly scoping their competition.
SUBJECT: left voicemail
Just left you a voicemail, looking forward to chatting soon. If you prefer email, respond to this message!
I find that utilizing a variety of contact methods at the start of a sales event is a very effective way to find out what method the customer wants to use to communicate.
When a customer provides an email and phone number, I like to start with a phone call. When I often end up leaving a voicemail, I always try and send an accompanying email.
That way, when the customer sees the missed call and voicemail, they will also see the email at the same time.
SUBJECT: never heard a whisper
I hope this email finds you well! This is SALESPERSON from DEALER. I would like to know if you were still in the market for an Audi?
It would be my pleasure to assist in narrowing down your ideal MAKE and ensuring your purchase, or lease experience is not only efficient but also a great experience!
NAME “Never Giving Up” LAST NAME
I have a variety of emails like this that are set up to email out to customers that submitted internet leads but never made contact. I have these all automated in the background.
I suggest merely setting these up to send at certain “days since lead.” I have ours set up for ten days, 15 days, 20 days, and 30 days. After the 30 day mark, they receive an automated email every ten days forever (until they unsubscribe.)
It still baffles me, but I have had multiple customers buy 60-100 days after putting in a web lead. These customers never responded, never made contact, but one day walks in and asks for the BDC representative by name. Long-term emails are manageable and worth it!
SUBJECT: we are the cheapest
Here at DEALERSHIP, we pride ourselves on being the absolute CHEAPEST place to buy a BRAND.
Our competition doesn’t want you to know that. We pride ourselves on raw discount and the best lease terms.
We know you want the best deal. You found it. Let us know when you can come in.
This email gets me in trouble (with management), but it’s surprisingly successful with some groups of “super shopper” customers. The fact is, even though this email touts that “we are the cheapest” and brings up “raw discount” the deals we make because of this email are no better or worse than the average.
The value of this email is that it’s different. No other dealer wants to send this email, because it feels self-defeating. The fact is, regardless of what you say in this email, the manager will decide what deals to take. Your job is to get the customers into the store.
I don’t suggest sending this email right away, but if you get a feeling that a customer only cares about price… it might be worth a shot!
Subject: The End is here (of the month)
As the month draws to a close DEALERSHIP is scrambling to meet its quota and close the last few deals.
If you are interested in closing on a MODEL before months-end, please let me know- I have the leeway to be very aggressive and win your business!
For best service, please contact me with a time that you would be able to either come into the dealership or speak on the phone.
A great email to bulk-send in the last five days of the month.
Long-Term Unqualified Alternate
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I can’t sell you a car,
If I never speak to you…
Let me know if you are still in the market for a MODEL that you inquired online on. If not let us know and we will remove you from follow up.
I love this type of follow-up, and I’ve had success when using this on long-term unqualified web leads.