The sales script said to say it, so that's what was done — repeatedly and lamely — by a telemarketer trying to dial up business for a car dealership.
“I heard her five times tell a customer, ‘I can help you with that,’ and she didn't help at any point,” says Cory Mosley, a dealership sales consultant, who recalls monitoring that example of call-center ineptness.
The conversation went nowhere partly because of the telemarketer. “People can get so focused on the script, they're not paying attention to what the customer is saying,” Mosley says.
But the scriptwriter bears blame, too. “She only said, ‘I can help you with that,’ because the script told her to whenever the customer said something,” he says.
Mosley, a former dealership salesman who now runs Mosley Automotive Group LLC, wants to rid auto retailing of stale sales lines, ineffective slogans and empty promises.
With traffic down, it's vital to push the right buttons for every sales lead, he says. Today's economy offers less forgiveness in blowing a chance, ringing up a no-sale and going on to the next shopper.
At the Ward's Automotive Spring Training Conference in Tampa, FL, Mosley runs a workshop on the art of handling leads. That begins with knowing what not to say, such as “What do I have to do to get you in a car today?”
Besides being a stale, stereotypical line, it preempts asking specific qualifying questions to learn about customers, their driving needs, wants and habits
“How do you help the customer if you don't know where they're coming from?” Mosley says.
Another drawback with some old sales pitches in ads or in person: Customers have heard them before.
“Unless they are first-time buyers, which most automotive consumers aren't, they say, ‘I've seen this movie’ if we hit them with, ‘Come on down for the best deal’ or ‘I'll give you top dollar for your trade-in,’” Mosley says.
Instead, good car sales people fulfill needs, sell value propositions and build relationships after taking time to find out something about customers.
Mosley's list of dos and don'ts also covers email exchanges with customers.
Message content is important, and one size doesn't fit all, he says. “Customers have different needs and wants, so they shouldn't all get the same message.”
While mystery shopping online, Mosley sent an email saying he was interested in buying a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class. An inattentive dealership responded by offering a special on winterizing his car.
Then there was a dealership employee who believes too much in the power of the Internet. Mosley overheard her mishandling a prospect on the phone by saying, “Go to our website for more information. Bye.”
Communicating with customers by email requires proper grammar and language, usage, he says. “We can all make mistakes, but if you want to say you are a premier Lexus dealer, don't say you're a premiere dealer, like you've got a new movie coming out.”
Mosley urges dealerships to do a self-analysis on what works and what doesn't.
“Ask yourselves, ‘Why are we doing it that way?’ A lot of times, it's because that's all we know. But is there a better way to talk to prospects, handle emails, make phone calls and deal with service customers?”
It might mean ditching some old material, such as touting that the dealership is family owned or won an auto maker's president's club.
“If it is so important to be family owned, why has Wal-Mart run all those mom-and-pop stores out of business?” Mosley says. “And I've yet to meet a customer that said, ‘I bought that car because you won the president's award.’”
In a workshop exercise, he asks participants to huddle and come up with fresh dealership marketing lines.
Results of those group efforts include: “Fast and easy buying” (Sounds great, but you must deliver on it, Mosley says), “106-point inspection on used cars,” “Free credit evaluation,” “Car wash for life of car,” “90-minute delivery or first payment's on us,” “Tremendous financing packages,” and “The price you see is the price you pay.”