Dealer Principals spend thousands of dollars every month on advertising. No matter what media they choose, from newspaper to magazine ads, posting inventory online or blasting an email, from a direct mail campaign to a billboard, the goal is to get the phones ringing. The main focus of your salespeople and BDC agents should be to turn those phone calls into floor traffic where it is far more likely a sale will occur. Over the past year, I have listened to tens of thousands of inbound calls from all over the country, and noticed that most salespeople have a hard time separating sales skills from phone skills. It is important to recognize the difference and use each set of skills at the appropriate times.

When you break it down, talking to another person on the phone is not exactly a natural form of communication. This is why, despite billions of attempts over the years to interact with pets and newborns using the phone continue to fail. Unlike your dog, your newborn will eventually be able to communicate with you by phone as they develop the skills necessary to do so. At first, they will let you hold the phone to their ear while they glare at you confused.  They wonder why you insist this talking toy you are holding to their head is their Daddy. After some months go by, that look of confusion turns to delight as they learn the talking toy has Daddy’s voice in it. Finally, they learn Daddy can hear their voice on the talking toy too which is extremely fun for them.  Notice that the entire time a toddler is using the phone they are instinctively looking at your face. Facial expression and body language are the corner stones of communication.  Your little one is looking at you for those familiar visual cues we rely on for effective communication.

It takes them a few years to get it, but they have a lot to put together at that age.  Your salespeople and BDC team won’t understand the intricacies of phone handling any quicker which is why training them early helps them grasp those skills a little faster than your baby.

One with exceptional phone skills can compensate for the lack of facial expression and body language necessary for effective communication, with carefully selected words, voice inflection and speed. Stay tuned for tips and strategies on how to get your sales team to stop trying to sell cars over the phone, and start selling appointments.   While your best salesperson is a master of face-to-face communication, they probably don’t realize how weak their phone skills really are.  You know salespeople… they know everything already.