In our last article we made our case for phone training in the car dealership. Salespeople are at a huge disadvantage if they are not offered some kind of instruction on how to speak effectively to potential customers on the telephones. After all, in this the Internet age, a vast majority of your business is originated on the phones due to all the online searching that occurs.

Studies show that these folks are shopping up to 6 or 7 dealerships before deciding where to go to spend their money. And when they do call, they don’t want to hear a bunch of jive sales phrases created for the one out of ten salespersons willing to use them. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. What do you want to hear when you call a store for a high ticket item? Sales theory scripts or actual assistance? Maybe you are only checking availability but what are you really looking for? A salesperson! You may not realize that until it happens but it is true. So, let’s be that salesperson.


The phone rings or is sent to your salesperson from reception. He or she knows it is a sales call. Potential income. A check on the board. So why would they answer it like this:



Or my favorite of all time:


I know you have heard it a thousand times before but it bears repeating:

“You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” And don’t forget, as a manager or dealer, these folks are representing you. So it is vital that you have taken steps to assure the best first impression is out there for you. How? Train them, monitor their performances and take corrective action when the training in not adhered to. It is that important.

So, Step 1 for your people:

SMILE!!! and act like you really give a crap. Callers will be able to tell. Offer a warm, friendly greeting. Something as simple as:

“Thank you for calling Johnson Motors. This is Ted. How may I help you?”

(With a smile.)


This is the most common sales question your prospects are asking.

Now, lets get back to the theme of this article, WHAT NOT TO SAY ON THE PHONE because most of your salespeople are saying one of the following.

Phone prospect: “I saw an ad online for a used 2010 Explorer. Do you still have it?”



“It just got sold.”

“I’m not sure.”

“What’s your name by the way?”

“I didn’t catch your name.”

“Gimme your name and number and I’ll check and call you back.”

“Let me go out and “touch it” and I’ll call you back.”

And of course there are many more but you get the drift. There is a huge problem with each of these. If we answer the caller’s first question like this, they no longer need us and we still don’t have their name or number for follow up. They merely hang up and call the next number on their list. You lose. “OK, thanks. Bye.” They have all the information they need and we have none. No name. No number. No appointment. You need to take control of these calls. So, here’s a thought to put into your people’s minds:

Do not give out our information until we have theirs.

It is that simple. And you can do this without angering the callers. Then everyone wins!


Our next article will take this call further. What is the proper technique to use when answering the first question on a sales call? You will probably be surprised at just how simple and logical it really is. And it will make you so much more money.

Ted Schuler has been in the auto business in sales, management, training and consulting around the world for over 30 years. Marcom Technologies pioneered recording-based sales training in the late 80’s and has continued to develop progressive training techniques to align with today’s ever-changing industry.