Category Archives: Follow-Up

When the Customer Says They Bought

The Follow-up Call: When the Customer Says They Bought

“Oh, you bought a what?” No one likes to say this when making a follow-up call to what you thought was still a working prospect. Unfortunately, no matter how well we may have worked with the customer, it happens. It could have been something we said, something we didn’t say, the follow-up call we put off or any number of things.

Here are some ideas to help turn a negative situation into a positive one and possibly generate some future business as well:

Have they taken delivery yet? This is the first and most important question to ask the customer as soon as they tell you they have made a deal. Find out what their objections to your deal were, get with your manager and put together a full-court press to attempt to get the customer back in before they do take delivery. Pull out all the stops at this point!

Be gracious. Be polite when talking to the customer and thank them again for giving you an opportunity to earn their business. Offer an apology such as, “I’m sorry if there was something we missed.” This is business and you cannot take it personally. Acting rudely or thinking of “punishing” the customer for choosing another dealership will never accomplish anything.

Offer service. Tell the customer that your award-winning service department welcomes all factory warranty customers regardless of where they purchased their vehicle. Threatening service refusal or appointment delays will only damage your dealership’s reputation. Many future sales are made in the service department first!

Ask why they bought somewhere else. Ask the customer in a non-confrontational manner such as, “So if you don’t mind me asking, what was the deciding factor in your choosing the other car?” Tell the customer, “We always seek this information so we can learn to do a better job next time, and it helps us better serve our customers’ needs.”

Ask for referrals and future business. This is not the end of the world, or the last car this customer will ever buy. Be friendly and politely ask for a chance at their future business and any referrals. If you treated this customer properly and respectfully they will agree to this, even though you didn’t sell them this time.

Keep the customer in your marketing activities. Add this customer to your e-mail, mail or casual follow-up lists, and keep communicate with him or her until they asked you to stop. All customer information is a valuable resource which the dealership worked hard (and spent money) to obtain, don’t waste it.

Just because you didn’t sell to that person today doesn’t mean you can’t sell to them in the future.

Written by Will Parquette
Training Director
Columbia Ford Lincoln Mercury

How Well Do You Follow Up With Your Prospects?

With the tremendous amount of money being invested in advertising each year, you need to ask the question: "Am I closing an acceptable percentage of my prospects?" Incremental increases in your closing ratio can make a dramatic impact on your bottom line.

Today, buyers are spending more time making a purchasing decision. Armed with product and cost information, consumers are willing to shop your dealership against the competition. According to NADA s Ward s Dealer Business magazine, 89% of car buyers visit at least 2 dealerships before making a purchase.

Aside from price, what kind of impression is your dealership and staff leaving with the customer. With brand loyalty fading, the quality of the relationship that you need to foster with a prospect has never been more important. If a prospect does not buy a car from your dealership, don t you want to know why?

Investing in prospect follow-up is one of the best decisions that a dealer can make. Attaining timely information about where the prospect is in the buying cycle and what factors are involved in making a sell is extremely valuable.

One approach is to send a thoughtful gift with a personalized letter from the owner with a brief survey inquiring about their shopping experience. By sending the gift within 24 hours of the prospect s visit to the dealership, you let the customer know that you care about them and want to earn their business. This gesture can be the deciding factor in their choice between your dealership and your competition.

The information that you receive from the survey will also allow you to determine what you need to accomplish in order to close the sale. It also gives you an accurate picture of how your sales staff is performing. You can act on this information and make positive changes that will allow you to increase your closing ratio.

Maintaining this level of relationship marketing to your prospects requires your dedication to leveraging your advertising expense. Your return on investment with a prospect follow-up program can immediately pay for itself by increasing your closing ratio.

The automotive industry spends significant dollars to attract prospects to dealerships, yet the dealers leave the follow-up on unsold prospects to the individual salesperson. There is a gold mine of potential with unsold prospects. To tap into this gold mine you need to establish a follow-up system that will keep you in front of the prospect, thank them for visiting your dealership, let them know that you want to earn their business, and find out why they didn t buy from you on their first visit. This will separate you from the competition, improve your closing ratio, and ultimately increase sales and profit.

Grant Dunning is President and CEO of the Dunning Group, which has four separate divisions including Dunning Sprague Marketing and Advertising, On-Target Direct, On-Target Promo and the OCT Group. Since 1986 Grant Dunning and the Dunning Group have been providing dealers throughout North America with innovative marketing tools. You can contact Grant Dunning at

Repeat Prospecting Equals Increased Sales

What is repeat prospecting? It is the process of marketing to your current customer base.

Jim is a salesperson. He knows how the sales process works, he understands how to uncover his prospects needs and wants, he know how to develop those needs and wants, and he knows how to write the sale. Jim’s a pretty good salesperson. He confided in me the other day that his sales career is stagnant and he wanted to know what to do about it.

Jim has been selling real estate for over eleven years and knows his sales should be better than they are. I asked Jim, to tell me about his long term customer follow up. Jim said “I usually call them once a year, around the purchase anniversary date. I also, send them a postcard with a home I have listed and a recipe on the other side. I send that out about every three months.” I asked Jim if there was any additional follow up and he told me there was not.

I said, “Jim here’s my advice, you need to start collecting everyone’s emails, go call all the customers who have done business with you and ask for their email, you will need a good reason they should give you their emails.” Then I said, “Jim, I hate to admit it but when I started in the mortgage business I did not capture anyone’s email address. I had to go back and called everyone. I called and let them know that I had a new program called Rate Watch (this program notifies customers if mortgage rates drop) and I offered them a free subscription. This worked very well. I receive their emails addresses and my customers know that I am looking out for them.”

“While you are calling your customers you need to develop a plan for long term follow up. I suggest you contact your customers no less than 30 times a year.” Jim said, “Rick that is way too much, my customers will get tired of hearing from me, and I don’t have time to do all that follow up. Jim, I believe you can’t afford not to. If you have to hire someone to do most of the follow up do that, but you have to increase your follow up to previous customers. This is essential if you are to increase your sales.” Jim did as I told him and his sales are slowly improving even in the current slow real estate market.

I have found that many salespeople believe that once you have sold a prospect it is time to move on. This is a deadly mistake. Your best opportunity is with your current customers. Both for their repeat and referral business they can provide.

If you do not have a follow up system you need one and you need one now. I have worked with many salespeople and found that most do not have a system and many of those that do don’t use it. If you do not have a system and don’t want to spend much money you can start the way I started.

I bought two 3” x 5” card boxes. One box had A – Z tabs and the second box had month tabs with 1 -31 day tabs. I used the alphabetical order box to keep my master card for each customer or prospect. The monthly tabs box had identical card for each customer and were filed by next follow up date. This works very well but takes quite a bit of time.

There are many good contract management programs. I used one called ACT for years and it works very well. Several years ago I upgraded to an internet based contact management system and it’s the best single improvement I have made to my selling system.

Written by Salesbat


We are certain you would appreciate a tool which will simplify your jobs and your lifes, and bring you even more referrals. The tool is called “SendOutCards” and our customers who use it call it a “lifesaver” and the best “customer relationship” building tool they have ever used.

Here’s a story about how it works: You spend most of the day with a potential client showing vehicles and test driving. There is one particular vehicle they like, so you go take a second look. They have to “think about it” before buying. You take a digital picture of them standing in front of the vehicle. After an introduction and discussion with the Sales Manager, you need to quickly follow up with them. You call their home phone and leave a message, and then:

You log-in to your “SendOutCards” system, choose a thank you greeting card from the hundreds available, upload the picture you took of them and the vehicle they liked best into the greeting card, personalize the text greeting (with your own handwriting font which you can supply) and click send. The greeting card is printed, stamped and mailed by the printer and paid for from the account balance you maintain with “SendOutCards”, at a cost which is less than buying a card at a Card store. (Dealers, we can set up a corporate account for all your salespeople to use if you wish)

Because of your follow through, your client returns and closes on the vehicle within two weeks. In the process, you obtain their personal information (birthdays, anniversaries) including the children, and in addition they give you information on 3 referrals who they know are going to be looking at new vehicles soon.

You load all that information into your “SendOutCards” contact manager and continue to send them personalized cards several times each year. In addition, you send those 3 referrals a personalized card with the same picture of the customer and their new vehicle just purchased from you.

You now have a real friend and a “customer for life” and 3 good referrals to follow-up with. You never have to go to a store to buy cards or go to the Post Office to buy postage. You manage your “relationships” with all your clients with “SendOutCards”, and because you are such a thoughtful person, your referrals start increasing significantly!

As sales and marketing professionals for 30+ years ourselves, we cannot say enough good things about the “SendOutCards” system.

Many of you probably know of Joe Gerard. Joe is in the “Guiness Book of World Records” for selling more vehicles than anyone ever has. Joe, in his own book, reviewed his system of sending all of his customers “something” once per month. Joe, we are sure, would have loved “SendOutCards.”

We recommend that you visit this website to make a reservation to attend a free online Webinar at your convenience. Save the address because the Webinar schedule is updated weekly. You can also read and listen to testimonials from professionals like you who already use “SendOutCards.”

Take a tour of SendOutCards here:

Written by Roger Foulks

The Importance Of Follow-Up

Last month I wrote about my friend Scott, who was shopping for a salesperson to sell him a car. The search took Scott to four dealerships during a period of a few weeks. His experience at each dealership gave reason for readers to pause, think, and ask if these attitudes and actions could be taking place at their dealerships. Could your processes be improved, and could you be missing opportunities?

Here is a list of some of the lessons that should have been evident to the educated sales professional who read the article.

Service department: The first stop on the road to purchasing a new vehicle.

While a writer sells service, he is also selling the dealership to each customer with whom he interacts. The saying, “The sales department that sells the family the first vehicle, and parts and service, will sell the second, third, and fourth vehicle to the same family,” is still as true today as it was in the Seventies. Service demonstrates the dealership’s commitment to customer satisfaction on a daily basis. Additionally, a service writer is on the front lines of customer contact and the best referral service to sales.

Yes, many dealerships are running on fewer employees and most of us are multitasking at work. In a dealership environment, however, nothing is more important than customers and the opportunities they represent. The service writer should follow the “Ritz Carlton” model of handing off the customer to another department. The first employee who encounters a customer greets him and walks with him to the department the customer is looking for and then professionally introduces the customer to the associate who works in the other department.

Everybody wins when professional courtesy is extended to customers, both internal and external customers.

Sales department

I have worked with many sales associates who have sold many new vehicles to service customers while their vehicles were in the shop. The magic begins with follow-up. When the customer says, “My vehicle is in the shop,” the sales associate should say, “Great! How long have you had the present vehicle? What do you like about the vehicle? What would you like to change about the vehicle? Since you are going to be here for a short while, how about we show you what is new?”

Yes, this is interviewing on the fly and it is the beginning of the selling cycle. In fact, you could be ahead because the customer already knows your dealership, likes your dealership, and obviously trusts your dealership.

I think many sales are lost because the sales associate does not listen to what the customer says or is not asking the correct questions. Perhaps we can summarize it as a failure to communicate. Communication is at the very heart of every sale.

Magic follow-up

The dealership where Scott had made many previous purchases lost his business. The sales associate who made time for follow-up with courtesy and diligence made the sale and got compensated. The lesson here is that not all who walk on your lot are tire kickers, not all are ready to purchase today, and just because a customer has a checkbook and a clear title does not mean he is going to pay full retail and settle for low wholesale for his trade. Even past customers still want to be sold, no short cuts.

We must remember today’s customers are educated and have done some research about the vehicles before walking onto a dealership’s property. While they may not know the exact vehicle they are going to purchase, they all have an idea of what they like. The customers are going to purchase a vehicle if not today, then someday. Ask yourself, are they going to purchase from you?

Jan Kelly is president of Kelly Enterprises. She is an educator and consultant, convention speaker, and writes frequently for industry publications. For information about educational venues or joining an F&I 20 group, call 800-336-4275 or visit

What to Say on Repeated Follow-up Calls

Few things are as annoying as being repeatedly called by salespeople “just to touch base.” So what do you say when you’re run out of ideas?

As you scrolled through your follow-up files today, perhaps you ran across one or two prospects that you’ve called repeatedly and continue getting put off. You feel there is some real potential there and don’t want to give up. But yet, it’s grueling to come up with something more creative than, "Well, here I am again."

Or perhaps you have customers that bought from you, and your sales manager wants you to call them regularly, perhaps monthly, or more.

What you do NOT want to say on these regular calls is:

— "Well, I was just checking in with you to see how it’s going."
— "Wanted to touch base with you today."
— "Thought I’d give you a courtesy call."
— "Wondering if you needed anything?"

So what’s wrong with those? These approaches are reactive, provide nothing of value, can be viewed as nuisance calls, and leave you open to being treated as a simple salesperson who can be manipulated into a price war. I’ve always said that these are some of the toughest calls to place. Because, it requires creative thinking and lots of salespeople don’t want to think that hard. Except the best salespeople.

Lazy salespeople, or those or don’t know any better, are content calling to "just touch base," or to "see if there’s anything deals they received that the salesperson can beat."

Calls to regular customers, and to prospects you’re clinging onto should always contain something of value … something that lets the customer feel you are contributing something useful by calling. Keep in mind that your regular customers are someone else’s prospects. If they feel they are being taken for granted by a salesperson who simply calls and says, "Do you have any referrals for me?" they might eventually fall for the wooing of a competitor who is creative enough to dangle something attractive in front of them.

Also keep in mind your prospects are likely buying from someone else, and won’t budge unless they see some value in what you have.

So, what to do?

Here are just a few ideas to spice up these calls to position you as a value-added resource, and not just a salesperson.

Begin with "YOU"
A good way to begin these calls is by saying something like,

"I was thinking of you,"
"I heard some interesting information about the vehicle you’re looking at, and you immediately came to mind," and,
"When this news came out, I thought about you…"

Industry news
Perhaps you have some news they might not be aware of. Or, maybe they are aware of it, and you have something to help them take advantage of it. For example: "Ms. Prospect, you probably are familiar with the new regulations regarding towing requirements for the vehicle you’re interested in. We have a way to be able to handle this situation, and I’d like to ask you a few questions to see how much of a problem you anticipate this being."

New policies at your dealership
If your credit soure changed restrictive policies that would enable you to do business with people who didn’t qualify in the past, call them again. For example, if there are new interest rates, or they’ve lessened credit requirements. And with regular customers, calling with changes to their advantage are always welcome.

New regime at your dealership
This can be effective for prospect you haven’t been able to sell because of legitimate, real objections they had. If, for example, new management has cleaned house and improved quality, decreased errors, etc., call again, since you’re now selling a new dealership. Also, these can be spun into reasons for calling existing accounts.

New capability
If you have products or services that deliver results you weren’t able to before, that is always a good reason to call. Just be sure you are positioning them in terms of results to the listener. Not, "Hey, we have a new extended service contract and I think it is great."

New you
Maybe you fell to pieces and self-destructed on a previous call. Since then you’ve acquired more skills and confidence. Maybe you’ve come up with new ideas, or a new strategy. And here’s the best way I know for you personally to come up with great value-added reasons for calling:

Have a brainstorming session with other employees in the dealership. Invite service, parts, finance, sales … anyone who knows your vehicles and services. Make it a game or competition. The goal is to fill in the blank:

" The reason I’m calling is ____."

The main rule is that what goes in the blank must be perceived by the customer as something that they would view as valuable and interesting to them. Believe me, you’ll come up with 20, 30 or more great ideas to use. So get creative, get working, and you’ll find yourself converting more of those prospects collecting dust in your follow-up file, and you’ll provide more value and sell more to existing customers.

Customer Follow-Up

I remember being told by my sales manager to follow up on my sold customers. I was always reluctant and procrastinated for as long as I could. He always said my future sales and income depended on it, but I was young and unfocused on my long term success. Wake up and smell the coffee for me literally meant smell the coffee. It took me my first year in the business to realize how the “good” senior sales people made $100,000 plus per year. It wasn’t because they were better than me. It was because they had a great follow up system which, of course, means lots of repeat business. It’s not rock science. Do the math.
Something to think about ??????

If you have an average job that pays $35,000 a year, then what will your potential income be in 6 years? $ ______________. Your calculation should be done with an average yearly raise, i.e.: 2 to 5 percent. Also determine your employment stability with this average company, i.e. secured, fair, unsecured.

Now what is your income potential in a Car Dealership

Example Only (These numbers are all plus/minus):

[list:2kmktwd2]1st year $35,000
2nd year $45,000
4th year $70,000
6th year $80,000 plus[/list:u:2kmktwd2]
What is your employment security with a dealer when you are selling 200 plus units per year? i.e. secured, fair, unsecured.

How do these huge yearly increases happen? Could it be MLM (Multi-level marketing) or maybe a pyramid system? Or is it just good old fashion customer follow-up and repeat business?

You may have heard this before, but the best position at a new car dealership is sales person. Why? Because if and when you have a client base and have been at the same dealership for 3 or more years, then you are making as much or more money than the management. Guess what you also do not have? The same stress level as management. Look around your dealership today and look at the top sales people. They always have this great smile and glide in their walk.

In today’s sales meeting, I have outlined what you can do with your sold customer’s and how to increase your not sold customer base.

Sold Customers

There is an old saying; the easiest customer to sell to is one that you have already sold too. The sold customer follow-up is the single-most important aspect for long term success of a sales representative and the dealership they work for. When times are good, almost all the sales representatives will produce consistently. The reps that do follow-up will have a base of customers that refer people and purchase new vehicles themselves. The advantage is that the customer follow-up sales representative has a number of customers per month that are exclusively theirs (above their allocation of the walk-in traffic everyone else receives). This added base of customers per month makes the difference between a good sales representative and exceptional ones, with the higher incomes to match. When the economy slows down, sold customer follow-up contact gives the sales person a base of “pre-sold” customers that are theirs. The other reps. will have to rely on walk-in potential customers that have no allegiances to anyone. When calling the customer, all that is discussed is whether they are enjoying their vehicle and if they have heard of a family member or co-worker that may be interested in a new or used vehicle. The call is meant to be short and sincere in manner. If the customer has just been sold, then they should be contacted the next day, then the next month and then every three to six months thereafter. Have your own system of tracking existing customers birth dates, holidays, etc… and “DO IT” religiously. Set up a mailing list. If you feel you can not organize your follow up program, then get your husband or wife to organize a system for you at home and make sure it is being done. You could even use your significant other as a tax write off, nice.


Not Sold Customers

Who are your best and hottest prospects to buy a new vehicle? That’s right, the people you haven’t sold to, yet. You have to work these leads daily. The key to any follow-up program is to keep on top of it; it must be a daily exercise. Always call the customer you saw today, the same day, even just to say thanks for visiting ABC Motors. If the customer is an active prospect, then they will be put in the next calling day. Following up on your “not sold” customers is like prospecting. These potential customers are your best leads. When you call these customers, make sure you have something new to discuss with them. This call is meant to build more customer rapport and it also shows them you are working hard for them.

Example Call:

[list:2kmktwd2]“Hello Steve this is Darin calling from ABC Motors. I was wondering if another color on the vehicle would be ok with you? Great! I would also like to know if we could get together tonight to discuss the new car further?”[/list:u:2kmktwd2]
This call also determines if the customer is still in the market and were they are in the buying cycle.

For some salespeople, repeatedly calling a customer begins to have no value and is ineffective. The following three outlines can be used to increase your not sold customer sales.

Team Sales Follow Up Programs

PROGRAM 1 – Spouse, Friend or Partner

Make a list of 10 of the most recent customers you have seen at your dealership, obviously not sold customers. Put their name, phone number, date they visited your dealership, vehicle they are interested in and any additional comments.

Give this list to your spouse, friend or partner and get them to make the follow-up calls. They can tell the customer that they are your assistant or customer follow-up person. This call can be made from your home.

Example Call:

[list:2kmktwd2]"Hello Mr. George this is Darin calling from ABC Motors on behalf of Bob Del Bianco. I’m calling to see if everything was ok with your visit to the dealership and if Bob was helpful?”[/list:u:2kmktwd2]
Get them to get as much information from the customer as possible and then you would make the next call

PROGRAM 2 – Co-Worker

Same as Program 1 but get a co-worker to make the calls for you and you can make calls for them. Pay each other a sales follow spiff i.e. $20, dinner, a round of golf etc. Have fun at work with your not sold follow-up customers.

Example Call:

[list:2kmktwd2]“Hello Mr. George, this is Darin calling from ABC Motors on behalf of Bryan Goudy. I’m calling to see if everything was ok with your visit to the dealership and if Darin was helpful?”[/list:u:2kmktwd2]
Then you make the next call and set an appointment.

PROGRAM 3 – Sales Manager

Same as program 1 and 2 but ask your manger to make the follow up calls for you.

The benefit to your sales manager will be increased sales for the entire dealership.

Remember its part of your manager’s job to help you sell more vehicles. Your managers wants you to get them to help, so ask them.

Example Call:

[list:2kmktwd2]“Hello Mr. George this is Darin calling from ABC Motors on behalf of Bryan Goudy. I’m calling to see if everything was ok with your visit to the dealership and if Darin was helpful? Great! I would like to know if there is anything I could do to further assist you? [/list:u:2kmktwd2]
Get an appointment or even close the sales over the phone.

Your goal to any of the three programs is to get the customer back to the dealership. If you can not get them back, then try and close the sale over the phone.



Darin’s Wrap-up

If you want to stay in the car business and see the six figure income happen, then you have to have repeat business and sales follow-up is the only way it will happen. If you have been in the business for 10 or more years and are not earning around 100k per year, then you can always start today. The past does not equal the future. Have fun and keep your eye on the ball.

Written by Darin B. George, Founder
Automotive Sales College

Discover Why You Need to Follow Up with All of Your Contacts

Discover why you need to follow up with all of your contacts, simple reminders to increase your income, and why you should stay off of price.


If you continue to do everything in automotive sales that you do now, then you will achieve the same or below same results that you are receiving now. The only way to improve is to change. But change will not come easy.

I can give you glorified examples of how to sell cars like a professional. But until you can change, all of this information will be useless. If you start to change, the only guarantee I can assure you is that your results and earnings will change.

A quick example of change would be: if you stopped following up, prospecting or going on demo drives, your sales and income will surely decrease. But the type of change I refer to is changing into a professional. The change I want to teach you is to grow as a salesperson. And if you can grow as a salesperson then surely your income will grow.


The quickest way to increase your income would be to follow up properly. Every person you come in contact with is another opportunity to sell a vehicle. So why wouldn’t you get their info so you can follow up?

If you don’t get their info, that’s a lost opportunity for a sale. Chances are, when they are ready to buy, they will buy from someone else when they could have bought from you. This is all very common sense, but most of you are not following up. Without proper follow up, you are just killing your paychecks.


[list:1k86fvry]• Stay excited about selling every day that you work. Have you every noticed how a rookie salesperson can out sell some of the veterans? It’s their attitude. When you feel excited, you feed that onto your customers. Enthusiasm will add a pep in your step and your customers will feel your swagger. But if you feel very negative about being at work, then chances are you just won’t sell enough.

• Stop blaming every one else about a lost sale instead of yourself. And I think you know exactly what I’m talking about. You know the millions of excuses salespeople come up with for why they couldn’t close the sale. "It’s the managers’ fault, we didn’t have the right color, didn’t have the vehicle in stock etc." Stop making excuses for yourself and go back and evaluate what you did wrong. Professionals look for way to adjust. And that’s exactly what you need to start doing. Making simple adjustments to improve and close more sales.

• Stick to the basics. Many lost sales are caused by salespeople that are trying to take shortcuts. The basic steps to a sale are a proven formula for automotive sales success. So, instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, stick with what works. It is a step by step system that allows you to close the sale. Every step is important. So if you skip a step, it will only decrease your chances of closing the sale. So stop trying to take shortcuts and stick to the basics. [/list:u:1k86fvry]

Eventually at some point you’ll have to bring up price. But why bring up price at the beginning steps of the sale? If you talk about price on the lot, then you are not building value in the vehicle. And if you close a sale without properly building value, then you are just leaving too much money on the table. Stay away from price, rates and rebates on the lot. Now is not the time to talk about these things. Now is the time to build value. Build enough value in the product and the price will justify itself. Staying off of price will help you hold more gross.

This one little tip will surely increase your earnings. The next time a customer brings up a question about price on the LOT; don’t get distracted about presenting the vehicle and building value. Example, if a customer asks "What’s your best price on this?" Don’t ignore the question. Instead acknowledge the question by saying (Read the sticker price) " Before we get into price, lets make sure we found the right vehicle, and speaking of vehicle, was this going to be for you or someone else? " This way you acknowledge their question and quickly regain control of the conversation by asking another question. Then you can continue through the basic step to a sale.

Every time you get distracted by some type of question about price, quickly acknowledge it, then regain control by asking an either/or question. Focus on building value and you will have an easier time closing the sale.


Prospecting and following up go hand in hand. But good prospecting will keep you busy at work and will help you increase your income to get to the next level in sales. So, how long can you really stand around and wait for an up? Instead, start prospecting properly and making appointments. Soon, you will have so many appointments through out the day, that you won’t even have time to take ups. A reminder, a walk-in customer is your lowest change of closing a sale. Statistics shows walk-ins have the lowest closing ratios.

Now I’m not saying don’t take any ups. Your dealership spends a lot of money on advertising to bring these ups in. They are free and your dealership supplies them, so take as many as you can. But through out your day spend some quality time prospecting instead of hanging out in the huddle with other non productive salespeople.


A simple start would be to call your sold and un-sold customers. Stop loosing sales to salespeople down the street, when all you had to do was follow up with them and ask for referrals.

If you have a service department, take advantage of it. Go early in the morning to the customer waiting area (bringing coffee and donuts would be creative) and start building rapport with them. As you build rapport and find common ground with them, ask for referrals or you might even sell them another vehicle.

A regular mail out is a must (Sold and Unsold customers). Send birthday cards and send crazy and creative mail outs. The more creative you get, the more lasting impression you will make on your customers. The idea is just to send something where they remember you. Because when it’s time to buy, guess who they are coming to? You!

Written by Mak
Nawab Learning Group, Inc.

Follow-Up Skills Everyone Needs

Before we consider follow-up, it is important to make sure we have done everything possible to sell the customer a vehicle while at the dealership. Even if we have done a good job with the customer and covered all of the steps (selection, presentation, demo drive, etc.), averages dictate that about three of every four prospects will leave without buying. Follow-up is the fine art of turning those walkouts into “be-backs” and ultimately sold customers.

Here are the fundamental types of follow-up and some techniques to use:

• Same-Day Unsold

• 24-Hour Unsold

• Ongoing Unsold

• Management Review

• Sold

• Ongoing Sold

Same-Day Unsold:

Depending on the time of day you saw them, customers are probably out shopping other dealerships after they left. When conducting same-day unsold follow-up, be sure to ask how their vehicle search is progressing. Re-state the main points of any offers you made while they were with you. Don’t put off the follow-up call! A customer’s world does not stop turning just for us. Here are some sample phrases to use.

• Thank you for visiting us today.

• Are you still considering the vehicle or offer we discussed?

• Are you still in the market or have your plans changed?

• Have you continued to shop?

• What kind of experience did you have?

• Have any of your specifications changed since your visit?

• We’re here if you need us; I want to be your automotive consultant.

• We want you to know that we value your business.

• We want to earn your business.

24-Hour Unsold:

Every unsold customer not contacted the same day must at least receive a follow-up call within 24 hours. Customers do appreciate the calls since it shows that we are sincerely interested in earning their business. Here are some additional phrases to use:

• Would you consider a used (or other) vehicle as an alternative?

• Other customers have told us that other dealerships did not call them back so I just wanted to…

• I wanted to mention that since you were here, ________________ has changed.

• My manager wanted me to tell you ____________.

• Factory incentives may change on the vehicle you’re looking at.

• The incentives on the vehicle you looked at are expiring soon.

• We’re having a huge sale at the end of the month.

• We have an additional selection of vehicles that just arrived.

• We received another vehicle that might work better for you.

• We received some additional financing information (approval, etc).

• My manager has a buyer for your trade and would like to re-appraise it.

• We received additional factory allocation so we can order your vehicle.

Ongoing Unsold Ups:

Our usual method is to follow-up until they buy or die. While this may seem extreme, it is important to be persistent and keep following the customer until a resolution is made. Since you will be making repeated calls to the same customer, a plan is essential.

• Have a fresh reason to call.

• Put the customer first; it’s all about them.

• Ask for a status update (did they buy, are they still in the market, etc).

• Ask what else can be done to earn their business.

Management Review:

You will periodically review your unsold customers with your sales manager. There are several reasons for doing this, which include:

• Make managers aware of details to help a customer in your absence.

• Get a fresh, objective look at a deal or prospect.

• Find a new opportunity to close the customer.

• Formulate a plan of action to close a deal.

• Make decision on disposition of the customer.

Sold Follow-Up:

Every new or used vehicle customer must receive a follow-up call between 24 to 72 hours after delivery without exception. This is also one of the questions the customer will answer when they receive their new vehicle purchase survey from the manufacturer. Here are the “conversation points” for the follow-up call:

• Thank them for their purchase.

• Ask how they are enjoying their vehicle (not “how is the car running, do you have any problems, etc”).

• For new vehicle sales, mention the manufacturer’s survey.

• If your dealership has one, mention your referral “bird dog” program.

• Remind them to call you with any and all automotive questions (you want to be their automotive consultant).

• Tell them you will be keeping in contact with them on a regular basis.

Ongoing Sold:

Once vehicles are sold and delivered, customers should be entered into the dealership database. It is your responsibility to maintain contact with these customers at least every 90 days. Contacts can be in the form of follow-up calls, birthday cards, promotional mailers and newsletters. Ask your sales manager for details and assistance in planning your follow-up program. The most important thing is to stick with it! Most customers will forget the name of the individual who sold them a vehicle before they are ready to buy again unless you stay in contact with them. Additionally, you will increase your odds of getting referral business. Some methods of ongoing sold follow-up are:

• Call or mail cards for birthdays and holidays.

• Send quarterly newsletters.

• E-mail or mail special service offers.

• Send anniversary of purchase cards or letters.

Follow-up, whether it’s done while the decision making process or after a customer buys a vehicle, is a vital part of automotive sales. Follow-up conducted during the decision making process will increase the odds of be-backs, while follow-up done after the sale should generate referrals and repeat customer sales.

Written by Will Parquette
Training Director
Columbia Ford Lincoln Mercury

How to Carry Out Third Party Follow Up Calls

We recommend all new contacts to the business are followed up within twenty four hours, by someone other than the original Sales Person who took the call, ideally the Sales Controller or Manager

This way, we will impress the Customer with our efficiency and courtesy and make them feel special (what’s the chances of another Retailer following up the Customer? – practically zilch!)

We can also find what impression Customers have of us, and we may just find a few live sales leads which we can turn in to appointments and sales

The call should go something like this……..

1) Qualify we are speaking to the right person

“Hello, may I speak with Mr Jones please?”

TOP Tip – don’t say “Is that Mr Jones?” – you may have a response like “No, It’s MRS JONES!” (that has happened to me)

Don’t say “Is your daddy there?” – you may have a response like “Do you mean my HUSBAND?!” (so has that)

2) Introduce ourselves and ask permission to proceed

“Hello Mr Jones, my name’s Stephen Turner from ABC Motors, you called us yesterday in reference to a new car,are you free to talk at the moment?”

TOP Tip – we’ve probably all received calls from businesses when we are about to sit down for our roast or in the middle of our favourite Columbo, so it’s really common courtesy to ask permission to continue

Most contacts will be delighted to hear from us and will want to talk, some may ask us to call back later. We may, of course, get the odd one or two who decline to speak to us further – we’ve still done a great job by showing our professionalism and, nothing ventured……

3) Explain the reason for our call

“The purpose of my call today is further to your enquiry yesterday, can you tell me, did you receive all the information you required?”

TOP Tip – this is a dynamic question and most Customers will tell you what happened and where they are now in the purchasing process. Listen carefully to what the Customer is telling us and make notes of any key points

4) Qualify the Customer

“If we could help you with that, would it be possible for you to come to the showroom today?”

TOP Tip – if we are not sure we can help the Customer at this point, for example if they are looking for a very specific car, we could say something like

“Would it be okay with you if I passed on the details of what you’ve told me to our Purchasing/ Marketing Manager, he may be able to help?”

5)Make an appointment with the Customer

Give the Customer a choice of when to come in to the showroom, but as much as possibe make the appointment for a specified time,like this:

“Would this afternoon or this evening be better for you?”

“Could you make 6.15pm or would 7.30pm suit you better?”

TOP Tip – ask the Customer to write down the time of the appointment and our name, and ask the Customer to call us if for any reason they can’t make the appointment