Cold calling gets a bad rap, especially in the automotive industry. This reputation is largely justified. The majority of businesses are making the wrong types of calls and not seeing the return on their investment. A cold call is any call made to a potential customer without that customer first acknowledging that they are in the market for that product. This broad definition includes hundreds of different varieties of calls. It’s important to note that there is a complete difference between making a call to a referral and making a call to a random name on a list. These are both classified as cold calls but they’re not at all the same some outbound calls are definitely colder than others.
Generally speaking, we only recommend making outbound calls to prospects who are, in one way or another, connected to existing customers or the staff at your dealership. Calling referrals and past customers are examples of these types of “less cold” calls. Outbound calls are already hard enough and there is no reason to make them more difficult by making calls that will never yield great results.
According to ZoomInfo, in 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts. On top of that, 62% of organizations rely on marketing or prospect data that is 20%-40% incomplete or inaccurate. This means it’s getting more difficult to reach prospects and, once they do get in touch, most businesses are pulling from a database that isn’t very accurate.
Making the right types of outbound calls helps alleviate some of these problems. For example, referral information comes directly from the customer and was probably obtained relatively recently, meaning the contact information is significantly more likely to be accurate. There are several tools that will automatically verify information in your database through confirmation with the customer and by comparing the information to their own database. This is critical as companies that employ consistent data hygiene create about 700% the number of inquiries and roughly 400% the number of leads than those who do not.
Calling referrals is easier than it seems but it can cause a myriad of problems if it’s mismanaged. Be careful not to come off too strong by opening with something like
“Bill tells me you’re looking for a car/in the market/looking to purchase”
The referral might complain “Why did they give you my name?” This bad reaction may also cause you to lose your referral source as a future customer.
Try this instead:
“Hello (customer name)”
“Did I get you at a bad time?”
“This is (your name) from (dealership name)”
“The reason I’m calling, (referral’s name), is that I recently had the opportunity to help a friend/coworker/neighbor of yours, (customer’s name), with the purchase of a (vehicle). Have you seen their (vehicle)?”
“Well, (referral’s name), I get most of my business from repeats and referrals, from people just like you and (customer’s name). I didn’t call you to put you on the spot, and I would never put (customer’s name) on the spot, he/she’s a good customer, but as we were talking, your name came up as someone who, one of these days, might possibly consider some type of vehicle for themselves. Could that be true?”
Follow up with:
“That’s a great place to start.” Or, “You picked a great time to consider”
Continue with the 10 Steps to a Quality Conversation (Steps 8-10) from the Guaranteed Sales Success Manual.
If the last time a previous customer heard from you was as they were leaving the showroom over 12 months ago, they are immediately going to put their guard up expecting you to sell them something. Data mining calls are undoubtedly easier when there have been several attempts to follow-up and maintain the relationship. Calling the customer to thank them for a referral or see how they like their vehicle are easy ways to maintain the relationship and keep your database up to date.
Here are our top data mining calls for these past customers.
The best cold call script is one that is tailored to fit the customer you are going to call and creates value for them. We have included three example data mining scripts for download. Enter your name and email below to download the following three scripts: Zero Flip/Equity Call, Finance Termination & Friends & Acquaintances.
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