The Power of the Word

July 2010

What is the impact of word choice on sales? In a word, dramatic.

When a customer submits a lead to a dealership, it is best practice to execute a multi-vehicle price quote within 10 minutes. It is also best practice to follow with a phone call in 10 minutes. But what do you say on the call?

This is often a key point of failure in dealerships. Some dealers do not provide their sales reps with scripts at all. For others, the script is poorly conceived, and underperforms. It takes thought and work to execute the ideal script.

I recently spoke with a top training executive with an outsourced telemarketing company supporting auto dealers. This large operation scores 90,000 calls a year. This executive has closely studied the data regarding the effectiveness of words in sales and service contacts. From his 20 years of research and work practice, he has discovered that there are 9 key customer-friendly phrases that have proven to build trust in a conversation. They are:

  • No problem
  • I understand
  • Allow me
  • I’d be happy to
  • Well informed decision
  • It’s been my experience
  • I’m confident
  • I wouldn’t expect you to
  • Fair enough

Now let’s use some of these phrases in a real call script. This script assumes an assistant is making the first call.

Good (morning, afternoon, evening). May I speak with (customer name)? Hi, my name is ______. I’m the sales assistant calling on behalf of (dealership name). We just received your request for information. I’m calling to confirm that you received my response. Have you received it?

NO– OK, Are you close to a computer?

YES– Good. Are you close to a computer?

NO– No problem. I’d be happy to go over the information with you. (Customer name), my goal is to work with you today to provide all the information you need to make a well informed decision. Fair enough? Please stop me if you have any questions.

YES– Great. As you can see, we’ve sent you X price quotes. I’d be happy to go over your options in further detail. (Customer name), my goal is to work with you today to provide all the information you need to make a well informed decision. Fair enough? Please stop me if you have any questions.

Now, since you said this is a good time, allow me to go over the email that was sent to you.

Of the X options we sent you, is there one that sounds like it will fit your needs?

1. Okay, have you test driven the car? (Take note of answer)

NO– No problem. I’d be happy to get that set up for you then.

YES– Great. What was your experience?

(Based on responses, phrases such as “It’s been my experience”, “I’m confident”, or “I wouldn’t expect you to” might be appropriate)

2. Are you comparing any other makes or models?

(Take note of any other makes / models; use “9 customer-friendly phrases” in response)

Have you considered whether you want to finance, lease or pay cash?

(Take note of answer; use “9 customer-friendly phrases” in response).

What made you decide to send us your request for a quote today? (Take note of answer; use phrases)

Do you have a trade? (Take note of answer; use phrases)

SUMMARIZE WHAT YOU’VE HEARD (shows you’ve listened; creates opportunity to ask questions you might have missed)

Please allow me to ask, what is the best time for you to come in for a test drive? I have an appointment opening tomorrow at 2:15 PM and 4:15 PM. What works best for you? (Appointment time established.) OK great. I’m confident that we can address your needs and help you make a well informed decision. We will see you at (agreed upon time). Fair enough?

Thanks for your time. Just call our Internet Manager at ______ if you need to reschedule your appointment.

Note the tone that is created by the use of these phrases. By use of these words, you establish trust. The approach signals that you are there to be of service—to help the customer make a well-informed decision. The great irony of selling is that you are best at it when your focus is not on the sale, but on the customer. These 9 customer-friendly phrases position you as someone who cares—which is the key gateway to superior sales performance.


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