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Article: Opportunity Doesn't Knock, It Calls !

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Peter Drucker has been called the founder of modern management. He was a brilliant Management Consultant, Author, and Educator. One of his best quotes is: “The Entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” This tells me that we must constantly evolve in the way we conduct business.


What is the biggest opportunity we get every day? The phone! Incoming phone calls are a regular part of every day at any given shop. The question is, are you exploiting this opportunity to its fullest? Probably not. Most shops have no real process, so the caller guides the call, and we hope for an appointment. Every time your service advisor fails to convert a phone inquiry into an appointment you lose a lot of revenue. Not only losing the amount of the average repair order, but the repeat business that lost client would have produced and all the references that could have come from that new relationship.


The cost of not converting a call to an appointment is staggering. Let’s say you are losing only one conversion each day at $250 / average RO, 300 working days per year, that would be $75,000. That is real money. Research shows most shops lose 2 to 3 phone leads each day.


The good news is you can better exploit this opportunity without spending any additional money and bring that business to your shop.


Here are a few things you can do now to improve your phone call conversion rate:


Before the Call:

  • Meet with your team and select the things that set your shop apart from the rest. For example, 22 years in business, locally owned, ASE Blue Seal shop, Nationwide Warranties, etc.
  • Craft a policy that when an employee is on the phone, everyone else covers for them so that the call can go on uninterrupted.
  • Always answer the phone with pen and paper in hand.
Answering the Call:
  • Answer by the 2nd ring.
  • Have a uniform greeting that works like, “Thanks for calling Tiger’s Tires, this is Bob”. You answered the phone to help, so it doesn’t need to be said.
  • Always answer the phone with a smile.
  • Answer with cadence that is not rushed and use a pleasant demeanor.
  • Ask for the caller’s name, write it down, and use it during the call. Dale Carnegie said that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
During the Call:
  • Establish a connection with the caller. Discover the purpose of the call. Use complete sentences, not “What year again?”
  • Listen closely to the caller. Don’t be distracted by other things happening around.
  • Ask open ended questions that get to the caller real concern. Asking questions does 2 things; It builds trust and gets the needed information to get them into your shop
  • Pace your caller. If they speak quickly, you do the same. If they are more conversational, slow your roll and keep their pace.
  • How and when to put a caller on hold: Before putting the caller on hold, let them know why and ask them if they can hold briefly. “Mrs. White, our service manager would be the best one to answer your question, so could you hold briefly while I get him?” Next, get them quickly; give him the necessary info, and what line Mrs. White is on. Now, they should pick up the phone and start with, “Mrs. White, thank you for holding, Bob tells me you have a question about your….” Have you ever been on hold, the person on the other end just pick up, and immediately start back like they were never gone? It’s unprofessional and plain rude. Notice the customer does not have to tell her story over again. This is showing care and professionalism. It’s a simple thing to do but it is very much appreciated by your clients.
Closing the deal:
  • Get them into your shop
  • Offer to set up towing
  • Ask when they could bring their vehicle in for an evaluation and get them to set an appointment.
  • Remember they need something. No one calls around for the fun of it. Get their concern handled.
  • If they don’t commit, find out what concern you have not addressed and handle it. Ask more open-ended questions until they commit.
  • Keep your notes for future reference
  • Be sure to leave a great last impression. Offer a closing line like –“Nice speaking to you today” or “Look forward to meeting you”.
So, don’t miss out on the biggest opportunity you have every day. Think of those incoming phone calls as more revenue for your business and make it your mission to convert them into as many new customers possible.


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