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Managing phone sales inquiries

Lucas Deal June 20, 2013

Do you know how to handle a prospective customer if one calls out of the blue?

Can you quickly and efficiently evaluate their potential to buy, provide them vehicle information and move them to a close?

It may sound crazy, but George Papp, professional sales consultant and former director of sales development at Arrow Truck Sales, says managing a customer that reaches out to a dealer is a complicated aspect of truck sales.

“The phone is a short-selling cycle. When a customer contacts you [on the phone] you want to take him out of the marketplace quickly,” he says. “It’s not like outside sales when you’re working with a fleet.”

That’s why Papp and the Used Truck Association (UTA) have joined forces to present “Selling for Success,” a two-day training seminar led by Papp designed to help dealers in all aspects of sales, but particularly aspects commonly seen in the used truck market.

Below are three key tips from Papp on dealing with phone inquiries from his most recent presentation June 10-11 in Chicago.

Papp says preparation is an absolute necessity for salespeople in any field. Salespeople have to know your inventory to be able to sell it.

Papp recommends salespeople walk your lot every morning to get acclimated with the trucks available to sell. They should take notes during the walk, writing down the condition and specs of each truck. Once that’s completed, Papp says the salespeople should input their notes into your inventory system on their computers or tablets so they can easily access it during sales discussions.

Having a conversation strategy to follow a customer inquiry is another essential aspect of preparation. To sell a truck you have to control the sales discussion, Papp says.

Papp says most customer calls all start the same way, with questions about a specific truck or truck financing, and salespeople should have a call outline or script prepared to handle each call path.

“If a customer is in control of a call,” he notes in his presentation, “you may never get to your objective of selling them a truck.”

Asking the right questions allows a salesperson to take control of a call, Papp says. The right questions at the right time will get a customer talking about his operation, why he needs a truck, what truck is best for his operation and which truck can he afford.

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