Good Questions Are Critical to Making Good Recommendations

We listen to a lot of phone calls from prospective buyers to commercial dealerships. It gives us a really good temperature reading on the sales acumen of commercial salespeople. Some dealers handle phone calls beautifully, and we can learn from their techniques. Let’s spend a couple of minutes discussing some best practices for inbound phone call leads.

Cute little child on the phone near a concrete wall

Establish a Relationship with the Prospect

The first point we need to consider is that the prospect has called looking for information. And, we can safely assume that you aren’t the only dealer they’ve spoken with today. A lot of buyers shop around, so it’s important to differentiate yourself from the others with whom he has spoken. The best way to do that is by establishing your credibility by asking the right type of questions to give you a good feel for his needs. This allows you to make a recommendation that is a good fit for the customer. A consultative approach to sales will make customers for life.

Questions that Guide the Conversation

There are certain questions that can give you a ton of information that will help you guide that prospect to the best vehicle for his needs. Let’s review some of these questions:

  • What truck do you have right now? The answer to this question will give you a lot of information. When he says, “A 2014 F450 stake body,” he’s allowing you to draw a reasonable inference as to how much time is left on the lease (if it’s leased) or how much he’s likely still owing on it. And, you’ll know approximately what it’s worth at trade-in. Also, you’ll know what the basic upfit is, which will help guide you into the next series of questions.
  • What will you be using it for? Again, a simple question, but one that elicits a great deal of information. From his answer, you can begin to determine whether his current vehicle is the right fit, or you may determine that he needs something different to better suit the needs of his vocation. Remember, what differentiates you from the other dealers with whom he’s spoken is that you understand his industry and what type of vehicle will best serve his needs. You’re not pushing product; rather, you’re guiding him to the right truck for his needs.
  • What features are most important to you? As you well know, we are often surprised by this answer because what the prospect currently drives doesn’t align with those features that he considers important. For instance, if mileage is a top priority, he may not need as big a truck. Or, if towing is important, he may have a truck that’s too small for the weight he’s pulling or hauling.
  • I know that you’re calling about this used truck, but have you considered new? It’s at this point that we may be able to provide a new vehicle that better suits his needs, including lower payments and better financing rates. During commercial truck season, the OEMs are providing some really great incentives that may make owning a new commercial truck more affordable than buying used.

I’d like to hear from you. Let me know what types of questions you use to get really good information from your prospects. I’ll share the information in an upcoming column, and I’ll send you a Commercial Truck Trader hat if we use your question!


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