SEATTLE — The conversation analytics experts at Marchex have released a new report based on an analysis of 6,200 sales conversations that occurred at U.S. auto dealerships in January. They found that top-performing salespeople actively listened to callers 179% more often than bottom performers — a practice that leads to more visits to dealerships and, ultimately, more sales.
Top performers, defined in the report as the top 25% of salespeople, relied on active listening techniques, such as repeating and clarifying information. According to the study, top performers then used that information to provide callers more relevant recommendations.
As the final installment of a three-part series on call handling at auto dealerships, this study benchmarked the specific goals of the salespeople relative to the outcomes of their conversations, which was to get inbound callers to schedule an appointment to either look at a car or take a test drive.
The findings showed that top sales performers:
- Requested the caller’s name 163% more often than bottom performers.
- Provided their direct contact information to callers 40% more often than bottom performers — and got the caller’s contact information, as well.
- Said “please” and “thank you” 99% of the time, while lower performers used these phrases 89% of the time.
- Laughed on more than half of their calls, which kept the calls positive and helped relax the caller.
“Active listening is the key to building meaningful connections with prospective car buyers over the phone,” said Head of Automotive Matt Muilenburg. “The data shows that taking the time to listen and create these high-value experiences increases customer visits to dealerships and ultimately leads to more sales. This is especially critical today when dealer visits are at an all-time low.”
The report also found that asking about the caller’s needs and preferences leads to more successful outcomes. Top performers asked callers about their needs 57% more often than lower-performing salespeople. Top performers often asked questions that actively engaged callers about their preferences, such as “Did you need third-row seating?” and “Are you wanting leather seats?”
“Understanding and empathy drive sales,” added Muilenburg. “This data helps dealers understand how to deliver empathy at critical moments and capture the interests of the customer over the phone.”
To download the full report, click here.