Phone Etiquette for Your Dealer Team

By Tyler Lavik | Dealer Services

The initial point of contact between your dealer team and a lead is crucial. To guarantee a sale, ensure you’re persistent, remain positive and learn to adapt to whatever your customer needs.

Reaching out to a lead for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. The initial call to a potential customer is one of the most important phases of the entire car selling process, as customers will typically have objections and questions that you might not be prepared for. Overcoming these over-the-phone objections quickly and confidently can help push the conversation forward and end with the customer visiting the dealership. However, an objection handled poorly could result in a lost customer or a cold lead.

One of the most important rules when talking to a customer on the telephone is to always remain in control of the conversation. A customer that is given too much information up front on the phone will most likely not show up to an appointment, as curiosity about the deal is what keeps them interested. Not to mention, it’s always easier to pitch numbers in person rather than over the phone. If a customer asks a question about interest or approval rates over the phone, it’s always best to keep the conversation light and redirect them back to the initial appointment date. Canada Drives works with hundreds of car dealerships all across Canada. After years of experience with the subprime market, we discovered the success of a deal starts on the phone. Here are three key rules to follow when you’re talking on the phone with a lead.


Very rarely does the first call connect, and if it does there is a good chance the customer will tell you they are busy or might have another reason why they can’t talk. That’s fine. Contact them again. They didn’t fill out a multipage application for no reason. Remind them of the inventory that you have on-site and that a pre-approval can expire. If the customer is busy with family or at work, it’s good to respect their current situation and ask them when a convenient time for you to call back is. A follow-up text message followed by a reminder message about the call-back time is never a bad idea either. Buying a car is a huge deal for people, but persistence and respect is key when you’re trying to win their trust and bring them into your car dealership.


Positive language and positive attitude are the keys to getting a good response from a potential customer. If you use negative language the customer is going to reflect that and shutdown. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in keeping the customer engaged and allowing you the opportunity to complete the sale. Communication is key when speaking to a customer on the phone, but a dealer that is enthusiastic and excited will likely win over the interest of a car buyer who might have doubts or cold feet about committing to a vehicle. Ensure that your initial conversation with a customer is efficient by keeping your language and attitude positive.


You need to be adaptable to work phone leads. It’s not about how you like to sell it’s about how the customers wants to be sold. If they want to talk on the phone that’s great, but they might prefer text or email. Use the method they prefer to ensure that they remain comfortable throughout the entire sales process. A customer that isn’t comfortable or confident in what you’re saying will likely shy away from visiting your dealership. To avoid this, use the power of agreement to your advantage – constantly agreeing with your customer will draw them closer to you and they’ll be more open to your suggestions once you get them further down the sales tunnel. Don’t forget that you’re competing with other dealerships in your community too, so the more adaptable you are the more likely you’ll blow the customers expectations away and make the sale.

With the right co-signer and large down payment, a customer with no or a low credit score can get approved for the vehicle of their choice with affordable auto financing, but getting these potential car buyers into your dealership can be difficult if your team doesn’t ace that first introductory conversation, which typically occurs over the phone. The word “yes” is a powerful tool when speaking to a customer over the phone, through email or via text message. The power of agreement is one that can turn a skeptical lead into a guaranteed customer. Disagreeing with a potential car buyer or telling them that they might not get exactly what they want over the phone could result in a lost lead.

Getting customers is easy with Canada Drives. Since 2010, we’ve been simplifying the car buying process for Canadians who have less than perfect credit. Our leads are real-time, exclusive, high quality and all local. We connect customers to dealership in every province and territory, generating over 400,000 quality leads a year. To learn more about Canada Drives and how we can help your dealership increase ROI and make more profits, visit Canada Drives today!

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