Don’t tell your salespeople to get on the phones

Instead, lead by example. (Part 2)

Part one of this article appeared in the July 2021 issue.

The problem: Regardless of industry experience, many salespeople simply don’t know how to make effective outbound phone calls (and their sales managers assume they do).

The fix: Train salespeople on how to make effective outbound phone calls. Instead of passing out a one-size-fits-all call script, have sales managers sit down with each salesperson and create several call scripts (together) that fit each salesperson’s selling style, personality, and comfort level.

Roleplay the calls. Then, sitting at the salesperson’s workstation, take turns making outbound phone calls together.

If your sales managers do not have the knowledge, expertise, or experience to train this critically important skill, outsource and bring sales trainers right to your dealership showroom to work with your entire sales and leadership team.

Consider the following talking points when making outbound phone calls:

“We want your vehicle. The current used vehicle market is like Canada’s housing market—it’s booming and (as a dealership) we are running very low on used vehicle inventory.

“The best place for us to find high quality used vehicles is with our own customers. Would you consider allowing us to buy your vehicle? And as compensation, we can offer you a brand-new vehicle at an extremely attractive payment.

“We would begin the process with a no charge, no obligation certified appraisal and show you the difference in monthly payments to upgrade your vehicle. It’s easy and relaxed.

If your sales managers do not have the knowledge, expertise, or experience to train this critically important skill, outsource and bring sales trainers right to your dealership showroom to work with your entire sales and leadership team.

“If upgrading your vehicle doesn’t make sense to you based on the numbers, then you continue to drive a great vehicle. If the numbers do make sense, you get beautiful new styling, more features, ever-increasing safety, and worry-free driving with a new factory warranty and roadside assistance.

Is this something that you would consider?”

Or: “Since inventory levels of our new vehicles are at record lows, we are contacting all of our customers to offer customized factory-orders. The arrival of the factory-order may just be the perfect time for you to exchange your current vehicle.

“Many of us that have been lucky enough to work through the pandemic have actually saved money. We did not take luxury vacations, spend money on concerts, sporting events, theatres and weddings. We have not been spending as much money at restaurants and bars. We have not been buying clothes, spending money on dry cleaning, business lunches, and public transit.

“As a result, many of our customers are deciding to reward themselves by upgrading their present vehicle. It’s a little retail therapy to reward yourself and celebrate the end of the pandemic.”

Or: “According to CAA, the average Canadian spends an average of $1,400 in vehicle maintenance and repairs after the factory warranty expires. This would theoretically increase your current monthly payment by approximately $116 per month.

“Would you consider allowing us to take back your present vehicle? We could offer you a brand-new 2021/2022 at an extremely attractive payment with new styling, improved safety technology, more state-of-the-art convenience features and a fresh, factory warranty reset back to day one.”

The problem: Most salespeople resent being told to perform tasks that their sales managers are unwilling to do with them. This is the single biggest reason why salespeople resist making outbound phone calls.

The fix: Sales managers must make calls with their salespeople if they wish this to be a positive and productive activity.

Making outbound phone calls can be uncomfortable and awkward for salespeople of all experience levels—as well as sales managers.

Most salespeople don’t expect perfection in their sales managers, or have the notion that they are experts in all facets of selling. However, when sales managers are willing to make outbound phone calls with their sales team, this is an act of leadership and learning.

At a recent in-dealership training assignment on the west coast, our sales trainer organized a one and a half hour phone blitz at 10:00 a.m. The 11 salespeople comprising the morning shift, two sales managers, the general sales manager, the general manager, and the sales trainer all attacked the phones with an appointment target combined with energy and enthusiasm.

The salespeople watched their leadership team work the phones with the same intensity and focus as they did. The sales team was energized and proud of their managers. More importantly, the appointment results and subsequent vehicles sold were astounding.

Leadership is not a title. It is action and example. Hence, don’t tell your salespeople to get on the phones. Instead, get on the phone with them!

About Chris Schulthies

Chris Schulthies is the president of Toronto-based Wye Management. Wye Management provides sales and management training (showroom and digital) for dealerships, dealer groups, OEMs and industry suppliers in Canada and the U.S. You can contact him at or 416.908.6346.

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