I Hate Phone Calls
I am a Gen X-er with a Millennial attitude towards the phone: Please don’t call me. I will go to great lengths to avoid answering a phone as well as placing a phone call. This affliction has plagued me since I was a kid and would freeze in a complete panic if someone asked me to call the pizza guy for a delivery. Yes, at one point in this world, we had to pick up the phone to have food delivered. Can you imagine the horror? So, I once purchased a car via text message and thought it was the greatest process of all time. I bragged about it for years. All the while, I knew I had made a mistake and that this car just wasn’t right for me.
I only cared if my new car was cute and had heated seats. It was literally the only request. So, when I received a text back saying that the car found was an “S” rather than an “SV,” I didn’t know that meant it was a basic model. I assumed it meant my dream car was found and I moved forward in excitement! They sent me pictures of the car and we even finalized the pricing all through text. I was so relieved. No human contact! This was a dream come true; until it wasn’t.
The car was shipped from Florida, so it took a few days to arrive. I couldn’t wait to pick it up. When it finally arrived, the process was smooth. I signed a few pieces of paper and was given a tour of the interior. I loved it. But, when I was halfway home, I tried to turn on my heated seats and realized that they did not exist. I called the dealership for help finding the heated seat button (after having a slight panic about making an actual call) and found out the hard way what the “S” model meant. No heated seats. Eventually, the car turned out to be a lemon. I never would have known that during a test drive, but at least I would have known about the seats. I made a mistake.
As a career sales professional, I understand how silly it is to hate talking on the phone. I do it for a living myself, so I have to pause to think about what it was that I was actually trying to avoid. The answer is simple: It’s that feeling of incompetence and of wasting time. Consumers dread the car shopping experience. If a fact-finding call had happened at the beginning of the process, and I was assured that the salesperson considered my needs and my time important, I am sure that I would have had a completely different experience and probably not ended up with that lemon. It isn’t hard to build trust over the phone. Listen to what your consumer is asking for and come up with a solution that fits their needs. Don’t use that initial phone call to sell. Nobody likes feeling like are being “sold,” This call is just to find out what they are looking for and to give you an idea of how to best fit their needs. Keep the call short and sweet so as not to waste their time. Once you have figured out the best option for their needs, set an appointment for that test drive. They need to know if they are comfortable in the car. Do they like the displays, is there room for their travel mug, and does the car have heated seats?
In closing, the phones have become more important over the years because they include our email, texts, apps, a calculator, our calendar, and a phone. It’s more than a communication tool, it’s an everything tool. From music to sports to politics; video stores are out of business and so are payphones. Because of today’s phone. People need to embrace the phone and be equipped to handle today’s consumer on the phone on their terms.