Natural salesmanship can take an associate a long way in any business, but there is always a breaking point where the intuitive drive to sell has to give way to disciplined messaging centered on customer concerns. However, the automotive world is not just one of many examples where this is true—it’s a gold-standard space for conscious branding, active training, and carefully scripted phone interactions to maximize sales.
The fact is, cars are one of the last true sales environments out there, and they represent a pure opportunity for a team’s talent and technique to come together to move products and drive profits. Today’s environment is no longer the solo show it was 20 years ago. It’s a team sport, and the sales process is one long, integrated chain of experiences. From a customer’s initial interactions with the website to finally sliding the keys across the table, it’s all about finding the right car sales questions to ask customers—and in the right way—to identify exactly what you need to deliver for them.
An associate who’s armed with a well-crafted script will outperform any sales virtuoso who’s going it alone, and like anything, there’s an art to asking the right questions. Here are some of the very best car sales questions to ask in a variety of scenarios to help guide their leads to the car they’re going to fall in love with.
1. Questions in Follow Up Calls
This is a phone call that’s either following up with a potential customer who you met with already, or returning a phone call from a customer who wanted to initiate a conversation. In these cases, you’re hoping to move a customer down your sales pipeline, and will likely be providing information either proactively or in response to a particular query.
In both cases, the most important question you’re going to ask will look something like this:
“Hello [Customer Name], this is [Your Name] with [Your Dealership] and I wanted to answer the questions you had about [X Issue]. [Provide answers]. I know [These Concerns] are important for you—would you like to go over some of the options and details?”
This interaction does two things: first, it provides the information they requested, but second, it’s phrased in a way that lets them know your pitch is secondary (and related) to their needs. Every customer understands you care about making the sale and the size of your commission—that’s a given—but no one should ever feel like that’s more important than making sure they are well served. After all, a car is one of the biggest investments most people ever make, and your first priority for earning your keep is making sure their needs are taken care of completely and compassionately.
2. Nurturing Trustworthy Referrals
Part of creating happy customers and building a strong reputation is managing referrals from your customers. Buying a car often involves making huge financial decisions with people you just met. The initial interactions sales associates have with referrals over the phone can be make-or-break for establishing a sense of continuity and trust.
When you’re contacting a referral, your script should follow this structure:
“Hello [Customer Name], this is [Your Name] with [Your Dealership] and I was given your name by [Referrer’s Name] . We were able to find them a great car. They mentioned that you might be interested and [These Concerns] are important to you and your family. Would you like to talk about some of our options?”
When we consider the structure of the best car sales questions to ask customers, this format is key. First, it communicates that you have a good relationship with someone they know and trust. More importantly, it relays that the discussion you had with their friend about them was centered on their needs, not your wallet. Again, the phrasing is structured so that their needs are first and your sales pitch is a response.
It may seem a bit cynical, but the reality of sales is that most people are inexperienced with negotiating and naturally view car sales associates as slick operators who aren’t to be trusted. An excellent script should always be proactively reinforcing the idea that transaction is about people first and money second.
3. Connecting with Existing Customers
It can always be awkward calling a friend when you want something, even if you know them well. When you’re calling out of the blue from a business, it’s extremely important to get the initial interactions right so it doesn’t feel blatantly transactional.
If you’ve got some great deals you want to share with old customers, your script should be centered around this question:
Hello [Customer], this is [Your Name] at [Your Dealership]—I hope you are doing well. How are you liking your [Current Car]? Is there anything we can help you with? I’m reaching out because this year’s models have arrived…
It might seem a bit odd that this script doesn’t get right to the point, but once again, the most important thing to communicate to a potential customer is that what they’re feeling and what they need matters first and foremost. If they’re happy—great! And if they’re having trouble, you’ll definitely want to address it before you try to sell them something else.
The key here is, whether they’re completely happy or looking to make a change, you still have the same opportunity to invite them to look. Was your old car great? Guess what? The new models are even better! And if your old car is on its last legs, now’s a great time to get an excellent deal.
Perfecting Your Sales Calls with Phone Ninjas
Sales scripts are all about delivering consistency and empathy for your customers, support and guidance for your sales team, and as a result, hitting your goals and driving profits with better service. But if you don’t ask the right questions—and in the right way—you will quickly find yourself getting sent to voicemail while your numbers slump and revenues dip.
That’s where Phone Ninjas can give you the boost you need. We’re experts at training sales teams to optimize their interactions with detailed, customized scripts, individual coaching sessions, and consulting services for dealerships and sales teams on any sales communication issues you may be facing. We don’t deal in vague or generic advice either; we offer two free mystery shops to give you real-world feedback and insights to find instant teaching points you can use to start boosting your numbers today.
Visit Phone Ninjas to learn the right car sales questions to ask customers that will get them in the door quickly and driving away happy.
As the Vice President of Phone Ninjas, Chris delivers leadership, coaching, and mentorship to 55 team members providing software sales and phone skills coaching. He fosters powerful partnerships and collaborations with leaders across various business sectors, establishing expectations, communicating vision, and escalating performance to maximize productivity and effectiveness.