Sold! Used Truck Guide: How to leverage a phone sales inquiry

Old Man Handling a Phone Sales Inquiry

Salespeople should have a call outline to route each sales inquiry to the most productive call path.


Do you know how to handle a prospective customer who calls out of the blue? Can you quickly evaluate the caller’s potential to buy? Can you establish a rapport that moves the prospect toward a close?

It may sound exaggerated, but properly managing a customer reaching out over the phone is a complicated aspect of truck sales, says George Papp, professional sales consultant and trainer for the Used Truck Association’s (UTA) “Selling for Success” training seminars.

“The phone is a short-selling cycle. When a customer contacts you [on the phone], you want to take him out of the marketplace quickly,” he says.

This can be done by training sales people to navigate phone inquiries.


A good phone response begins before the phone rings, through preparation.

Salespeople should walk a used lot every morning, taking notes on the condition and specs of each truck. This information should be added to the data sheet on the truck, providing a sales person a comprehensive description of every truck available.

Customers shopping online have more information available to them than previous generations using print ads. That means sales people on the other end of the line can expect more focused, detailed questions during calls, says Arrow Truck Sales President Steve Clough.

Clough says Arrow trains its sales people in the use of the new mobile friendly technologies so that they are better equipped to meet customer needs and answer customer questions.


Papp says most customer calls start with questions about a specific truck or truck financing. Salespeople should have a call outline or script prepared to handle each call path.

“If a customer is in control of a call,” he notes, “you may never get to your objective of selling them a truck.”

Papp says well-placed “trigger” questions — “Are you a first-time buyer?” “How many trucks do you currently own?” — are imperative in this respect because they get a customer talking about his operation, vehicle needs and price restrictions.

From there, responses should direct a sales person to a specific call path, built with clear transitions to address the customer’s most pressing need or concern. In some cases, this may even force a sales person to defer to another expert within a dealership.

Regarding financing, Vanessa Ciervo, finance and accounting manager at H.K. Truck Center, says, “I find it easier if the sales person just lets me talk to the customer directly because it avoids a situation where we both may be asking the same questions.”


Once a customer enters a specific call path, the only way for a salesperson to know what comes next is to listen. Papp says sometimes salespeople get distracted by thinking about what they’ll say next and forget to listen to the customer.

“When you ask a question, stop and listen to the customer and everything they have to say,” he says.
Papp says too often a sales person answers the phone and hears a customer inquire about a truck, only to take down their name and contact information before asking, “How can I help you today?”

“They’ve already told you that,” he says. “That was the first thing they said.”

Phone conversations should be prompt and direct, Papp says. The goal is to take the customer out of the marketplace and into your trust. Listening carefully, being prepared and asking the right questions will help you do so.

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This is part of a series of stories from Successful Dealer on the best practices for moving used trucks. To download the entire guide, click here.

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