What’s In a Name? Maybe a Sale!

It may surprise you (or maybe not) that the vast majority of salespeople handling the calls never ask for the caller’s name.

Jeff SchererBy Jeff Scherer, Associate Partner, Callbutton LLC — Our company provides dealers and manufacturers with the ability to record and listen to their inbound phone calls. As such, I have had the opportunity to listen to thousands of sales calls. It may surprise you (or maybe not) that the vast majority of salespeople handling the calls never ask for the caller’s name. They are, however, sure to mention their name with a quick proverbial “ask for Bill if you come in” before hanging up.

You probably would never think about writing a letter without addressing it to someone. Hopefully you would not omit someone’s name from an e-mail that you’re sending. Isn’t a phone call a much more personal channel of communication?

People love to hear their name. It makes them feel recognized, valued and shows that you are paying attention to them. They called your store for a reason. Typically they have questions about your product and they are seeking answers. Salespeople who just respond to the questions with answers and neglect to ask some questions back are missing the opportunity not only to qualify, but to establish rapport as well.

Several of our clients are in the business of training employees to be better on the phone. Listen to the two examples below and see which one you think provides a better customer experience:

It’s great to show that you’re knowledgeable on the product that they called in about, but as the saying goes: “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Care enough on your next call to make sure you ask for the caller’s name and sprinkle in some probing questions of your own. When it comes time to invite them down to meet with you, you’ll find your appointment success ratio just went up astronomically!


  1. I’ve heard only a small fraction of the calls you have heard, and I have similar sentiments. Is there a training program specific to boat sales personnel?

    Will I see you this year at MDCE?

  2. I’ve listened to a number of sales calls over the past few weeks (as we recently started using Jeff/CallButton’s service, which overall I’m pretty happy with). Personalization is obviously a big part of it, but access to information to me is even much more so. On so many of the calls I’ve heard the person calling was looking for more information about the vehicle they were interested in, yet they from seeing it online (we’re a vehicle marketing site – AutoWizard.ca) knew more about it than the person sitting across the lot from it! There are so many “ummm”, “ahhhh”, “let me check on that” for simple things like price, mileage, and features, it’s really quite amazed me. I would advise any dealers to have detailed information about all their vehicles within arm’s reach of anyone answering the phone. Companies spend so much time and money trying to generate more calls, now they need to spend some time doing a better job handling them to maximize the results. If you have more than one person working in your store, I think you would really benefit from recording sales calls (and there are some nice tracking benefits that come with it too).


  3. Nick;
    We meet again! We (PCS-Global) certainly do offer targeted and customized training for the marine industry, especially sales consultants & BDC reps. Our “Roadmaps” or scripts have been used in over 600 dealerships, albeit mostly auto & RV. Our training programs have been developed over 11 years based upon customization to fit the success achieved from phone calls that lead to appointments set, that showed and bought – that day! We have had access to 6,000,000 recorded calls per month and in effect, reverse engineered our processes to parallel what successful call handlers have done to set appointments leading directly to sales. Our daily call-by-call, virtual training is known as CallCoach; our call review/synopses program is called telePuLse and our on-site and/or webinar call handling program is called “When Talk Ain’t Cheap.”
    I look forward to sharing our processes and products as well as learning from you and your dedicated marine experiences to even better refine our offerings. drJ

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