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How Long Should a Phone Call Be in Your Dealership? - CallRevu - Blog

How Long Should a Phone Call Be in Your Dealership?

Your website and inventory are stellar, your reviews are impeccable, you’ve caught a potential customer’s attention, and now they want to use the phone to get to know you better.

What does the data tell us?

"How long should a phone call last?" is one of the most commonly asked questions. “Not too long”, General Managers preached for years. “ Keep it under 3 minutes ”, they said. “Get their name and number and call them back!”

Those who broke this golden rule were destined to be embarrassed by having their calls played during Saturday morning sales meetings. Or worse, they’d be barred from the phones. Who wants that? With the phone being your number 1 lead source, few can afford to have that ripped from under their feet.

But...times have changed, and so has the way our customers choose to shop for their next vehicle.

Here’s our take: A phone call should only be long enough to entice the customer to visit your dealership instead of the competition. That may sound vague, but there is no hard-and-fast call duration rule that works for everyone. Factors to consider include customer needs, tone, whether they are a repeat customer, and whether or not they’ve done research before calling you. Every customer is different.

Keep this in mind: In today’s world-we have DVR, we have text messaging, you can get breakfast all day, every day at McDonalds…and one click same-day delivery online shopping through Amazon.

What does this say about today’s buyer? They’re not sitting captive on a couch waiting for their favorite show to come on at 8:00 PM. They skip commercials and they binge watch an entire season in one night through their DVR or Netflix.

They text because they want control over when they will respond. They want breakfast after 10:00 AM. They’d much rather avoid traditional store hours…and lines…and instead make a one-click purchase from their phone app in their PJ’s or at a stop light (Ugh! Please don’t use your phone while driving...especially if the light turns green!).

We have arrived to a place where the customer demands control of their precious time.

Let’s respect that.

With this in mind…we turned to Steve Chisholm, our resident data scientist, to crunch the numbers and help us better understand what customers want. After a few hours of purifying the reports from our multi-million call archive, we found some interesting results.

Here are graphs showing appointment set percentages based on time: 

We found an interesting correlation of appointment percentage averages and time spent in conversation with a potential customer.

There were two major sweet spots: Between 3 and 4 minutes (34% appointment set), and then a bigger and better target of 5 to 8 minutes (40% appointment set). The two plateaus show us that our customers are different. That success can be found in two areas; brief concise conversations from 3.5 to 4.5 minutes, and just detailed enough from 5 to 8 minutes. It also shows us that our chances of setting an appointment are drastically reduced under 3 minutes and over 8 minutes.

So does the old under 3 minutes’ rule work for today’s customer?

The data tells us no.

...And now for the “Wright Call Rant”.

From a training perspective, this has always made sense to me. Our customers want a quality conversation. Too often we have been brainwashed to think that all we need to do is disregard their questions and ask them to come in for a test drive. Oh yeah, and awkwardly ask for their contact information without a reason and before we’ve earned it.

If you do that today, you run the risk of getting hung up on. Millennials, smartphone shoppers, and 5th generation car buyers set today’s rules of engagement. Listening will help you determine if you need to be extra thorough or quick and to the point.

So, where did the idea of an under 3-minute call spawn from? Dealerships that have little to no faith in the people they have handling their phone calls. They urged reps to keep it quick and provide very little information because they didn’t train them properly. They felt that extra conversation could lead to a customer ruling them out. But, the reality is that extra conversation could actually produce more reasons for us to invite them into our dealership...if we take the time to listen.

I always enjoy asking dealers, “how are the phones different from what we do when the customer arrives? When they walk in the door…do we start doing paperwork? No!” And for the same reason we have a showroom process, we should also adopt a phone process including a proper greeting, a promise to serve the customer, a basic needs analysis, an attempt to earn their contact information, an honest and energetic request for an appointment, and the proper farewell.

The best way to understand what they want is to let them talk while you listen. In the restaurant industry, the service provided by a waiter/waitress or bartender can help us understand this nuance. If a customer comes in looking rushed, placing an order upon being greeted, and asking for the check in with their credit card ready, it lets us know we should be extra snappy to serve them as fast as possible. If a customer comes in with guests and they mention that it’s their first time visiting, it’s time to roll out the red carpet. We impress them with menu recommendations, we may offer them a sample, make sure their drinks are always full, bring extra bread, and introduce them to the maître d'. In both instances, we read the customer and serve them according to their needs. If we accomplish this, we usually are rewarded with a tip.

The same goes for the phone call in the automotive industry. If you listen to your customer, treat them right, and respect how they want to spend their time - you’ll likely be rewarded with their business for life. 

To learn more about the skills I discuss above, sign up for our FREE phone skills training!


Publish Date: June 24, 2016 5:00 AM

2021 Buyers Guide Telecoms

Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.

You can see the full list of features here:


Cloudonix’s smart voice calls enable frictionless experiences that drive better customer care and faster sales by merging voice and data into a complete service context. Cloudonix add Cloud capabilities to your existing on premise Call Center enabling your agents to work from anywhere in the world. Security, Privacy and more – rapidly deployed and cost effective without replacing your existing systems or retraining your team.

Connectica Solutions, LLC

PBX On The Cloud
We provide complete Cloud-based PBX/Phone Systems, including predictive and progressive dialers, phone lines in more than 75 countries and low cost international rates.
We specialize in the US and Latin American market.
PH: +1 (346) 444-3555

Layer One Technologies

Layer One Technologies provides information and communication technology (ICT) services to businesses in the greater Charlotte area. Whatever your cabling needs, we have you covered.
PH: (980) 288-4800


VOIP services
Stay in contact quickly and easily with your international offices through Megacall.

Megacall will fulfill all your telecommunication requirements and on top of that go the extra mile and surprise you with new possibilities for your business, speed to action your requests and keeping within your budget.

📞 Virtual Switchboard
🔌 SIP trunk
🔢 Virtual number
📠 Call Center Solutions
PH: +34 952 667 511


Our SNAPsolution – UC and Collaboration tools – can be quickly deployed so you can realize your ROI just as quick. netsapiens offers a comprehensive suite of unified communications (UC) & Contact Center (CC) feature-sets to service providers. Custom-built to provide our partners with unprecedented levels of flexibility, customization, and ease of use.

netsapiens allows you to control your margins in order to improve your ROI. As a provider of a facilities-based solution, you are able to personally choose your origination, termination, hardware costs, etc. to fit your budget. We also allow you to strategically price your product for a maximum return on your investment by charging on a conc...
(read more)
PH: 7608463385

Nuxiba Technologies

Build a strong business presence and improve customer relationships!

Offer custom-tailored solutions throughout your sales cycles and customer interactions and assess service levels and control corporate goal achievement through reports and statistics.

Obtain detailed reports based on relevant activity in your contact center, access our quality module to assess calls and performance, apply surveys, develop scripts, record conversations, and more!

Schedule a live demo or request a quote today!


Long Distance and Toll Free Specialists for Contact Centers
Televergence is a facilities based US Nationwide High volume/High Capacity Inbound and Outbound VoIP Carrier for Contact Centers. We specialize in termination (outbound) and origination (toll free and local DID) for the contact center. We have a technical staff that is up to date on the majority of platforms in use today, including asterisk and Vicci dial, as well as many of the currently in use software platforms.
Contact Centers generally see cost reduction and containment when using Televergence as their contact center telecom carrier. Televergence is the only active US VoIP carrier certified by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which enables our services to qualify for meeting corporations Supplier Diversity Needs.
PH: 213-943-2023

View more from CallRevu

Recent Blog Posts:
The 3 Step Approach to Success on the PhonesApril 5, 2017 5:00 AM
Own the Bracket: Know Where Calls FailMarch 21, 2017 5:00 AM
Answering a Call with Transparency and TechnologyMarch 10, 2017 5:00 AM
Why Customers Call Service?March 1, 2017 5:00 AM
The Top Reason Customers Call SalesFebruary 21, 2017 5:00 AM
Fixing Dealerships' PhonesFebruary 8, 2017 5:00 AM
A Great Call Starts with Great DataJanuary 3, 2017 5:00 AM
Phone Trees vs Live Answer: What’s best?December 7, 2016 5:00 AM
Guest Blogger: Seven Call Stats That Every Dealer Needs to KnowNovember 16, 2016 5:00 AM
Now and Then: Most Recent vs. First 2 MM Call ReportOctober 19, 2016 5:00 AM

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