Dialing For Dollars

By Tracy Staton

Article from Used Car Dealer Magazine  
Used Car Dealer LogoIn the film Glengarry Glen Ross, a group of salesmen desperate to make a deal are so tantalized by a packet of hot, new sales leads that one of them breaks into his boss’s office to obtain them.

While car dealers may not be quite that desperate for qualified leads, they know the importance of good ones.

And that’s why so many are using credit hotlines, telephone systems that allow callers to complete applications, over the phone. Whether they contract with a company that provides the service or purchase the system for in-house use, many dealers are getting hundreds of qualified leads every month by using hotlines.

But as with any sales tool, these hotlines must be managed correctly to achieve results, say dealers, service providers and manufacturers of the systems. Advertising the hotline is the key, and so is following up on every lead.

Terry Casey, general sales manager of Elite Motors in Marietta, GA, bought a telephone system with a built in credit hotline from InfoServ USA, Inc three months ago.

Just 90 days into its use he is already a staunch advocate. He’s built business by about 10 new sales a month, with a closing rate of 5 percent to 10 percent of the leads the system generates.

So with the 30 cars he’s sold so far, the system has already paid for itself several times over, Casey says.

The nice part of the credit hotline, he adds, is that you can track every lead it generates.

In addition, InfoServ’s model costs much less than others on the market, he says.

Though his system does pre qualify buyers, Casey has his sales force follow up with phone calls before running credit reports. That has helped on two fronts: it guides him to the right bank to match up with the right customer, and it weeds out many of the people who would never qualify for a loan, thereby reducing his credit report expenses.

"It can be costly if you don’t manage it. It’ll run your costs up", he says. But it’s a constant effort keeping the sales force with the program. "You’ve got to stay on the salesmen, following every lead," says Casey. "Some salesmen are lazier than others."



The system Casey bought allows him to customize the application to his needs.

A dealer can tell the system to flush out any caller who answers "yes" to a question about recent bankruptcy, repossession or is under age or unemployed.
Calls also can be terminated if the income level reported falls below a certain threshold.

Because the system employs a database of questions, reprogramming it is easy to do.

InfoServ’s system can be bought or lease-purchased. The system is available direct from InfoServ USA, Inc. or through one of its regional distributors.

There is a demo 1-866-DEMO-LOAN that takes callers through the application process and then faxes a sample report to the designated fax number.