The Best Be-Back Process: Getting a Be-Back to Be-Back

The three-minute Be-Back process that actually works…

When dealers ask me to help their teams improve their be-back appointment percentage, the first thing I say is “call them.” By that, I mean, “Pick up the damn phone and actually call a be-back for once in your ever-loving life!”

I’m not trying to be a jerk; it’s just that I almost never see salespeople calling be-backs. (For that matter, I never see them calling anyone… but, that’s the topic for another article.) Because no one is calling be-backs today, if you just call, you’re ahead of the game. You don’t need a great script or a even a good process; you just need to pick up the phone and call them. Moreover, according to a 2014 McKinsey Study, car buyers visit just 1.6 physical lots before they buy, so calling today (the day they were here) is pretty important.

Get voicemail? Leave a voicemail. Get a live person? Ask them to come back into the dealership. It’s really not that hard. In other words: Just call; we can figure out what you’re going to say later.

The Best Be-Back Process

There are lots of be-back scenarios, so putting together one “best” be-back process is not realistic. For example, if we know why they didn’t buy, then we just focus our strategy around that reason, right? The process is driven by the knowledge gained during the visit.

So, if someone could not get bought and needed a cosigner, then the be-back process would focus on encouraging/helping them to find one. The talk tracks would center on that and the call frequency would be determined by the last contact made.

That one is clear; that one is easy. (Of course, this scenario still requires your team to PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL.) Where we need to write and maintain a be-back process driven by pre-assigned activities are those instances when prospects do not provide crystal clear reasons why they did not buy.

For example, if they had price objections (which could be simply masking some fear) or if they still want to “shop around,” the real reason they left may not be known to the dealership when making the be-back call. The dilemma facing your sales team is that if you focus on the wrong objection, you will not get them back.

The Be-Back Survey and Follow-Up

The solution that drives be-back appointments in instances where your team doesn’t have a 100% clear reason why they did not buy today is to make your first call a survey call. The survey call is a soft approach that disarms prospects and uncovers the path your team needs to follow to get the be-back to be-back.

The survey call is always made by someone other than the respective salesperson. The idea is to uncover the real best be back processissue and if the salesperson is the issue, then the dealer stands no chance of selling this customer when the only one trying to get them back is the offending salesperson. Assigning this call to someone with a pleasant voice with no “skin in the game” – perhaps a BDC agent specifically assigned to make these calls or a bored receptionist – gives you the best chance of disarming a potentially defensive or even hostile prospect.

The survey call is non-confrontational and takes just a few minutes to complete:

(After we’ve established we’re speaking with the prospect.)

YOUR TEAM: Hi Mr. Jones, this is Mary, the Customer Experience Specialist for Steve’s Toyota. Would it be okay if I asked you a few quick questions about your visit today to help us better serve our customers in the future?


It’s critical to remember that the person on your team making this call only asks questions and takes notes on the prospect’s answers. They never try to do anything to sell the vehicle or even overcome customer objections.

YOUR TEAM: Thank you; I just have five quick questions. First question: on a scale of 1 – 10, Mr. Jones, can you please rate the vehicle you test drove today?

CUSTOMER: (answer)

YOUR TEAM: Thank you. Second question: Mr. Jones, on a scale of 1 – 10, can you please rate how you feel you were treated on this visit by your salesperson Mike?

CUSTOMER: (answer)

YOUR TEAM: Thank you. Third question: If there was one primary reason you chose not to buy, what was that reason?

CUSTOMER: (answer)

YOUR TEAM: Thank you. Fourth question:  On a scale of 1 – 10, please rate your overall experience in shopping with us?

CUSTOMER: (answer)

YOUR TEAM: Thank you. Fifth and final question: What one thing could we have changed about the experience that would have had you rate us a ‘ten’ and make you a proud owner?

CUSTOMER: (answer)

YOUR TEAM: Thank you so much Mr. Jones. I appreciate your time today; have a great weekend!

After the call, the agent gathers the customer’s answers and sends them to the respective sales manager. Based on the responses, the sales manager can either call the prospect directly or can give the prospect back to the salesperson to call. Of course, if the salesperson was the issue, the manager can assign the prospect to another salesperson to call.

The process itself should be robust and relatively short (compared to other processes in the dealership). My clients have had the most success with a Be-Back process that looks something like this:

  • Day 0/1: Survey Call
  • Day 1/2: Survey Follow-Up Call (Manager or Salesperson)
  • Day 2/3: Manager Call (Escalated to a different manager if the Day 1/2 call was already made by a manager)
  • Day 4/5: Salesperson Call
  • Day 5/6: Salesperson Call

The process begins on Day 0 (the day the prospect was on your lot) if the visit ended early in the day and begins on Day 1 (the day after the visit) if the prospect left closer to closing time. Naturally, the Be-Back process stops once your salesperson or manager connects with the customer.

What do they say when they connect? They address the concerns identified in the survey and then ask for the appointment. Simple enough, right? (Of course, none of this is possible if they won’t “Pick up the damn phone and actually call a be-back for once in their ever-loving life!”)

Good selling!