Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
Small things can make a big difference in your sales process. There has been a lot written recently about what I term the “moment of truth” in the sales process. I don’t believe that a sale usually occurs because of one “big bang moment.” Usually, a sale occurs because of a series of very small and simple things that add up to being the difference maker.
If you are looking for 50 closes to take your sales to the next level, you are missing the boat. When you are talking about adding 50 closes to your sales arsenal, you are looking for the “big bang moment” and are concentrating on risk reversal rather than risk aversion. When a customer feels too much fear, you have to use closes or objection handling. Although these are good things to have in your repertoire, you are better served to concentrate on the psychological and emotional road to the sale, rather than the steps to the road to the sale. By gradually addressing their fears as you move along in the sale process, you create risk aversion, which is much easier to do than risk reversal.
1. Lower your customer’s fear at the greeting. Whether you are greeting customers online or offline, you can lower their apprehensions from the beginning to create a different environment and set the tone for the culture of your business and the way you operate. If you are greeting customers on your lot, use the following greeting: “Hi, folks — are you out beginning to look and shop around today?” A typical response from your customers to a standard greeting is, “We’re just looking.” The above greeting removes that awkward response and tells them proactively that it is OK to look and shop.
Stay in a social zone of about three to five feet from the customer, instead of getting into their personal space too quickly. If possible, wait to exchange names and handshakes. In the typical greeting, a salesperson forgets the customer’s name immediately. Wait until you see sign of comfort from a customer such as a smile, moving closer to you, direct eye contact, etc. — then offer a greeting. Use a powerful form of persuasion, such as reciprocation/obligation in your greeting. When you feel the customer is comfortable, say “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude, I didn’t get your name and I don’t think I gave you my name.” Apologize to every customer you meet in the first five minutes and you will create a sense of reciprocation/ obligation and make and impression of you being a person rather than a salesperson.
If you are greeting customers online, then you must also remove barriers of fear. You can do this by being more personable and using better tools to connect and create value. Try using video e-mail tools such as “Eyejot.” Direct customers to your YouTube channel for free special reports, video walk-around presentations of vehicles and a series of customer testimonials.
2. Utilize commitment and consistency as a form of subtle persuasion to remove fear of risk. Ask small questions that will create small commitments to the customer’s involvement to the process. Small questions do not create fear and eventually lead to comfort in asking bigger questions. Stop asking “deal killer” questions, such as “What payment are you looking for?” or “What do you want for your trade?” These questions create fear and move the customer to their head and out of their heart. People tend to buy when emotions mix with logic. Move smartly and slowly while using the concept of “TLC” – think like a customer. Ask questions such as “What is the most important thing to you in a new vehicle?” or “What do you like most about your current vehicle?” These questions will give you the customer’s keyword descriptions of what matters most and the customer previous buying patterns.
3. Be Contrarian — Do the opposite of what other salespeople do. Instead of selecting and then presenting and demonstrating the new vehicle first, go their present vehicle first. Home, work and vehicle are comfort zones where a customer spends most of their time. They are bringing their vehicle to you, so use it up front. “Mr. Customer, I would like to walk over to your vehicle for a moment for two reasons. First, I want to jot down all the information and descriptions so that later on we will have that for the market evaluation and that will save you time. Also, as we are doing that, I would also like to ask you a couple of questions about what you like or don’t like about the vehicle, and what has changed for you since you bought the vehicle to now. Usually, while we are doing this, I think of ways that can save you money.” Anchor into the customer’s brain that you are saving them time and money.
4. Do an effective demo drive. If you have ever rented a vehicle, you know it takes you quite a while and several miles to get comfortable. Knowing this, why are you taking one- or two-mile test drives? Take 15- to 20-mile test drives. Allow the customer to get comfortable with the vehicle and truly experience the vehicle on the drive. During this elongated process, customers will get emotional and begin to combine heart with mind. They will begin to take mental and emotional ownership. Your customers will also “spill the beans.” They will tell you everything you need that will allow them to buy.
5. Give the customer all the ways they can purchase. Make sure to “walk the wheel” of opportunities. Give customers full disclosure of price, trade values and three options for down payments/payments. Allow the customers to decide what is most important. Most customers are budget buyers and need more than one option to make a less fearful decision. Utilize the “power of three.” Three choices are perfect. One is “take it or leave it.” Two is “either/or,” but three is “true choice.” More than three is confusing and scary.
To sell more vehicles, don’t look for “magic bullets” — just do the work. Work intelligently, be unique and TLC – think like a customer.