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Dealers, GM'S, GSM's, and Sales Managers are the culprits in stopping the improvement of the current, aging methods of selling (i.e. "10-step", "Four Square", "13 Step", etc...).


Heck...we may as well throw in most sales trainers into that bunch, too! They're still training how to overcome objections caused by their own methods!


Interestingly, Salespeople (the 10,000+ I talk to) already recognize a need to offer clients something a heckuva lot better than the status quo ...they just don't know WHO to ask without getting the same 'ol - same 'ol! (Is that how you spell that?).


Let's take a closer look at the problem...


Most sales methods start with an introduction and then immediately downshift into "Qualifying", or "Fact Finding", or whatever the term of the day is.  This "Qualifying" is defined as finding out the wants and needs of the customer by asking, "What do you want?  What do you need?"


Sounds clever enough.  But there is a foul smelling chunk of brown stuff in the tread of this tire ...the client is wrong over 80% of the time (My stats have it at 82%) about what they think they want and need (and can afford).  So they choose something else.


So why do we force our salespeople to NOT ONLY ask the ridiculous "What do you want? What do you need?" questions, but then allow them to continue riding down this "client-leading" road for the next 1-2 hours. Especially when the client is wrong nearly every time! 


The unfortunate ending? Low grosses, low penetration levels, extended finance terms, and/or the client hauling-ass out of the showroom with one finger in the air.  There go the referrals and your on-line reputation is cooked.


Is there a better way?  Heck yes!  I've used it and trained it for many years.  But you see, the problem isn't "How" to do it better, the problem is that Dealers, GM's, GSM's, and Sales Managers don't ask "Why" they should alter the stale and wrinkled methods that were around in the "good 'ol days".


If you refuse to open your thinking, then you can continue to tell your salespeople they've got it wrong and get them to commit MORE TIME to re-learning the old methods (if you think it's their fault) until they can no longer pay their bills making $32K per year ...or You can commit to altering the old school methods to MODERN METHODS of selling that have been proven to work in today's market by PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOLD IN TODAY'S MARKET and made a GREAT CAREER DOING SO!


Final hint:  If your sales trainer hasn't sold cars for a living over the past 5 years, you need a new trainer!  Unfortunately, most "Guru" trainers haven't sold cars in 10, 20, or 30+ years.  Go figure.

Tags: auto, car, closing, deals, grosses, low, management, sales, techniques, tips, More…training

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Replies to This ADM Discussion

Sorry to offend you James.  I'm not certain where I was "selling" anything in my post, rather than triggering a conversation about dealers hanging on to old selling methods too long...

...but I certainly understand why you now feel on the defensive. That's likely my fault.


I've actually given away over 15,000 sets of training for free over the past 6 years, as I've spent spent the past 20+ years in the guts of selling cars while being a car dealer (still am, too!).


I'm sorry that whatever I wrote triggered your anger. I did, however, immediately post the details of a methodology you can use right away if you need the help (which you might not).


It's posted in the reply to your initial response.


I haven't heard back from you regarding this methodology (and there are plenty of others besides the one I posted for you) ...although there's no obligation for you to write anything that supports the thread subject, especially if you totally disagree with its premise that dealers hang on to old selling methods too long.


Are you a dealer? 

No problem.  I understand the need to bolster products I understand that.  Your original post seemed more of a teaser to buy your training that is all.  I will check out the methods you posted.  I am an internet manager at small dealership.  It has been a bit busy.  I will check it out and hopefully gain some knowledge from it. 

James, Please change your photo!  Those sunglasses do nothing to add to your creditability.  Do you wear them when you're working? 

Wow really.  So whatever I have to say means less because of my photo.  Geez.  I don't wear them while I am working.   Can I show you my W2 to gain some credibility with you?  Or how about this can I give you a complete list of everyone I sold since I wear sunglasses apparently renders my credibility worthless.  come on


Just a suggestion.  Please don't get "tight jaws" about it.  No, your W2 wouldn't improve your creditability with me.  Why would you think it would?  If you note my "longer" comment, I was agreeing with you in your response to this blog. I noticed your photo and was wondering why you'd wear sunglasses?  I often do, but not in a photo that places my image in front of a large group of fellow ADM members that I respect, and that definitely includes you.   

Hey Tom, While I much appreciate your time and interest in telling us about your "modern methods" of selling, I'm inclined to agree with James Jarrett, Bill Lovell and "Derek."  Even after reading your “Four main phases” response, I’m still confused enough to wonder "Where's the beef"?  Ralph and Matthew Smolik give you rousing endorsements, as they evidently know what you've discovered, but those who don't know (like me) can't say much either way.

Of note, your criticism about "Dealers, GMs, GSMs, and Sales Managers are the culprits...." sounds like you're setting yourself up for a tough sale.  Frankly, I'd never make such a negative "blanket" statement about those I hope to sell, especially in a forum like this.  There's a big difference between a "culprit" and someone who "doesn’t understand."  I think you're missing the point of an effective ADM blog.  It's to share as much information as possible about what you do, written in a manner your readers EASILY comprehend, so they can actually help you sell it, if the opportunity presents itself.

Why is it so important to make it sound so "revolutionary"?  I'm not a big believer in the "Then and Now" of selling methods.  People haven't changed, and the "old method," if there is such a thing, can only be discredited if it's done poorly.  Correctly done, millions of reps of everything imaginable have successfully employed it to make great livings. I've got to comment on the "foul smelling chunk of brown stuff” referring to how wrong the customer is.  Man, do you sound frustrated!  Personally, I believe the customer is always right and go from there.  Are they?  Of course not.  But, it’s a great place to start.

What’s this “PEB”?  Another new Acronym?  I couldn’t find it on Acronym Finder, nor could I find “ECM” or “ICM.”  IT has added a vast array of new acronyms, and they can be effectively used marketing new IT solutions because most dealers really don’t know much about it, but with something as fundamental as the actual selling process, which dealers do understand, you’d be well-served to simplify what you’ve got.  Many of the people you are trying to sell earned their positions successfully using the “old methods,” and getting them to change, I’d think, is going to be a Herculean task.

Please don’t be offended by my comments.  I’m sincerely trying to understand what you’re getting at.  I’d like to, in the same amount of time that most dealers will give you to explain it.

Kudos for taking the time and thought to write this, Brian!


Just to clear things up, there's been an assumption made (not necessarily from you) that this discussion was written for me to sell something ("...setting myself up for a tough sale", as you said).  That's not correct.  Although I do a VERY limited amount of private consulting (full disclosure), I am a car dealer first and foremost.


Now I don't wish to make a wrong assumption myself, Brian.  I've been a car dealer for 20+ years and have helped over 16,000 salespeople, sales managers, GSM's, etc...(for free) improve their selling skills.  RARELY have I found in our proud community of dealers and salespeople that we are people who are overly sensitive to criticism.


Frankly, being in 3 different (and ever-changing) 20 groups over the past 20 years has brought me my share of some pretty vulgar butt-kicken ...and well-deserved in most cases.


And even more, as car salespeople and sales managers we take some serious abuse from clients, too!  Unfortunately, we haven't all learned "Why" we should accept this abuse, and then move on to "How" we can manage these perceptions (and sometimes outbursts) with ease!


So, if using the word culprit offended any dealer or sales manager, I apologize.  The fact is, I have been the "Culprit" in 1000's of bonehead decisions and likely will be 1000 times more, yet have never been offended when "called out" by one of my bretheren.


As for my time in selling, I have found MASSIVE changes, not in people (I'm confident that I didn't say people have changed), but certainly in the way they gather information and in their perceived value of car salespeople.


This perception demands that we adapt to better selling and marketing methodologies, especially as our industry's front end gross numbers have fallen dramatically over the past 10 years, while our breadth of marketing has expanded 3x.


As for the simplification of the selling methodology, you're spot-on.  To have everyone "get it" in a matter of a few social site paragraphs is a stretch.


The simplest way to put it...


We must first understand the problems that exist for the client and then measure the trust given to us by the client prior to offering viable solutions for those problems ...and even further allow each client to make their own purchase decision without ANY explicit convincing brought forth by salespeople and sales managers, while offering them problem/solution opportunities that they see and feel are applicable to their conditions for buying.


Thanks again for the well-thought-out note!





Honestly, looks like the 10 steps (tried and true in ALL kinds of sales and industries), compressed into four segments. Actually, any system / diet / self help program that people will stick to can make someone successful if they are diligent and consistent. Some people may succeed or fail with your system as with any other depending on their commitment.

This article seems more negative, and even insulting of many of the professionals on this website. Nothing wrong with presenting new ideas, but at the end of the day, skill with people is as important as 'selling skills' - reading body language, reflective listening, looking for a win-win.

Good points, Tom! 


As a car salesman, manager, and car dealer for the past 20+ years (and still selling in the trenches), I believe my community of fellow car salespeople, managers, and dealers have little problem hearing it straight from their own kind ~ and I've been known to get my hind-end kicked on PLENTY of occasions from them, too!


I imagine you've sold cars for a living, Tom.  Not sure if you still sell cars today, but I can tell you that the 4 phases (steps or whatever) method I mentioned in the discussion is not that of the 10 step.  Pieces are similar as we still deal in "cars" and "people", but there's quite a distance between the two (I've used them ALL throughout my career).


I whole-heartedly agree, though, that "skill (and talent) with people" is a list topper!  In order to maximize gross and penetration, though, we need a better map to find our way to these destinations/results, not just our way to a "sale".


By the way, CHAT is very much a platform for selling, right?  If there was a better map for creating higher penetration (conversion) ratios, would you at least consider looking at it?


If you said "yes" or at least a "probably", even at the time you created CarChat24, then you already took the step in trying to improve the "managed conversation" that is CHAT!


That's the essence of this discussion from my side, the dealer's side, in adapting to a more modern method (whatever method each of us selects) of selling through managed conversation that yields greater penetration and gross results.


If you care for any more insight, I posted a long one on Brian Bennington's reply.


Great Stuff!





Whatever method provides a 10% gross profit per transaction and allows me to penetrate my market, is what I want to do.  Fact is, if we let a hard bargainer get away with a $2K deal and we need to average $3k, the next buyer has to pay $4K to maintain the average.  Trying to charge everyone the same margin doesn't work. 

There are people still killing it using 4-Square.  But 4-Square doesn't come in a single form.  Some people are quite artful about it. 

There seems to be a movement AGAINST making gross profit when you can, like its somehow immoral. 

RE: "Why the Dealership Selling Method is the LAST thing to change!"

The quick answer might be:  Whatever method we used last year when we sold about 56 million vehicles.  Perhaps an itemization and definition of "old school methods" and "modern methods" might be in order.  It appears that providing the consumer a price, a down payment, and trade in allowance, and a payment is frowned upon as an old school method? 

???  I can't tell if you're suggesting providing those 4 things comprises a "selling method", or what?  If so, that devalues the importance (and talents...and skills) of car salespeople throughout the entirety of a transaction (from the 1st point of contact/relationship building).

Your previous comment is ABSOLUTELY TRUE that some people are "killing it" with 4-square.  You further provided a footnote that some people are quite "artful" about it.  I agree with that, too.

By "artful", I suppose you're referring to those who create their own un-written methodologies from their singular talents of charm, wisdom, experience, creativity, language, education, and character.

Guys like this are miraculous and awesome "standout" power players like Manny (60 cars per month ...HOLY COW!!!!)

Unfortunately, you can't put the "artful" ways of Manny in a Jar and pass it out to a line-up of car selling newcomers where they ALSO produce 60 vehicle per month.  Just like you can't put Eddie Van Halen on video and expect the novice or intermediate guitar player to perform micro-second finger-tapping ...or want-to-be artists becoming Picasso, or Baryshnikov, or Carlos Kleiber, or Scorcese, etc...

Modern methods of selling go beyond the final moments of the transaction, David.  They involve the education regarding today's client and how/he she thinks about, feels about, and uses regional and national influences through the use of multi-faceted communication platforms, educational movements, headline opinions, and multi-generational "character" and "loyalty" belief systems....WHILE in the midst of making their decisions.

Modern Sales Training involves taking this educational model and offering it in "methods" simple enough for the newcomer to understand AND execute in order to generate RELATIONSHIPS in our fast-changing markets, and then transition those relationships into high penetrating and high grossing transactions.

We dealers would love to have a line-up of guys like Manny...but in whole, we don't.

Are you a car dealer?  or are you a car salesman? (I'm both) If not, making a living as a car salesperson over the past 6 years has brought with it a large number of unfamiliar challenges that did not exist in the previous 15 years. 

This is yet another discussion to help dealers and car salespeople ignite ideas, systems, and methods that will secure our future. If you're like me and in car sales and/or are a dealer, you know the importance of this...and we  need to improve our selling methods for now AND for the next 20 years. 


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