Welcome to the MTS Online, Interactive Automotive Sales Super Results course. By merely following the steps outlined below, you will increase your sales, raise your profit margin, sell more cars, and generally make more money at the very minimal expense of your customers.
The first thing you must remember is never to allow the most fundamental truth of the situation enter into the minds of your prospective customers. Certainly, tell them you’re not into pressure sales; tell them you’re only interested in them getting the best car that for their needs; say all this with a smile — but never forget you’re there to sell them a car. Bottom line. Your boss’ bottom line, and therefore your bottom line. The customers’ bottom line is someone else’s problem.
Next, it’s good to try to give the customers a feeling that you actually have more power over the car’s price than you actually do. Never use “we,” as in, “We could take good bit more off the price.” That encourages the obvious question: “If the whole sales staff is in agreement about this, why not just lower the price in the window to begin with?” (The last thing you want is a cheeky customer, so choose your words carefully.) If, however, you say, “I can lower this price,” then it sounds like you’re more than just a cog in someone else’s economic machine, that you and you alone add the personal touches of chatting about your kid and asking about customers’ future family plans. Added all together, this will give the customer the feeling that you’re on his side and that you indeed have the power to looking for the little guy in the Big Bad Car Business.
Third, because we’re selling a large time, we can’t put it in the customer’s hand like a TV salesman can do with a remote, but we want to accomplish the same effect: the thought that _this_ very TV (rather, in our case, ha, ha, ha, a car) could be his! To that end, it is essential that you herd your customers into a “test drive” as soon as possible. But _don’t_ use the term “test drive.” Just tell them you’re going to back the car out for a little better view, then when you get back in the car, tell, sort of off-handedly, as if you’ve just thought of it, “Come on — we’ll go for a quick ride.” Viola — you’ve got them in the car, and they’ll start thinking, “Imagine this is our car!” Drive to some place you can turn around, then jump out and ask, “Who’s driving back?” And there’s your test drive, without even using the words.
The next step is a tricky one, and it’s something that separates the men from the clichés in our business. You have to get them in to see a finance officer who’s also skilled at subtle, sales-encouraging chit-chat. This gets them teetering on the legal brink of actually buying the car, and from here, your job is finished. But the real trick here is to get them into that office _without_ ever asking them if they want to buy the car. Let the customers assume what they will, but if you can implant in their mind that you’re just taking them to get some fiscal ideas, to get some notion of how the payments might fit into their budget, then you never have to ask them if they actually want to buy a car. Why, they’re talking to a finance guy — it’s obvious they want to buy it!
When the salesman delivers customers into your hands, it is a critical transition. It is _imperative_ that you do or say something that will immediately take the customers’ minds from the fact that they’re now dealing with a different person (and more importantly, the significance of that). For this reason, it is absolutely critical that customers not wait in your office alone. They can sit at the showroom salesman’s desk all day long, but any time alone in your office will lead them to thinking thoughts you don’t want them to have.
It is also important to say something personal and reassuring to the customers that also distances yourself from the cruel realities of the automotive sales industry. An example might be:
Before we get started, I just want to make sure you folks understand what motivates me. Do you know why I got out of bed to come to work this morning, every morning? To make people happy by providing them with the perfect car to meet all their needs.
Improvise from there.
The importance of this fact arises from the simple reality that, when the salesman delivers customers into your hands, he may or may not have gotten a verbal agreement to buy. Never mind! Your role is the same, regardless.
If the customer is indeed going to buy the car, your set. Occasionally, though, you might get to this point and hear something like this:
We’re not actually going to buy this car. We didn’t even come here with the intention of buying a car. Rather, we’re just orienting ourselves to the market, because it’s been such a long time since either of us has looked at a car. We were interested in talking to you about the potential cost.
When you hear these words, savor them, because they represent the hardest challenge in your industry: the ten minute turn-around sale. Sure, these people are _saying_ they’re not buying a car, but you can make it seem like there should be a battle raging in their minds as to whether or not to buy it. Some tips:
- Make sure you boil it down for the customers to the real issue: money. Establish that the car they looked at meets their needs. In a perfect situation, you might be able to get them to admit that it’s almost perfect. Then it’s just a matter of highlighting the lower pricing options and you’re home free.
- Once you get them to admit that the car would fit in their lives very well, make it sound like the difficulty is on your side of the table, that perhaps _you_ don’t understand something. After all, you’ve established that they like the car, that it meets their needs, and you’ve shown, by highlighting the lower pricing options, that it fits into their budget (Don’t worry whether it actually does or doesn’t). Once you’ve established all this, you might ask at this point, “What then is holding you back?”
- Shame and embarrassment are always a good sales technique, and this point in the process it might be worthwhile to try to introduce a bit of both. Tell them that you were working under the assumption that they’d decided to buy, with an infection that makes it seem like you could have been doing more important things, like helping other people fulfill their automotive dreams. Make it seem like the earlier salesman could get in a bit of trouble for handing off someone who wasn’t really ready to buy. The shame can be torqued a little by very indirectly suggesting that it was a miscommunication on the customers’ part.
If you’re still meeting resistance at this point, it’s time to bring in the head man himself. He’s the only one than can save the sale now. When you head out the door, make sure you tell the customers something designed to make them think you’re handing the sale off to someone more knowledgeable. Since you’ll never be coming back into the room while these particular customers are there, it’s good to add in a pre-excuse at this point. Here’s an _excellent_ opportunity to use the shame technique again by concluding with something like, “I’m going to go out to the shop and make sure they don’t have the car in detail.”
At this point, you’re likely to be furious. Go ahead — have a cigarette. You’ve just been through a very stressful experience. You deserve it!
When your financial officer comes in to get you, the hope of a sale is diminishing rapidly. It is important to remember this, and not press too hard, lest you cast a hue of desperation on your co-workers’ previous efforts.
Also realize that if you’ve been called in, it means that all possible excuses have been covered except one: the customers were never intending on buying a car that day to begin with. When you realize this, relax. It means your salesman and financial officer have done their jobs and either the customers realized the whole time they were being swindled and simply went with it out of curiosity, or the customers are slow and it just took them a little while to catch on. We know this, because if the customer had been an idiot, you’d already have a car sold.
Addendum: Final Contact
At this point, the customers are probably standing alone in the finance officer’s office, waiting for him or the showroom manager to come back. You of course know that both have exited the drama permanently, but there is still a small ray of hope. Make the most of it. Approach the customers in the office and accompany them to the door. Small chit-chat here constitutes your final chance to make a future sale.
If, however, your clients have half a brain, they will not be back again.