Are You Telling or Selling? 5 Sales Tips and Pitfalls to Avoid

Are You Telling or Selling? 5 Sales Tips and Pitfalls to Avoid

As I look back at the past 15 years of my life in the car business, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed the journey.  The car business has a lot to offer; career opportunity, professional growth, strong network, etc.  The list could go on and on.  However, I still see people struggling, while this opportunity awaits. Therefore I want to highlight 5 sales tips or common pitfalls to avoid, and more importantly, how to overcome them.


You Lead and They Will Follow


It is important to remember that you have information that your client needs to make an informed buying decision. This means that inherently, you have the control in the interaction. For many new sales consultants, it is common for them to feel “out of control”. The customer begins to ask multiple questions, they start walking from car to car, and before long the salesperson is acting like a puppy dog running all over the place without any specific direction or plan. If this is happening, you do not have control of the sale..

The best way to combat this is to establish control early in the interaction. This can be done in multiple ways, but it starts with your meet and greet. After a confident introduction, be sure to ask a few initial qualification questions. As you are talking and letting the client answer, start leading them towards your desk or work area. Ask them to have a seat and you can continue your consultation there. This simple maneuver can help to focus the conversation, allowing for effective communication (sitting face to face has this effect) helping both you and the customer relax.

The main idea is that you begin to provide direction, leading the way to their final destination.  You are the director of the show.  Walk them to where you want them to go and they will follow you. A subtle, yet effective way to establish your role, of advisor.


If You Are Doing Most of the Talking, You Are Doing It Wrong


Who’s talking? You or the customer? If the answer is you, you have a problem. If you find yourself under rapid fire, answering one question after another from your customer, you aren’t getting the chance to hear or listen for insight that will help you close the sale later on. You should be the one asking the questions. These questions can be either close ended or open ended. The difference between the two; a close ended question is an ‘Either-Or’ answer or a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, while an open ended question will allow your client to explain in a longer form (often times can begin with the phrase, “Tell me about”).

The person asking the questions has the control. You need to be asking questions, directing the conversation and gathering the information. The information you are gathering will help you to select a vehicle and trim line, understand expectations, and eventually help close the sale. Remember, listen to what your client is telling you. Don’t just sit and think about how you are going to respond or what you will ask next. In the end, most customers simply want someone to hear their wants and needs and then assist them in selecting the right vehicle.


Stop Thinking for the Customer


Once you understand a little bit about the car business, the incentives that are in place, and get some sales under your belt, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know how your customer will react or what they will think before you even begin.

Many times this issue will manifest itself when you are showing a specific car that you personally do not like. As an example, if you dislike a specific brand or vehicle model for whatever reason, you may unknowingly project that feeling or opinion onto a client who otherwise would have liked the vehicle.

Another way this happens is when you are presenting a price or payment you think is ridiculously high. Your body language and attitude will undoubtedly sabotage any opportunity you have to close the sale. In many cases, your client already knows the payment range or price of the vehicle they’re interested in. Remember, only they know the specific details of their budget. Don’t decide what is too much for them before you make your presentation.


He Who Speaks First, Loses


This is an old adage and some might call it negotiation 101, but  it is still one of the hardest parts of the sales process to master. Silence is uncomfortable, and that 10 or 20 seconds after you present the figures can make or break a deal. You know the feeling, the 10 or 20 seconds that feel like minutes of silence.

For many new salespeople, it is extremely uncomfortable to sit in silence and let the awkward air just hang. The goal is to make your client speak first so that they tip their hand and tell you where they are at in the deal (and hopefully say yes). Anything you say or ask at that point in time is purely speculation, as there is no way to know what they are thinking. They might just be hoping you say something, just so they don’t have to make a decision. In the end, if you can stay quiet and smile confidently, you will close more deals at higher profits than if you open up before your customer does.


Assume the Sale and Follow Your Process


This last tip is a catch all. All dealerships have a general process or flow for how a deal should progress. Whether it be the 7 or 10 steps to the sale, it is important to assume your client is ready to take next steps. They will let you know when there is an issue or an objection, but you should always be moving forward.

Always be ready to move onto the next step of the process.  Your client may state they are short on time, only want to test drive or that they only want numbers. Regardless, always be ready for the next step.  For instance, have numbers ready if your client is test driving. Or if you present numbers, have the credit application ready. It will do one of two things, either bring out the real objection or they will follow your lead and move onto the next phase of the purchase process.

A common mistake many new sales consultants make is to stop the process prematurely. You never know how far you will be able to walk a customer down the path until you try. The best part is that the further you get, even if they don’t close on the spot, the more committed the buyer becomes to wrapping the deal up with you. Always trust that the process is leading you to more deals.

It might even work out that before you know it, you are preparing a spot delivery and you hear the best statement a salesperson can hear; “I didn’t plan on buying today”. And wouldn’t you know, they just did!

If you would like to hear a real life example of someone that uses some of this philosophy in his every day, listen to our podcast episode featuring Kinny Landrum. We also offer a free download for you to keep and refer back to in the future. Click the link for the podcast, follow the instructions on the page and we will email it to you!


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