E-NEWSLETTER – September 2012
This Month’s Selling Principle:
Transition From The Lot To Our Office
No customer ever purchases from us without first doing some kind of paperwork. By deciding NOT to write up one of our customers (for any reason), we eliminate any chance of that customer being able to buy from us today. Trying to determine whether or not this customer is a “real buyer”, either by trying to determine out on the lot their desire or their ability to buy today, costs us more money than it ever makes us. With that as a backdrop, here are some suggestions and different ways to help more of our customers get to the write up stage of the transaction.
1) We mustn’t ever ask for a commitment to buy today out on the lot. For starters, they can simply tell us “NO!” and take off running! Actually, virtually every one of our customers will be inclined to tell us “NO!” the first time we ask for their business, as objections are a normal part of their buying process. We need to assume the sale and then ask for a firm commitment to buy only in a controlled area like on the demo or in our office.
2) Always make it to our customer’s advantage to come in. We don’t need to rely on using discount as the only reason to ever come in.
3) Just say: “Follow me!” or “This way!” or “Let’s go!” then turn and walk to our office. This is probably the single most effective way to get our customer there. Also, we should try to avoid announcing why or what we’re going to do next.
4) Or say; “It’s time…to show you just how easy it is to do business here…follow me!” Of course, we’ll need to adjust this to the situation and to what our particular customer has said to us. For example: “It’s time…to see how easy it is to make this dream come true!” or “It’s time…to put this shopping chore behind you and start to enjoy your new car.” This is actually just a cousin to the first strategy and often just as effective.
5) Summarize the buying criteria & how our vehicle fits our customer’s needs. Then we say: “Looks like we’ve found the perfect car for you! Let’s go inside and start the agreement and while we’re doing that let me get you something to drink, would you like coffee or something cold to drink?” This is a very effective way to get our customer in our office because if they say, “Coffee please!”, they’ve agreed to at least come inside.
6) Use our customer’s previous questions or objections if necessary. For example: “Didn’t you ask what your trade would be worth? Well, let’s go find out, follow me.” or “Let’s go see what your payments are going to be, follow me.” etc.
7) If our customer says they’re not ready to buy today, we need to ask “Why?” or “What makes you say that?” But be very careful here! We mustn’t be perceived as being pushy or defensive. Then we need to restate their reason and intention of not buying today and make the transition to the office to our customer’s advantage.
Shop Other Cars
a. “You want to see another car? What other car?” Let them respond. Then tell them, “Good news! You can’t make a bad decision! Both the Honda Accord and our Nissan Altima are excellent cars that’ll give you many years of good service. I know you weren’t expecting to do business today, and that’s okay. Still, let’s go inside and put together some figures. That way you can make an intelligent decision. Fair enough? Follow me!”
b. “You feel you need to shop other cars first. Just to clarify my thinking, what were you hoping to find in another car that you’re not getting in this one?”
c. “I know you feel the need to shop some more. Ours is equipped the way you’d like it though, right?” Let them respond. Then ask, “And there isn’t any problem with the dealership, is there?” Again, let them respond. Then we ask, “You like me and the service I’ve provided you so far, don’t you?” When they say they do, we ask, “Have you ever lost your keys?” (or TV remote) “Remember what that was like? You were in your living room, looking under the sofa, looking under pillows, searching in drawers, remember how that felt? Not much fun, was it? Then you finally found them. Remember how relieved you felt? Let me ask you something, once you find them, do you keep looking? What are we doing here? C’mon follow me and let me show you how easy it is to do business with us.”
I don’t want to do that back and forth, back and forth stuff!
a. “Don’t you hate that? Me too! Whenever I’m forced to negotiate that way I always feel like a clown in a circus! If I end up doing that, you have my permission to reach out and squeak my big red nose! Then if they offer us $10,000 off we simply ask, “Should I start making the balloon animals now?”
b. “The only time I end up having to do the back and forth stuff is when I’m helping a customer who’s totally unrealistic. Now, although you don’t want us to make a killing, you do expect us to make a little profit, right? See, you’re realistic…we won’t have to go through all that. C’mon, follow me.”
This is the first place we’ve shopped.
a. “That’s interesting. What made you come here first?” After we encourage them to list out all of their reasons for shopping us first, we say, “Those sound like good reasons to do business with a particular dealership. Let’s put this shopping chore behind you, shall we?”
b. “It’s equipped the way you’d like it, right?” Let them respond. Then ask, “And there isn’t any problem with the dealership, is there?” Again, let them respond. Then we ask, “You like me and the service I’ve provided you so far, don’t you?” When they say they do, we state, “The hard part of our job is done. My job now, is simply to make it easy for you to take action, on a decision you’ve already made. Follow me.”
c. “Really?! The first place?!! Check this out…at the first place you shopped you found the car equipped just the way you wanted it, in a color you didn’t think you’d be able to find, at the dealership that’s conveniently located to your office, a sales person who takes their job seriously and will continue to provide you support with your driving needs and I’m confident we can fit it into your budget too! Just think of all the time and hassle you’ve just saved yourself! Are you always this lucky?” Whether they respond with a “Yeah” or a “Not really”, we smile and say, “Well then, follow me!”
d. “Isn’t it funny how our first instincts usually turn out to be the best? Let’s wrap this thing up so you can start to enjoy your new car.”
8) We can use this 1 to 10 scale close instead of the sometimes obnoxious “If I could…would you…” It works like this, we ask: “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 meaning you love the car and are ready to own it right now and 1 meaning you hate the car and wouldn’t take it even if we gave it to you, where would you say you are right now?” When our customer gives us a number we simply reply: “What would we have to do to make it a 10?” Then after they tell us, we simply reply: “Well let’s find out! Follow me!”
9) We can use an updated version of “If I could…would you?” that is much harder to say “No” to. It works like this, we ask: “If I could share with you three compelling reasons to do business with us, would you agree to at least keep an open mind?” When they tell us, ”Sure”, we simply say, “Follow me!” If they do tell us “No” we can say, “I’ve heard that our minds are very much like parachutes. They work best when they are open.” Pause, smile, and then continue with, “C’mon, let me show you how easy it is to do business here. Walk this way, please.”
10) Even the dated “If I could…would you…” is better than not asking for the business at all! Okay, let’s all say it together, shall we? “Mr Customer, if I could work out the numbers that are agreeable to you, would I be able to earn your business today?”
Let me bottom line this for us, our job is to make it easy for our customer to say “yes” and hard to say “no”.
When we try to get a today commitment out on the lot by asking the very tired “If I could work out the numbers that are agreeable to you, would I be able to earn your business today?”, we almost always force them to say “No” and we make it pretty hard for them to say “Yes”. Now, I’m not saying that doing it that way never works, it still does work. But do you think they may have heard that line somewhere else before? If it didn’t work for the other guy, what makes us think it’s going to work for us? And it really only does work after the customer has heard it several other places first and realizes that this is simply as skilled as most cars guys ever get. After a while, the customer just wants to be put out of their misery.
My guess is that if you’re reading this article, chances are you don’t want to be just another typical car salesman or saleswoman. What you have at your disposal now are what many other sales people across the country use to make themselves stand above the crowd in their niche and to make it to their customer’s advantage to get to the write up stage. My suggestion to you is to make these strategies a part of your skill sets as soon as possible.
Until the next time, be well, do good work, and keep in touch!
Michael D. Hargrove
“Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.”
Objection of the month: “I’ve got you beat.” or “I got a better deal somewhere else.”
These are just a few of the most common strategies shared at the workshops we’ve conducted all across North America and attended by thousands of the top sales people in our field. Please keep in mind that nothing works all the time, and no one thing will work for everybody. Each of these strategies, of course, need to be tailored to the individual user, to the specific customer, and the particular situation. Also, this is by no means the definitive work on overcoming this particular objection and it’s not intended to be.
a. “I’m sure there’s someone in this city who thinks less of their product, their dealership, the service they provide, or themselves as a salesperson, that would cut their price a little below ours. The true test of a good deal, however, is time. You won’t be sure you got the best deal until long after the price is forgotten.”
b. “I feel that we have the best dealership, the best product and the best people anywhere. Price is important of course, but there’s a lot more that goes into a good deal than price. You’ll get the best of everything right here. Now did you want it registered in your name or the business name?”
c. “Ms. Customer, you understand advertising don’t you? I don’t doubt you may have seen one, stripped down, advertised special in the paper sometime. It may not have been the color you wanted and it certainly wouldn’t have had the equipment this one does, the equipment you said is so important to you. Besides, these advertised strippies sell a lot faster than most people are willing to move. Chances are that it was gone long before you could have even got there. Now that we’ve found the right car specifically for your wants and needs, Ms. Customer, let’s work this one as close as we can to the budget you had in mind.”
d. “I was hoping you’d bring that up.” (That statement will usually peak their attention. We continue,) “Whenever anyone decides to open a business, they have a fundamental business decision to make. They must decide, ‘Am I going to do as much as I possibly can for all of my customers or am I going to do as little as I can get away with?’ And once they make that decision, it will permeate their entire organization, isn’t that true?” (By stopping to ask this question, we not only get our customer’s buy-in to this premise, but we also engage them in the discussion. So we continue,) “By the way, why do you think someone would decide to do as little as they could get away with?” (Same principle applies here, we now have our customer engaged. We sometimes may have to help them with this answer.) “Maybe to control operating expenses? So maybe they could undersell the competition a bit?” (When our customer agrees, we continue,) “Well, both are sound business strategies and both are used here in the (name your city) market. We’ve decided to do the former: both represent an excellent product AND provide outstanding service. Now, I know that sometimes we need to be flexible, so YOU tell me Mr. Customer, what would YOU rather us do for you … as much as we possibly can or as little as we can get away with?”
(If they pick “as much as we possibly can”, we congratulate them on an excellent decision and explain what they’ve decided to get for themselves by sharing with them our store’s competitive advantages. The beauty of this technique is that they’ve actually bought the “spiel” before we even present it!)
(If they pick “as little as we can get away with” and state, “I just want the best price!”, we respond with,) “Very well, Mr. Customer. In that case, I’m going to need a little help from you. Here’s what we normally offer all of our customers…” (and we list out all of our competitive advantages by writing them down. After we’ve listed them all down, we turn the paper around, facing the customer, and we say,) “Now, Mr. Customer, which of these services are you willing to exclude yourself from?” (Again, they get to hear the whole “spiel” because they’re going to have to “help us” with it. And it’s really hard for someone to exclude themselves from services they’ll want to take advantage of later on. Now they’ve justified paying us a bit more.)
e. “Great! Just give me the signed purchase order you got from them and I’ll show it to the manager. If it’s legit, we’ll work on getting as close to it as we can.”
f. “Mr. Customer, you’ve bought cars before and I think you’re intelligent enough to know that no businessman would discount his hottest product that much. It’s a shame that there still are people in my business that would send good folks like you on a wild goose chase with totally unrealistic figures just to come back and hear that they had made a mistake or that it didn’t include all the equipment you really wanted or some other B.S. Fortunately, that practice is becoming more and more rare. I’m sorry you folks had to be treated that way. Maybe we can get the manager to be a little more flexible though. Let’s see if she’ll throw-in a car cover or carpeted floor mats, which would you prefer?”
g. If they start to tell us what the other dealership said they’d do, stop them and say,) “No! Don’t tell me. It wouldn’t be fair for me to know. First let me present you with our figures and if those aren’t good enough, then you can tell me what the others guys are willing to do. Fair enough?” (This keeps us from chasing unrealistic figures and again lets our customer know we are confident about our numbers, easy to do business with, and are looking out for their best interests.)
Next month’s objection will be: “Just give me your best price.” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story goes that sometime, close to a battlefield over 200 years ago, a man in civilian clothes rode past a small group of exhausted battle-weary soldiers digging an obviously important defensive position. The section leader, making no effort to help, was shouting orders, threatening punishment if the work was not completed within the hour.
“Why are you are not helping?” asked the stranger on horseback.
“I am in charge. The men do as I tell them,” said the section leader, adding, “Help them yourself if you feel strongly about it.”
To the section leader’s surprise the stranger dismounted and helped the men until the job was finished.
Before leaving the stranger congratulated the men for their work, and approached the puzzled section leader.
“You should notify top command next time your rank prevents you from supporting your men – and I will provide a more permanent solution,” said the stranger.
Up close, the section leader now recognized General Washington, and also the lesson he’d just been taught.
It is said that when filming the biblical epic The Greatest Story Ever Told, the director George Stevens was trying to encourage extra passion from John Wayne when delivering the highly significant line, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”
“We need a bit more from you on this line. You are talking about Jesus – think about it,” said Stevens, “You’ve got to say it with awe.” Wayne nodded in acknowledgement.
For the next take John Wayne duly summoned his most intense feelings. He paused dramatically, and said:
“Aw, truly this was the Son of God.”
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”
Upcoming Public Events:
Retail Automobile Sales: The Professional’s One Day Workshop
“Michael’s workshop is a profound insight into the psychology and behavior of sales. This was incredibly useful not only in determining what works but how and why it works.”
Duke Kimball, Sales Consultant – Ron Tonkin Chevrolet
“This is my second time around and I enjoy it each time. I love the interaction and to know that you have someone to help you throughout the year and not just a day. Money well spent!”
Ammie Jose, Internet Sales – Courtesy Ford
“This is the best workshop I’ve attended in eleven years. This contains all real stuff and no smoke.”
Jeremy Kumm – Acura of Portland
Date(s): October 9th & 10th, 2012
Location: Shilo Inn Airport Hotel
11707 NW Airport Way
Portland, OR 97220
Date(s): Dec. 4th & 5th, 2012
Location: Holiday Inn and Suites Phoenix Airport
1515 North 44th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85008
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