by Mark Tewart
I have read many books and attended many seminars on the subject of “closing the sale.” Most of the solutions for closing the sale that I have gotten from those sources, deal with a magic phrase or argument that will convince the customer that the salesperson is right and the customer should do business now. After spending most of my adult life in sales, I have come to the conclusion that closing the sale is rarely a magic phrase or argument that changes a persons mind, as much as it is a series of things or events that allows a customer to become comfortable enough to make a decision to buy.
A customer will move through three stages before making a purchase,
- Character stage
- Emotional Stage
- Logical stage.
The first two stages must be satisfactory before a customer can get to the logical decision stage. A customer must feel comfortable with the salesperson, dealership and surroundings first. The character stage can include artifacts like dress or cleanliness, accessibility and atmosphere of a dealership. Once trust and rapport has been established the customer next has to get emotional about the product and the advantages and benefits of owning the product. If the customer likes a salesperson and has comfortably made a decision about their character and then also has gotten emotional about the product, the customer is now ready to close through logical thinking. Salespeople should remember two things before attempting to close; 1) If people want to do business with one another, details will not stand in the way 2) Emotions distort reality. Those two thoughts remind salespeople of how important it is for the customer to have stages one and two satisfied before ever attempting to move to stage three. Many sales are lost by moving too quickly to the close without having satisfied pre-close conditions. The salesperson will know when to move to the closing stage by observing and listening to the customer. The customer may ask questions such as “What would my payments be”, “What is the warranty”, “What are your interest rates”, “How long would it take to get this in red” etc. A salesperson usually can guide a customer to the logic stage at the end of the demo drive by asking logical questions. The end of the demo drive is the peak emotional time in the buying process and is a great time to ease the customer to a logical decision. Examples of those questions would be: “Other than money, is there anything that would keep you from owning this vehicle?” “Is there anything you would like to add, change or correct about this vehicle before we get the figures on it?” After setting the stage gracefully by asking those questions, you can now ask the easiest close question there is, “Do you want it?”, If the salesperson has a smile on their face and asks this question in a nice manner, the results will surprise you. Keep it simple and don’t make the process difficult for the customer.
Once a proposal has been shown to the customer, the customer moves from right brained emotional thinking to left brain logical thinking. A salesperson will have to combine logic and emotion in handling objections successfully.
When a customer says no to a proposal, there are several logic questions to help move the customer to close:
- “Let me ask you a hypothetical, fun question, What if the vehicle were free, would you own it? If money were not an issue you said you would own it. Mr. customer if you consider the reduced maintenance expenses, gas savings and resale value, it’s not free but it’s a great value.”
- “Where do you go from here if you don’t buy today?”
- “Where do you see yourself 30 days from now if you don’t buy?”
- “If you were to buy in the future, what conditions would have to be met?”
- “What is the most important consideration in buying for you?”
- “Is it the money, me, machine or time?”
- “What would be your dream deal or ideal situation?”
- “When you bought your last vehicle, what was the main thing that caused you buy that vehicle?”
- “If you had a guarantee, would that make a difference and what would that guarantee look like to you?”
- “If you could propose one thing to lower your risk and enable you to make a decision, what would that be?”
I believe that closing is more of letting the customer buy than selling them. TLC – Think Like A Customer. Listening, rather than talking 80% of the time will enable any salesperson to close at a much higher percentage. There aren’t any shortcuts, magical phrases or or words to close a customer. Closing is a process of perceptions, feelings and events that all come together successfully, and if a dealerships sales force are more aware of this process, then more sales will be made.
© Copyright 1999 Tewart Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Mark Tewart is the President of Tewart Enterprises Inc., a training and consulting company and is also a partner and National Marketing Director for Symeron LLC, an automotive computer company. Mark is a keynote speaker and has had top ranked programs on ASTN (Automotive Satellite Training Network) and is a featured article writer for Dealer Magazine, Wards Dealer Magazine and JustSell.Com as well as being a contributing author to a book titled, GenderSell – Selling To The Opposite Sex. Mark also provides sales and management seminars internationally.
You can contact Mark at:
Mark Tewart, President
Tewart Enterprises Inc.
1999 Kirby Rd. #100
Lebanon, OH. 45036
FAX 513 934-4588