This Month’s Selling Principle:
How many of us have ever had the experience of realizing we’ve got our customer on too much vehicle halfway through the negotiations? It’s happened to us all and if it hasn’t happened to you yet… then you’re overdue.
Sometimes it’s a result of us rushing through the sales process and sometimes it’s simply our client’s dreams exceeding their pocketbooks. Either way, it can be devastating to a sales transaction’s successful conclusion. Here’s one way to avoid it.
Most salespeople wait until the customer says they can’t afford the price or payment to suggest a different model. I understand why some managers and trainers teach it this way, but I think they overlook an important issue. Switching this way creates the most resistance because, in the customer’s eyes, this actually benefits the salesperson more than them. Many take it as the salesperson just trying to make a sale or more money rather than helping them get the car they want. Also, many customers perceive this as the salesperson telling them they can’t afford what they want (which may well be the case) or they simply can’t have it. How many of our customers are resistant to having some car guy tell them what they can or can’t have?
The way my clients have had the most success with switching is by setting it up (just in case) way ahead of time, each and every time. Here’s how:
After determining their needs, and confirming with them that we actually listened to them by paraphrasing back to them what they told us, we could introduce a potential switch like this: “Let me throw you a curve here. If we had a two or three year old ________ (model), full written warranty, and equipped the way you need, that may save you $150, maybe even $300 per month, would you like to see it too?” Whether they tell us yes or no, we still successfully broached the subject of a potential switch early on.
Next, we should employ “step selling”, and this also is something we should get in the habit of doing with virtually everyone. No matter what model they’ve told us they want, we first show them the basic model in that particular model line. Say something like, “I know you’ve told me you want the XLT, and we’ll quickly get to it, I just want to see if there’s a chance to meet your needs, and save you some money, with a less expensive model. Will you allow me to do that for you?”
If they say, NO!, then just take them to the model they asked for, but if they say, OK, continue on by explaining the equipment and price difference of each model in that line. Each time, before moving onto the next higher priced model, we ask them, “Are you sure this, this, and this (additional equipment) is worth the extra $X (price difference) to you?”
By doing this, we stop ourselves from skipping steps or rushing through the sales process and we are already getting our customer to justify to themselves the higher cost of the model they end up choosing. Additionally, if during the negotiations they tell us the price or payment is too high, we can then say with some authority, “You know, I thought the LT (one of the other models we had shown them previously) would work just as well for you and it’s much more reasonably priced in my opinion. Shall we pick one of those out?” Now, we have made it easier for our client to either bump themselves in price or payment, or switch themselves to a less expensive model. The operative words here are “easier” and “themselves”.
Suggesting a model switch in this way, frames the switch in a way that benefits the customer and not necessarily the salesperson. It also encourages the client to offer up less resistance because they are making the decision themselves rather than having some salesperson dictating it to them.
If we have an appointment with a prospect coming in on a pre-loved vehicle, it’s a good idea to have two switch vehicles picked out ahead of time. One would be a switch up (more expensive due to more equipment, higher trim level, fewer miles, newer year, etc.) and the other a switch down (less expensive due to less equipment, lower trim level, more miles, older year, etc.). We should be familiar with both of these, and know exactly where they are located, so that our switch suggestion is quick and seamless should we need it.
Nothing works all of the time and neither will this, of course. However, adopting this practice, which is commonly called “Step Selling”, should prove to be an effective way to execute a model switch should the need arise. Run it by your sales manager and then add it to your toolbox. Today.
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.”
Objection of the Month: “I’m just looking” or “I’m just looking and not buying today.”
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. “Great! That’s the first step of ownership. Let’s look together. Were you interested in a four door or a coupe?”
b. “Great, we encourage that sort of thing around here! Some salespeople get turned off when they hear that but not me! I realize that looking is a necessary part of owning so let’s get to know one another and look together. Were you interested in a previously owned car or something new?”
c. “You’re just looking? Well, we might be related ’cause I’m goofy looking! Nice to meet you! So, what brings you to our store today? “
d. “You know, I love that line. My sweetheart said that to me when we first met. We’ve been married now for seventeen years. To me, that’s the opening line to a wonderful relationship! Now, in order to save you some time, may I ask you a couple of quick questions?”
e. “That’s the reason I’m here! Isn’t the beginning stage of owning something exciting? Let me be a resource to you. You can pick my brain and save lots of time and aggravation. Were you interested in a two door or a four door?”
f. “Let me make sure I’ve got you right. You’re just in the investigation stage right now, just gathering information, and you’re not going to buy today. Is that right? Good, we welcome that here. I know it turns most other salespeople off but not me. You see, we’ve worked hard to create an environment that’s comfortable for customers just like you who want to shop around without feeling pressured or hassled. So, I want you to know, YOU ARE IN COMPLETE CONTROL, okay? And as far as you not buying today, I also want you to know, that you always have the right to change your mind. Fair enough? “ (We need to make sure we say this last sentence with a smile on our face while looking directly in our customer’s eyes.)
g. “May I ask you something? Do you go to the dentist’s office just to read the magazines? I know that’s a silly question but I promise to make your visit here with us a lot more comfortable than your last dentist visit. May I do that for you?”
h. “Glad we got that out of the way because some salespeople will try to force you to buy when you’re not ready…but I’m a professional. I’ll make sure you get all the info you need, so that whenever you are ready, you’ll be able to make an intelligent car buying decision. Sound fair? “
i. “No problem, Sir, today’s not my last day either! So, whenever you are ready, I’ll be here to help you then too. Now, were you looking for a brand new one or a previously loved one?”
j. “Not buying today? Well, Sir, that would be our fault, not yours. Did you have a specific model in mind or are you still trying to figure that out?”
k. “That’s what most people do. What I’ve discovered is that most people just want to find a car they like, get figures on it, and then think about it. Is that what you two had in mind?” (When they tell us ‘yes’, we continue with,) “I’d be happy to help you with that.”
Next month’s objection will be: “We need to think/sleep/pray about it.” We need YOUR input!!! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to [email protected].
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing”.
Refusing To Accept Failure
Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953 he scaled the highest mountain then known to man-29,000 feet straight up. He was knighted for his efforts.
He even made American Express card commercials because of it! However, until we read his book, High Adventure, we don’t understand that Hillary had to grow into this success.
You see, in 1952 he attempted to climb Mount Everest, but failed. A few weeks later a group in England asked him to address its members.
Hillary walked on stage to a thunderous applause. The audience was recognizing an attempt at greatness, but Edmund Hillary saw himself as a failure. He moved away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform.
He made a fist and pointed at a picture of the mountain. He said in a loud voice, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow… but I’m still growing!”
Another great example of refusing to accept failure comes from Sir Winston Churchill.
Sir Winston Churchill took three years getting through eighth grade because he had trouble learning English. It seems ironic that years later Oxford University asked him to address its commencement exercises.
He arrived with his usual props. A cigar, a cane and a top hat accompanied Churchill wherever he went. As Churchill approached the podium, the crowd rose in appreciative applause. With unmatched dignity, he settled the crowd and stood confident before his admirers. Removing the cigar and carefully placing the top hat on the podium, Churchill gazed at his waiting audience. Authority rang in Churchill’s voice as he shouted, “Never give up!”
Several seconds passed before he rose to his toes and repeated: “Never give up!” His words thundered in their ears. There was a deafening silence as Churchill reached for his hat and cigar, steadied himself with his cane and left the platform. His commencement address was finished.
“Everything in the universe has a purpose. Indeed, the invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you.”
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
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“For the last five years I’ve attended these workshops with Michael, and every time I learn something new! Applying these skills have had a profound effect on the quality of my work and income.”
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