This Month’s Selling Principle:
The Two Things We Must Do to Get Anything in Business We Want
What are the two things we must do to get anything in business (or life, for that matter) that we may want?
The first one is easy and we all know it. In order to get the sale we must first…? ASK FOR IT! Ask, ask, ask ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, ask, and when all that fails…ask again! In order to G…E…T, we must A…S…K! How we get ourselves to remember this simple fact is unimportant. Remembering it, and acting on it, is what’s key.
The average retail car customer has to object or tell us “No” somewhere between four to seven times before they’re psychologically even in a position to say “Yes”. If they must tell us “No” four to seven times, how many times must we ask them for the sale? Well, friends, that would be five to eight.
The problem in the car business is that the average customer has to go to three or four stores before they are ever collectively asked to do business five to eight times! The average car dude (or dudette) knows only two closes and tends to use the same one over and over again. The average sales manager knows only four closes (four separate and distinct closing strategies) and most tend to use the same one their salespeople use.
What’s the favorite close in the car business? Some form of; “If I could work out the numbers and give you enough for that sled you pulled up in, would you be ready to do business today?”
Now, “If I could…would you?” is still better than not asking at all but what is inherently wrong with using this technique? First, don’t we run the risk of sounding like every other car jerk (customer’s term for an unskilled salesman or woman) they’ve ever dealt with? Is that good luck or bad luck? Also, doesn’t that technique imply a discount? Isn’t it hard enough to retain gross profit as it is? And if this is the only way we know how to ask, and we do end up asking them five to eight times, isn’t it impossible to sound like a hammerhead? (Hammerhead is a term describing an antiquated, out of touch, high pressure, sales person.) Maybe this strategy is best left for the end of the negotiations, if ever used at all.
For other ways to ask, please take the time to digest these few articles on closing:
41 Simple Closing Questions or Statements
The “Dirty Dozen” Closes (part one)
The “Dirty Dozen” Closes (part two)
Closing the Sale
“Post Close” Closings (How to Screw Up After They Say Yes)
But isn’t it true that sometimes asking just isn’t enough? And when asking isn’t enough, we need to take action…sometimes massive action. We need to DO SOMETHING different. Maybe it’s re-demoing the car, maybe it’s getting a new person involved, maybe it’s taking the car away, maybe it’s using our customer’s emotions to sway them, maybe it’s asking the customer what’s the best way for us to close them now?
If we aren’t enjoying enough success or making enough money right now, maybe it’s time we start our marketing plan, get organized enough to cultivate referrals, take out ads in the local newspaper, work orphan files, prospect conquest service customers, find new mentors, mentor others, hand out flyers within a four block radius of our home, call everyone in the phone book with our same last name. (This last one really was the first thing my first manager told me to do my very first day in the car business. It sucks. Don’t waste your time!) Or, maybe, just maybe, we could commit to learning one new closing strategy per shift and start to use them.
So, what are the two things we must do to get anything in business we want? Ask and take action. And, maybe the plan for all of us this month should be to take the action step of learning one new close per shift and start to ask a lot.
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“Excellence means when a man or a woman asks of himself more than others do.”
Ortega Y. Gasset
Objection of the Month: “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 [email protected].
“In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED?
About a hundred years ago, a man looked at the morning newspaper and to his surprise and horror, read his name in the obituary column. The news papers had reported the death of the wrong person by mistake. His first response was shock. Am I here or there? When he regained his composure, his second thought was to find out what people had said about him.
The obituary read, “Dynamite King Dies.” And also “He was the merchant of death.” This man was the inventor of dynamite and when he read the words “merchant of death,” he asked himself a question, “Is this how I am going to be remembered?” He got in touch with his feelings and decided that this was not the way he wanted to be remembered. From that day on, he started working toward peace. His name was Alfred Nobel and he is remembered today by the great Nobel Prize.
Just as Alfred Nobel got in touch with his feelings and redefined his values, we should step back and do the same. Take a few moments right now, and ask yourself these few questions:
What is your legacy?
How would you like to be remembered?
Will you be spoken well of?
Will you be remembered with love and respect?
Will you be missed?
“The best portions of a good man’s life are his little, nameless, unremembered acts, of kindness and love.”
Upcoming Public Events:
Retail Automotive Sales: The Professional’s One Day Workshop
“Great speaker and he kept my attention. Real enthusiastic and the objection King! Thank you, Michael!”
Benchana Douangphrachanh, Sales Rep. – Burien Toyota
“Michael Hargrove is awesome! The course is tailored personally to everyone in attendance. His methods are current and progressive, the old school is no more. Thank you!”
Will Henson, Audi Brand Specialist – Audi Seattle
“Very engaging experience! I think compared to all the other big name sales trainers, Michael Hargrove has mastered the ability to relate to every person in the room. This will help me go from an 8 car per month car guy to a 12 and hopefully eventually to a 20 cars per month car guy. I would recommend this to anyone in sales.”
James Schindler, Audi Brand Specialist – University Audi
“This is the best training I have ever been to. It far exceeded my expectations. I would recommend this over Cardone or Verde training.”
James Roberts, Audi Brand Specialist – Audi Seattle
Date(s): To Be Announced
Location: Embassy Suites Hotel – Seattle North
20610 44th Ave. West
Lynnwood, WA 98036
Click here for more info on the 1 Day Sales Pro’s Workshop
Date(s): To Be Announced
Location: Shilo Inn Portland Airport
11707 NE Airport Way
Portland, OR 97220
Click here for more info on the 1 Day Sales Pro’s Workshop
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