This Month’s Selling Principle:
Long Term Marketing, part 1 – The Delivery
“Vision without action is just a daydream, but action without vision… now that’s the nightmare.” Michael Hargrove
Once a long time ago, a one on one client and friend of mine told me, “I don’t even consider it a car deal, Michael, until the person who bought from me sends me a referral.”
Now, how powerful is that?!
It’s been well documented that sales professionals who have the majority of their business come from repeat and referral customers enjoy much higher gross profit averages, as well as, closing ratios two and three times higher than their counterparts on the line. There’s nothing more sad, to me anyway, than the twenty year veteran who still has to call “ups” with the greenpeas. Granted, some of these people still make a very handsome living but, for sure, they’re working WAY too hard for it. The nightmare, is finally taking the hard look at ourselves and realizing we had no idea that we’d be where we currently are at this late stage in our life.
Over the next few months, we’ll cover the essentials of developing and maintaining an effective marketing campaign. We’ll cover how to manage a clientele database, the timing and various methods of marketing, referral programs that work and those that don’t, when NOT to market our products or services, and this month, where it all begins.
I have come to realize that working that repeat and referral gold mine starts right at the delivery. Most consider the delivery part of the sales process but I consider it part of the follow up process. Now, if we are delivering a vehicle it’s probably safe to assume we’ve already built rapport with our customer and have earned their respect. With that in mind, I believe that the last impression we leave with our customer is far more important, and much more profitable, than the first impression. So let’s go get ourselves a shop rag or detail towel (keep it in our desk) and we’ll cover how to make our delivery process something that earns us referrals well into the future.
Although a scheduled delivery will differ from a spot delivery, we should always make sure that the vehicle is ready for them by checking for any equipment that was to be installed, making sure there are two sets of keys, that the tank is full, the unit is immaculate, etc.
We should walk them through the service and parts departments again, reintroducing them to the key players there and reviewing the hours and procedures of our particular store.
We will need to go over all the paperwork, schedules, owner’s manuals, warranty books, etc. that our Finance and Insurance associates don’t cover.
We should re-demo the vehicle. By that I mean to demonstrate ALL of the vehicle’s features to our customer and to make sure they know how to operate all of them. We should set the clock, radio stations, and pair their smart devices with them. We need to be sure to show them all the safety features and where the spare and jack are located. And, when possible, we should drive the car with them again.
We need to make the delivery something special and memorable. We can use flowers, balloons, champagne, theatre ropes, gift baskets, etc. to accomplish this.
With the advent of testimonial videos, I’m no longer an advocate of asking for referrals at the time of delivery. Asking for a short testimonial video AND a list of referrals seems a bit much. I know this probably flies in the face of what you may have been told by other trainers, or even your managers, but we will have plenty of opportunities to ask for referrals later, as you will see. Besides, this is THEIR magic moment, not ours. At this point, we should offer to take a picture of them with their new car and we should ask them if they wouldn’t mind making a short testimonial video for us. Help them by suggesting they take a moment and think about what excites them most about their new vehicle and what two things did they like most about working with us.
Now, we should make it easy for our customer to get a hold of us. We do this by “pushing our contact info” to their smart phones. First we need to make sure we’ve created a contact for us on our own phone. That contact should include our picture, our office phone number, our cell phone number, our e-mail address, our personal website address, our snail mail address, and links to the social media platforms we are active on.
Then we tell our customer, “My service to you is just beginning. Since helping you with your buying experience is done, my job now is to help you have a wonderful ownership experience too. To do that, I want to make it easy for you to get a hold of me. Please allow me to simply push my contact info to your smart phone.” Then we access our contact file on our phone and simply text it to them. Finish by reminding them that we want to help them with servicing their new vehicle, keeping it perfect, and helping any of their family or friends with their transportation needs too.
Finally, remember that detail towel of ours? Here’s what we do with it. When our customers are leaving F&I, we need to make sure they see us wiping down their car as they approach it. After everyone has piled into their new car, with the registration in the window, and as they start to pull away, we scream at them to, “HOLD IT!!”. We then dash over to the left rear quarter panel, bend over and give it a quick wipe or two, stand back up, smile, wave and say, “Okay! See ya!”. How’s that for a good last impression? Bottom line: make it memorable, make it special, keep it geared completely towards the customer, and have fun with it.
Next month we’ll get into the timing of our subsequent contacts and methods of long term follow up and marketing.
Until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“Man does not only sell commodities, he sells himself and feels himself to be a commodity.”
Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom (1941), 4.
Objection of the Month: “We need to shop other cars first.”
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. “What other cars do you need to shop? (Let’s assume they tell us the Accord and the Maxima.) Have you pretty much narrowed it down to our car, the Accord, and the Maxima?” (Wait for their response, then say,) “Well, then, good news! (Pause) You can’t make a bad decision. All three of those cars will give you the __________ and the ____________that you’ve told me was important to you, and all three of them are hands down reliable. They all should give you many years of trouble free service, so you can’t mess up. Look, Ms. Customer, I know you weren’t expecting to do business with us today, and that’s okay, but c’mon in and let me give you a basic idea of the numbers. That way you can make an intelligent decision. That makes sense, doesn’t it?”
b. “So you’ve got other cars to compare ours with. Then may I ask you a question? What were you hoping to find in those other cars that you’re not getting from ours?”
c. “You’ve found the right car, in the right color, with all the right equipment, and at the premiere dealership in the city, and it’s in the general price range you were hoping for. Tell me, Mr. Customer, have you ever lost your keys?” (Or we can use “the remote” or simply the word “something”. We wait for their response, then ask,) “Remember what that was like? Searching frantically all around the house, under sofas, in drawers, under pillows, remember how that felt?” (Wait for their response, and continue,) “THEN…you finally find them. Whew! Remember how that felt? (Give a big sigh and act relieved. Wait for their response, then ask,) Let me ask you, after you find them, do you keep looking?” (They usually say “No”.) “Well, sir, what are you thinking about doing here? You know you like it, so why don’t you just go ahead and get it”.
d. “What other cars were you thinking about shopping? Great. Follow me, I’ve got some comparison guides inside that should prove very helpful to you.”
e. “What other cars were you thinking about shopping? Great. Follow me to the previously owned section of our dealership and let’s do some side by side comparisons.”
f. “What other cars were you thinking about shopping? Great. I’m very familiar with all three of those competitors, very worthy competitors too, I may add. Allow me to share with you some of our products strengths AND weaknesses compared to those you’ve just mentioned, it may save you some time.”
Next month’s objection will be: “How much discount can I get?” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to [email protected].
“I only play well when I’m prepared. If I don’t practice the way I should, then I won’t play the way I know I can.”
Ask, Ask, Ask”
— by: Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul
The greatest saleswoman in the world today doesn’t mind if you call her a girl. That’s because Markita Andrews has generated more than eighty thousand dollars selling Girl Scout cookies since she was seven years old.
Going door-to-door after school, the painfully shy Markita transformed herself into a cookie-selling dynamo when she discovered, at age 13, the secret of selling.
It starts with desire. Burning, white-hot desire.
For Markita and her mother, who worked as a waitress in New York after her husband left them when Markita was eight years old, their dream was to travel the globe. “I’ll work hard to make enough money to send you to college,” her mother said one day. “You’ll go to college and when you graduate, you’ll make enough money to take you and me around the world. Okay?”
So at age 13 when Markita read in her Girl Scout magazine that the Scout who sold the most cookies would win an all- expenses-paid trip for two around the world, she decided to sell all the Girl Scout cookies she could – more Girl Scout cookies than anyone in the world, ever.
But desire alone is not enough. To make her dream come true, Markita knew she needed a plan.
“Always wear your right outfit, your professional garb,” her aunt advised. “When you are doing business, dress like you are doing business. Wear your Girl Scout uniform. When you go up to people in their tenement buildings at 4:30 or 6:30 and especially on Friday night, ask for a big order. Always smile, whether they buy or not, always be nice. And don’t ask them to buy your cookies; ask them to invest.”
Lots of other Scouts may have wanted that trip around the world. Lots of other Scouts may have had a plan. But only Markita went off in her uniform each day after school, ready to ask – and keep asking – folks to invest in her dream. “Hi, I have a dream. I’m earning a trip around the world for me and my mom by merchandising Girl Scout cookies,” she’d say at the door. “Would you like to invest in one dozen or two dozen boxes of cookies?”
Markita sold 3,526 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that year and won her trip around the world. Since then, she has sold more than 42,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, spoken at sales conventions across the country, starred in a Disney movie about her adventure and has co-authored the best seller, How to Sell More Cookies, Condos, Cadillacs, Computers … And Everything Else.
Markita is no smarter and no more extroverted than thousands of other people, young and old, with dreams of their own. The difference is Markita had discovered the secret of selling: Ask, Ask, Ask! Many people fail before they even begin because they fail to ask for what they want. The fear of rejection leads many of us to reject ourselves and our dreams long before anyone else ever has the chance – no matter what we’re selling.
And everyone is selling something. “You’re selling yourself everyday – in school, to your boss, to new people you meet,” said Markita at 14. “My mother is a waitress: she sells the daily special. Mayors and presidents trying to get votes are selling … I see selling everywhere I look. Selling is part of the whole world.”
It takes courage to ask for what you want. Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s doing what it takes despite one’s fear. And, as Markita has discovered, the more you ask, the easier (and more fun) it gets.
Once, on live TV, the producer decided to give Markita her toughest selling challenge. Markita was asked to sell Girl Scout cookies to another guest on the show. “Would you like to invest in one dozen or two dozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies?” she asked.
“Girl Scout cookies? I don’t buy any Girl Scout cookies!” he replied. “I’m a Federal Penitentiary warden. I put 2,000 rapists, robbers, criminals, muggers and child abusers to bed every night.”
Unruffled, Markita quickly countered, “Mister, if you take some of these cookies. maybe you won’t be so mean and angry and evil. And, Mister, I think it would be a good idea for you to take some of these cookies back for every one of your 2,000 prisoners, too.”
The Warden wrote a check.
“You cannot tailor make your situations in life, but you can tailor make your attitudes to fit those situations.”
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“Overall pretty good class. I felt like most of the things we covered were basic for me, but I still came out with 4 or 5 new things to add to myself that I feel were well worth the time investment.”
Ryan Nielsen, Sales – Sunset Chevrolet
“If you attend only one sales/life coaching class a year, this is the one! Michael knows his stuff. I take something new away with me each and every year I attend. Thanks Michael!”
Erick Dirvanowski, Internet Sales Manager – Pignataro VW
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Quincy Jones, Sales – Performance Kia
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