This Month’s Selling Principle:
The “Mule” Commitment Technique
Would you like to have a simple and quick technique to use when our customer is slightly hesitant to make the commitment to purchase today? Good, here it is!
Of course, this assumes that we’ve done our job correctly up to this point, and we’ve not only built value and rapport, but we’ve also sold ourselves, the car, and our dealership. This technique can be used at our desk during the write up stage or at the transition from the lot to our office. A few of my clients (you guys) have told me they’ve also used it successfully when a customer has said, “Give me your best price but I’m not going to buy today.”
We ask, “Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?”
Whether they tell us yes or no, we proceed with, “One of the more famous attractions at the Grand Canyon is the pack mule ride. You’ve heard of it, right?”
After they respond we continue, “Well, my manager is very much like one of those mules. We actually call him something different… but it means the same thing as mule.” Smile, pause, then continue with, “Anyway, if you try to push or pull a mule, it’ll just sit there stubborn as can be and won’t budge an inch. But if you dangle a carrot in front its nose, you can move it up and down the face of that canyon, right?”
After they nod, we say, “Well, my manager is just like that mule. The only difference is that the carrot… is your commitment to own your new car providing he budges enough to make the numbers work for you. C’mon… let’s see how far we can move him, shall we?”
This will not work all the time, of course (nothing does), and it needs to be adjusted to our individual vocabulary, personality, and the situation. And it works especially well with clients who tend to process visually. As we adjust it to match our delivery style, we need to remember to engage our client with short questions, and don’t skip the attempt at humor. Whether they laugh or not it’ll still get them to relax a bit and that’s critical to our ability to help them make that scary today commitment.
Add this to your toolbox today!
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk, and to act.”
Objection of the Month:“I’m not buying today, but give me your best price anyway.”
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. “Folks, you like the car don’t you? It’s equipped the way you want it, right? It’s a color you can live with for the next few years, right? This dealership is one you’ve done business with before, correct? And I’ve treated you in a professional manner, haven’t I? Well, then folks, my job now is to simply make it easy for you to take action on a decision you’ve already made. Follow me.”
b. “The best price is determined by the availability at the time you decide to do business. And there are other variables too; like the time of the month, how easy the car is to replace, how it’s equipped, what bank or factory incentives are in place at the time, your mood, the manager’s mood. The best price is not some arbitrary number anyone can just toss out to you. Now, if you’re ready to put this shopping chore behind you, I’m ready to negotiate the very best terms possible on your behalf. Are we ready?”
c. “By insisting on a ‘best price’ quote without a commitment to buy today, what customers unwittingly do is force their salesperson to either guess about the numbers, or even worse, lie about them. I’m simply not willing to do either. What I AM willing to do, however, is to make it easy for you to start to enjoy your new car. May I show you how? Great, follow me.”
d. “You know how negotiations work, right? In order for ANY negotiation to be successful both parties have got to feel like they’ve won, isn’t that true? Well then, let me ask you this, how do you win, sir? You’re going to win by persuading my manager to give up potential profit in the form of a discount. How does my manager win? That’s right! My manager wins by making a profit in the form of your business. In order for us to get you what you want, we must be in a position to give her what she wants. Otherwise, we’re not negotiating from a position of strength. But when she knows she’s at least got a chance of earning your business, we’ll then have the leverage we need to get her to do what we want. Does that make sense?”
e. “Do you know how I get paid? Commission, that’s right. You know what the best part of commission sales is? The more excited I get you, the more money you pay, the more money I make! Isn’t that awesome?! Okay, maybe not for you. But do you know what the best part of commissioned sales is for you as the customer? Well, what do you think I get paid if you DON’T buy the car? That’s right, nothing. And you’re not going to buy it unless the price is right, are you? So, it works to BOTH of our advantages to negotiate from a position of strength. Now, doesn’t that make sense?”
f. “Look, I’m always willing to discuss numbers with my customers because that’s the easiest part of my job. First let me ask you though, is there anything else standing in the way of us doing business together today?”
g. “After showing you what we can do, if you still decide not to do business with us, well then, that would be our fault folks, not yours. Fair enough?”
h. (If our customer tells us this at the greeting, we can say,) “I hear that a lot, folks. What I’ve found is that most of my customers simply want to find a car they’d like to own, get figures on it, and then think about it. Is that what you folks had in mind? Okay, I’d be happy to help you with that!”
Next month’s objection will be: “I don’t need/want to drive it.” We need YOUR input!!! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to [email protected].
“Form the habit of making decisions when your spirit is fresh. To let dark moods lead you is like choosing cowards to command your armies.”
Charles Horton Cooley
Follow Your Dream
by Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul
I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs.
The last time I was there he introduced me by saying, “I want to tell you why I let Jack use my house. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.
“That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200- acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.
“He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, ‘See me after class.’
“The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, ‘Why did I receive an F?’
“The teacher said, ‘This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Then the teacher added, ‘If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.’
“The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, ‘Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.’
“Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all. He stated, ‘You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.'”
Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000- square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week.” When the teacher was leaving, he said, ‘Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.'”
Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what.
“All our dreams can come true—if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Upcoming Public Events:
Retail Automotive Sales: The Professional’s One Day Workshop
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Tim Lottis, Sales – Toyota of Gladstone
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