This Month’s Selling Principle:
Do you lie to your customers?
I am fortunate in that I get to regularly work with some of the very top people in our field (in North America at least), and my experience has been that these top producing salespeople are, for the most part, good, honest, hard working folk. I imagine that people in general are like that. Most of the professionals attending our events have families, most are career oriented, and almost all are looking for long term success strategies. These are peak performers and they do not have to stoop to using lies to be successful.
I know there are weenies in the car business, just like any other, and perhaps my view has become skewed because I don’t get to work with, or even know, many dishonest sales people. But I can only write from my particular perspective, such as it is. So, if we can use the assumption that most people are honest or at least would prefer to behave honestly, we can assume that those who do lie regularly are either just being lazy or simply don’t have the tools appropriate for the task at hand.
For the sake of this short article, let’s forget about the moral ramifications of lying. They are reason enough, in my book, to always be honest. But I want to explore two pragmatic reasons why being dishonest will always cost us more money than it will ever make us.
The first of these is that people intuitively know when we are being deceitful. That’s because about 93% of our ability to influence others comes through nonverbal communication.
In 1967, a study was conducted at UCLA by professor Albert Mehrabian. His findings were later published in his book Silent Messages in 1971 and have been proven over and over again these last several decades. One point in particular that professor Mehrabian discovered has become a staple of all communication skills seminars of merit. He found out that, in face to face communication, 55% of our message is conveyed through our body language, 38% of our message is conveyed through tone, tempo, volume, and only 7% of our message is conveyed through content. In other words, 55% of what our customer reacts to or makes judgments on are things that they can see (body language, facial expressions, proximity, eye contact, etc.), 38% of what our customer reacts to or make judgments on are things that they can hear (tone, pace, volume, enthusiasm, empathy or confidence in our voice, etc.), and only 7% of what influences our customer are the wiz-bang word tracks we all memorize!
If we use words that we know are untrue, the other 93% will usually betray us. That’s also why when we use techniques or strategies that haven’t been well practiced (and tailored to who we are and how we speak) they are sometimes misinterpreted as being dishonest. People don’t like doing business with people they don’t trust.
The second, and more insidious, reason is one of self image. Behavioral scientists for decades have known that we consistently perform within the limits of our own self images. If we feel we aren’t deserving of success, (Do you remember ever singing “Cheaters never prosper”?) then we will surely find ways to subconsciously self-sabotage our own efforts. And it’s folly to think that no one will ever find out. The one person that will always know is exactly the one person who welds the most influence on our own success (us). And even the occasional little white lie here and there, over time, can be devastating to our self images and in turn our success.
So, the next time you overhear someone bragging about “putting that guy together”, remind them who ultimately gets hurt the most by lies. Besides, this is America. It’s way too easy to make money here to ever have to compromise our integrity to do so.
So, here’s to you, the good, honest, hard working professional fully deserving of all the best life has to offer.
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“Over and over, it has been made crystal clear to me that the basics of life are important—-love of God, family and friends; a commitment to integrity so that you will be respected and respect yourself; a commitment to leadership so that by your own actions, others will respect you.”
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?”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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
by: Author Unknown, Old folktale
A landscape gardener ran a business that had been in the family for two or three generations. The staff were happy, and customers loved to visit the store, or to have the staff work on their gardens or make deliveries – anything from bedding plants to ride-on mowers.
For as long as anyone could remember, the current owner and previous generations of owners were extremely positive happy people.
Most folk assumed it was because they ran a successful business.
In fact it was the other way around…
A tradition in the business was that the owner always wore a big lapel badge, saying Business Is Great!
The business was indeed generally great, although it went through tough times like any other. What never changed however was the owner’s attitude, and the badge saying Business Is Great!
Everyone who saw the badge for the first time invariably asked, “What’s so great about business?” Sometimes people would also comment that their own business was miserable, or even that they personally were miserable or stressed.
Anyhow, the Business Is Great! badge always tended to start a conversation, which typically involved the owner talking about lots of positive aspects of business and work, for example:
- the pleasure of meeting and talking with different people every day
- the reward that comes from helping staff take on new challenges and experiences
- the fun and laughter in a relaxed and healthy work environment
- the fascination in the work itself, and in the other people’s work and businesses
- the great feeling when you finish a job and do it to the best of your capabilities
- the new things you learn every day – even without looking to do so
- and the thought that everyone in business is blessed – because there are many millions of people who would swap their own situation to have the same opportunities of doing a productive meaningful job, in a civilized well-fed country, where we have no real worries.
And so the list went on. And no matter how miserable a person was, they’d usually end up feeling a lot happier after just a couple of minutes listening to all this infectious enthusiasm and positivity.
It is impossible to quantify or measure attitude like this, but to one extent or another it’s probably a self-fulfilling prophecy, on which point, if asked about the badge in a quiet moment, the business owner would confide:
“The badge came first. The great business followed.”
“You cannot tailor make your situations in life, but you can tailor make your attitudes to fit those situations.”
Upcoming Public Events:
Retail Automotive Sales: The Professional’s One Day Workshop
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