The Rental Car Close

by Michael Hargrove     

This a closing technique I heard for the first time about a year ago in one of my workshops. The guy who shared it with us swears he’s been using it for years, but this was the first time I had ever heard it. Many of you have asked me to publish it here, but you know I like to get as much feedback as I can from you guys before I do. I’ve only been teaching it for about eight months or so now, but so far, it’s been getting killer feedback.

This is designed to be used for the objection “I guess it’s not meant to be because the payments are still too high.” This is an emotionally charged stall tactic that comes after the commitment to buy today has been acquired. Remember, the vast majority of the objections we get after the commitment are nothing more than stalls or time outs. They don’t mean “No!”, they just mean “Not yet.” Most customers, if we’ve done our job right so far, want to go ahead with the decision to own but just need to feel a little more comfortable about doing so.

For this example, let’s say we’ve already exhausted all the adjustments available to us (initial investment, term, leasing, etc.) and we’re at $360 per month but they want to be at $300. Our customer says, “Thanks a lot but I guess it’s not meant to be because the payments are still too high.” If we’ve already made a couple attempts at closing this transaction, psychologically, our customer is probably closed to us. So, instead of just jumping into some other technique, we need to first open them back up to us. Here’s how we do that, “You know what, Mr. Client, I’m sorry to say this, but you’re probably right. This just may not be meant to be. We can’t always make it work out for everyone but it wasn’t for the lack of trying, right? Thank you very much for giving us a legitimate shot at your business though.”

We wait a beat or two and let that sink in. We open them back up to us by agreeing with them that it’s over, it’s not meant to be. Then we play to their fear of wasting time by continuing with, “But before you go, there might be another way to look at that $60 difference, and it might actually save you some time. May I quickly share it with you?”

Once they tell us yes, we have twenty seconds. Instead of just talking at them or using some other kind of logic to sway them, let’s engage them by asking, “You’ve been on vacation before, right?”

When they tell us they have, we continue with, “About how much per day would you expect to pay for a decent rental car?”

Let’s assume they tell us something around $35, we continue with, “Okay, you’ve got your $35 per day rental car reserved. Your airplane lands, and you’re walking through the terminal looking for the… the… ummm… the… COUNTER… where you’ve got your car reserved, right? When all of a sudden, out of the corner of your eye, you see a sign that says, RENTAL CARS…$10 per day! Would you quickly go check it out?”

So far, no salesperson has told me their customer has said they wouldn’t check out the $10 per day rental car. But just in case one customer does, with a smile on our face, we could point out to them that, “You wouldn’t try to save $25 bucks per day but you’re busting my chops for $60 a month? Just okay it right here, Sir.”

Almost all of our customers will say of course they’d check it out, so we’d continue with, “Of course you would, and so would everyone else, that’s why the line is so long. But you’re patient, you get to the front of the line and ask the girl to tell you about her $10 a day rental cars. She tells you that all of them have about 86,000 miles on them. They don’t have the leather interior you want or the moonroof. They only have AM/FM radios, no CD player like you were hoping for and no navigation system. She tells you there’s one more catch. ‘While you’re renting the car, Sir, if there’s any mechanical problem, you are 100% responsible for it…up to and including engine failure. But I only have one of those cars left to rent. We’ve got seven $12 per day rental cars left, let me quickly tell you about those, okay?'”

When our customer says okay, we continue as the rental counter girl, “‘They all are brand new cars, no miles on them. Coincidentally, all of them have leather interior, moonroofs, CD changers, and navigation systems. Best part though, Sir, is if there’s any kind of mechanical problem, you’re not responsible for it, it’ll be covered under the new car warranty. So, which one would you like, Sir, the $10 or the $12 per day rental car?'”

When they tell her (us) the $12 car, we continue (as ourselves now), “That’s the decision in front of you now, Mr. Client. If you leave here in the car you pulled up in, you’ve chosen that $10 per day rental car. Now, let me ask you something. If $2 per day, to get what you want, makes sense for a car you’d rent…doesn’t it make just as much sense for a car you’d own?!”

When they tell us it would, we say, “Then let’s wrap this bad boy up so you can start to show it off! Just okay it right here.” or however you close.

The beauty of this technique is we gain credibility and leverage by using our customer’s past experiences. When we ask, “You’ve been on vacation before, right?”, what do they instantly think of ? They think of their last vacation. When we ask them, “About how much per day would you expect to pay for a decent rental car?”, what do they instantly think of? They think about what they paid last time. When we tell them, “Okay, you’ve got your $35 per day rental car reserved. Your airplane lands, and you’re walking through the terminal looking for the… the… ummm… the…”, we want them to help us with the word “COUNTER!”. Why? Because when they do, what are they thinking of? That’s right, Avis or Budget or where ever they rented their last car. Then, when we describe the $10 per day rental car, what are we describing? Their trade in, get it? The one without leather or the moonroof, etc.

Here’s the best part though, where are they when they bump themselves the $60 per month? That’s right!…in Hawaii or Cuba or where ever they vacationed last. Not at our dealership or in our showroom but in their “happy place” on vacation.

This, like all new techniques, needs to be personalized to our own selling style, our own selling rhythm, and our own vocabulary. Then it needs to be practiced until we own it. And like all other techniques, it’ll only work when we are willing to use it. Nothing works all the time, and neither will this, but let’s at least add it to our toolbox so we can have it at our disposal when the time comes to help that client of ours that just needs a gentle nudge to take action on the buying decision they’ve already made.

© Copyright 2013 by Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc. All rights reserved. Michael D. Hargrove is the founder and president of Bottom Line Underwriters Inc.

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