When you have a conversation with someone are you listening to then with the intention of truly understanding what they are saying? I know that I have had many conversations with people where I will stop listening to what they are saying and instead began to think more about how I am going to respond to them. Even worse I realize that I am just not paying attention to what hey say at all.
Have you had conversation like these? I am sure you have; everyone has. The real question is, have we had these kinds of conversations with our customers? Again, I am sure we all have, and I would be willing to be that when we have, we DID NOT sell those customers. Which makes sense, why would a customer want to buy from us when we can’t even put forth the effort to listen to them.
Not only is it critical that you listen to your customers, so you understand what they are saying and feeling, but also to show your customer that you care. This is true whether you are speaking to your customer in-person, over the phone, or over the internet, via email.
Ways to SHOW Your Customer You Care by Listening
When listening to a person while they are in front of you, allows you a luxury you just do not have when they are not in front of you, you can see them. This allows you to listen with your eyes as well as your ears.
First of all, listen to your customer’s body language. It will tell you things their words will not. This could be positive or negative information, but either way it will be valuable information.
Second, use your own body language to let your customer know you are listening. This will keep them talk, providing you with more valuable information.
Do things like:
- Make Eye Contact – Making eye contact shows the customer you are interested in what they have to say. Nothing is worse than when you are talking to someone, and they are off looking at something else. It makes me want to stop talking and if your customer feels this same way, they stop talking also and that means they will stop providing you with that valuable information. One thing to keep in mind when making eye contact, DON’T stare, no likes a creeper.
- Nod Your Head – When you nod your head while someone else is talking, you are letting them know that you are paying attention and you have a desire to hear more. This will give your customer a sense of obligation to keep talking, and the more your customer talks, the more they tell you how to sell them.
Over the Phone
When you are talking to someone over the phone, you do not have the luxury of seeing them, there for your can not use your body language to keep them talking and volunteering this valuable information, so you are going to have to use some Active Listening Phrases to keep them going.
Active Listening Phrases:
These phrases can be used both over the phone as well as in person. They are meant to show the customer that you are intensively listening, you care about the customer and what they have to say, and the phrase also prompt the customer to continue providing you with information you can use to sell them a vehicle.
Over the Internet
Now obviously you can not actively listen to an internet lead, however, you can still show the customer that you are paying attention to them, you are concerned about what is best for them, and you can prompt them to tell you more.
I recently (prior to the cheap shortage and inventory issues) mystery shopped 10 local dealerships by submitting an internet inquiry to the dealership. In each internet inquiry, I asked the dealer a specific question about the vehicle I was inquiring about and all 10 salespeople who responded to my inquiry completely ignored the question that I asked and the only engagement question that was asked was “when did I want to come in.” It was amazing to me how all of the dealerships responded the same way, in such a poor fashion.
The FIRST RULE of any internet lead is to get the customer to engage with you. Why would a customer want to engage with you, if you can not even take the time to address their question?
In order to Listen to an internet customer, the first thing you must do with any internet lead it read it. And just like when you are listening to a customer in-person or over the phone, you must pay attention and have the goal of understanding them. Reading an internet lead is no different. You must read the lead in its entirety with the intention of understanding what the customer is looking for. Once you have read and understood what it is the customer is looking for, it is time to respond and let the customer know that you are “listening.”
In order to show the customer that you are “listening,” you must address their question and any other information provided in the lead. Take note, that I said address, not answer. One way to do this, is to offer an answer to their question and then ask them a question, that if they answer it, it will help you answer their original question.
Customer asks if a specific vehicle, and if it has a tow package.
Your response could include the following to address the question (without answering) and gain customer engagement.
Thank you for your inquiry and I will be more than happy to find out if that vehicle has a tow package for you. While I am doing that is there anything else that you would like to verify on that vehicle? Also, what is it about that specific vehicle that interests you? I only ask because, we have a few other vehicles that are similar, that I know have tow packages, that have not hit our website yet and may be a better fit.
And by the way, what do you plan on towing? I just want to make sure any vehicle that you get will be capable of doing what you need.
As you can see there are three questions in this email that reference the customer’s original inquiry and question, however this email only addresses them, it does not answer them. These questions are designed to gain engagement with the customer so you can begin to build the relationship needed to get the appointment for them to come in.
Remember your immediate goal, with any internet lead is to get the customer to begin engagement with you, and once
DO IT TODAY Tip: If you are doing any kind of follow-up, ALWAYS fully read the customer history in your CRM system, understand everything that has happened, and what is expected next BEFORE you attempt the follow-up!
Not only do all of these things show your customer you care, but they also forces you to listen to your customer completely. And the more you listen to them, the more you understand them. The more you understand their concerns, the problems they are looking to solve, the desired outcome they are looking for, and most importantly they will tell you everything you need to know to sell them a vehicle. All you have to do is listen.
Just listening to your customer is going to cause you to stand out above your competition, differentiate from them, and be one step ahead. Most importantly, you will be one step ahead of your competition and you will also be one step closer to making a deal with your customer.