Current Vehicle Evaluation: Before or After Your Presentation?

Recently I was working with a new dealer, and we were discussing their sales process which went like this:

  1. Greet the customer – brief rapport building
  2. Straight into the presentation – including features and benefits
  3. Demonstrating the vehicle – including features and benefits
  4. Write the customer up – including the trade appraisal

How does this sound to you?

Is this how you and your dealership handle customers?

I know that when I first started in this business, over 30 years ago, this is the exact sales process I was taught. And it is exactly how I sold cars for years, with success. However, as I moved into management and learned more about selling in general, I realized this process could be more effective.

Here how:

  1. If the salesperson learned more about the customer, such as, wants and needs, likes and dislikes, the problem the customer is looking to solve, and the desired outcome the customer is looking for, otherwise known as “HOT BUTTONS,” they could custom tailor the selection, presentation, and demonstration to this specific customer.
  2. By knowing this information prior to presentation and demonstration, the salesperson can speak to only these “HOT BUTTONS” building the most value possible in the customers eyes.
  3. At the end of each value-building statement, you can use micro-commitments to ensure you are on the right vehicle and the customer is bought in. By doing this, you increase your chances of not only closing your customer, but also closing them at the prices you want.

The best way to gather this “HOT BUTTON” is to get the customer talking about their current situation or more importantly, their current vehicle.

Here’s why:

  1. Turn the Buyer into the Seller – People love to talk about themselves and by talking about their current vehicle you get the customer, who is normally guarded with their information, to open up.
  2. History Repeats Itself – People are creatures of habit by nature. Think about it, when I mentioned the sales process earlier, you probably thought to yourself, “That’s how we have always done it and how we are going to continue to do it.” Buyers are no different. If they leased before, they are most likely to lease again. If they bought used before, they are most likely to buy used again. This is unless something significant in their life changes or they had significant issues.
  3. Information, information, information – If you ask the right questions a customer will tell you EVERYTHING you need to know to sell them their next car. This begins with asking them about their current vehicle and situation.
  4. Speed Up Transaction Time – If the Sales Manager or Used Car Manager is going through their responsibilities for the trade appraisal while you are presenting and demonstrating a vehicle to the customer. This saves a significant amount of time for you and your customer versus doing the appraisal work after the demonstration because you and the customer need to wait around for the appraiser to do their job.
  5. Write-up More Customers – 90%+ of customers will comes inside after your demonstration to be presented with figures when they believe they are going to get figures on their car when they do. Last I checked I don’t any salesperson that has a 90%+ write-up rate. The math is simple:

More Appraisals = More Write-ups = More Sales

If you want to immediately sell more vehicles, move your appraisal process to the beginning of your sales process and ALWAYS take the time to ask the right questions. Then use that information to sell them their next vehicle.

DO IT TODAY Tip: Moving the appraisal process up in your sales process is not just for walk-in customers. This should be done for internet leads as well as phone opportunities. In a world where more and more people are reaching out to your dealership through the internet and over the phone, addressing the customers current vehicle will open the door to building the relationship you need to get the customer to come into the store. Keep this in mind, a customer will never decide to buy your car until they have a solution, they are happy with for theirs.  



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