The Worst Thing That Can Happen to a Salesperson…

A good friend of mine (long time car guy) and I were talking about salespeople and the pitfalls they can run into. We both agreed that when a customer walks in, shows the salesperson their phone and says, “I am here for this car.” Yes, you read that right, a customer coming in and asking for a specific car can be the worst thing to happen to you. I am sure you are asking yourself, “how can that be? I love it when a customer knows exactly what they want.”

A customer only thinks they know what they want. This belief is only based upon the information they currently have. However, what happens if they don’t have all the right information, or even worse they have misinformation or bad information.

Unfortunately, most salespeople in this situation take the customer directly to the car the customer had asked about and completely ignore the Trade Appraisal/Customer Profile, the investigation part of the process. They skip the one step that gains the vital information needed to properly follow the sales process.

Let’s look at consequences if you decide to skip the Trade Appraisal/Customer Profile:

  • You DO NOT learn nor understand the customer’s Wants & Needs
  • You DO NOT learn nor understand the customer’s Likes & Dislikes
  • You DO NOT learn nor understand the customer’s Must Haves & Can’t Stands

Simply put, you don’t know anything about your customer. You don’t know what is important to the customer. You don’t know what is motivating them to make this purchase. And you have no clue as to what the customer’s HOT BUTTONS are. Without this information what do you have to talk about with your customer:

  • Features that ‘you’ think are important, not the customer
  • Features that add no value to the customer
  • Features that only add expense to the vehicle

Once you get done talking about all of these features you are only left to talk about and negotiate price and we all know this is a losing proposition.

Now what we have identified what the problem is, not gathering the customers HOT BUTTONS, how do we solve this while still being of service to your customer. That part is easy: ASK QUESTIONS!

Remember the key to information gathering is to ask questions that GET answers. An additional benefit to asking the right questions is that you take back control of the sales process and guide the sale in the direction that YOU want it to go.

The following is a great response to take back control of the sale and begin to investigate into what is important to the customer:

“That’s a great car. While I check on the availability of that car, let me ask you, what is it about the Model X that interests you?”

Let’s break this question down:

Align yourself with your customer:

“That’s a great car. While I check on the availability of that car, let me ask you, what is it about the Model X that interests you?”

Be of service to the customer:

“That’s a great car. While I check on the availability of that car, let me ask you, what is it about the Model X that interests you?”

Show genuine interest in what is important to your customer:

“That’s a great car. While I check on the availability of that car, let me ask you, what is it about the Model X that interests you?”

The following are some follow-up questions that will not only keep the conversation going but will keep you gaining the critical information needed to do a CUSTOMER-VALUE based presentation and demonstration:

  • “What is it that you REALLY like about it?”
  • “While researching the Model X, was there anything that concerned you? Or anything that you wish was different?”
  • “How do you see yourself benefitting from the Model X?”

Utilizing questions like these will save you from the mistakes that most salespeople make when a customer comes in and asks to see a specific car or model. These questions will also naturally lead you into next weeks topic, Suggesting an Alternative with “Would you consider…?”

Joe Caruso

Joe Caruso

Joe may not have been born to sell cars, however when other kids were talking about being a firefighter or an astronaut, all he talked about was being a car salesperson. His commitment was so strong that he managed to sell his first car when he was nine years old. Fast forward to the age of seventeen and his full time career as an automotive sales professional began. Over the next 30 years he went on to hold every position in a sales department, including spending the last twelve as a General Manager, building some of the most successful teams in the area. In 2017, he left the retail side of the industry and founded DO IT TODAY Learning Network in an effort to share his knowledge with the entire automotive sales world.

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