Professional Selling – Automotive

Professional Selling AutomotiveMany automotive salespeople who haven’t yet reached the professional stage think professional selling is exactly the opposite of what it really is. They get started. They learn the product and what the special offers are then push them on the next client who comes into the dealership.

When you entered the selling field, you may have thought, “Now my job is to talk and talk and talk.” So off you go. “Here it is folks. The single, best answer to your driving needs. Oh, you’re going to love it. You’d better get one now before we run out of inventory!”

The professional automotive salesperson, the true Champion, realizes that people have two ears and one mouth, and that they should be used in those proportions. This means that after talking ten seconds, you switch your mouth off, switch your ears on, and listen for 20 seconds. This also means that instead of overwhelming your future client with your knowledge of the automotive industry and your particular line of vehicles that, you encourage them to tell you what they know, what they need and what they want.

Let’s compare the two methods. [Read more…]

Body Language Buying Signs

When it comes to recognizing body language clues from prospective clients, you must be like a detective. You ask questions relating to their situations, their needs, their likes and dislikes. But it is so important that you not only listen to what they are saying and how they are saying it, but are also aware of what they’re telling you with their body language as you talk with them.

In selling, body language works in both directions. You “speak” with it, using your own body language to get your message across and you “hear with your eyes” when you watch the body language of the clients. In using it to speak, for example, when you want to be listened to, make strong eye contact. If you look at a person eye-to-eye, he or she will focus more intently on what you are saying. Many people in sales don’t make good eye contact. The more you look around and away from the client, the more they’ll do the same. Without that eye-to-eye connection, few sales will be made.

In establishing eye contact, if you have two people at the vehicle or at your desk, be sure you are not giving one of them too much attention — or too much eye contact. Spread the eye contact between both parties. In most cases, you need “buy in” from both parties before a purchase decision can be made. If you alienate one by giving too much attention to the other, no matter how much they like the vehicle, they may not like you well enough to consummate a sale.

What if the person does not make eye contact? What’s happening is that he or she either doesn’t like you or doesn’t like something you’ve just said, or you struck a nerve which may have triggered a past fear. What should you do about it? Smile. Try to gain eye contact and reiterate your last point by asking if it bothers him or her. Get them talking by asking questions about their past car buying experiences. Relate your desire to fulfill their needs and to make them happy with their vehicle purchase.

If you notice that your clients tend to lean on the vehicles you’re showing them or lean against an outside wall or railing, adopt a similar posture of relaxation. There are times we can mirror our potential clients in order to relate to him or her. It has been proven to be a simple method for connecting with your clients…a posture of common ground, if you will.

It’s critical to your demonstration of any vehicle to get your clients’ hands on it. This includes opening and closing the doors, hatches, windows; adjusting the seats and mirrors; playing with the radio or “experiencing the sound system.” A buying cue is when they do it a second or third time. Their actions are telling you that they’re trying to get comfortable in the vehicle. If they do eventually settle, that’s a buying sign.

What do you think the body language cue is if the client who is now sitting in a chair at the table scoots in closer? What if they put their elbows on the desk or table? What’s happening is that  trust is increasing. He or she is ready to come to an agreement. It’s time to review the financial details of exactly what needs to happen for them to drive away in that vehicle they enjoyed so much on the lot or test drive.

If they suddenly sit back in their chairs or cross their arms, you need to brace for an objection. Sit back yourself, relieve pressure and ask questions about the point you just covered. It could be they don’t like the numbers. It could just be that they don’t understand some of the terminology you just used. It’s so critical that you watch to “hear” what they’re saying.

If the clients are facing you directly and intently following what you’re saying, even if they tilt their heads or touch their chins, they’re with you. They’re taking it all in. When you see these body language cues, don’t change your pacing or abruptly move on to closing. Just smoothly transition to a test closing question directed at the more favorable party, if there are two parties in the decision. For example, you might say, “John, how are you feeling about all of this so far?” If John is excited and is ready to own the vehicle, Mary will either go along with him or try to slow things down with a question or comment. Either way, you’re still in charge and moving toward the sale.

Body language plays a big part in the selling process. By studying and trying to understand people’s emotions through body language, we can help them overcome or work through any areas of concern they may be having, but not expressing verbally. Mastery of body language will help you put more bodies into the vehicles you sell!

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Automotive: The Profile of a Top Sales Person

If you’re not already the top sales person in your company, you may have some pre-conceived notions about what that person is like. When you hear the phrase, “Closing the Sale,” what comes to mind? Aggressive? Intimidating?  Persuasive? I feel “Closing the Sale” is helping people make decisions that are good for them.  The key words here are “good for them.” If you plan to be in the automotive business any length of time, you’d better get a handle on that point or your career will dead-end quicker than you can say, “lickety-split.”

We have a tendency to think that everybody closes sales in the same manner. This is not so. In fact, many salespeople who close sales are not even sure how they do it. Some earn tremendous incomes and can’t really pinpoint why they are so successful. I’ve visited with top salespeople in many fields and I’ve asked them, “Tell me how you close the sale?” They’ve replied, “Well, I just do,” or “It just happens.” That’s not true, but they’ve never sat down and analyzed what it is they do that has made them so successful.

I’m going to outline some tactics and strategies that have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to work for everyone when you adapt them to your personality, when you adapt them to the way you speak, and to your style of delivery.

The profile of great closing sales people

The very first thing is they have committed themselves to become students of techniques. What does that mean? It means they commit to selling and make it a part of their lives so that every day they are students. They constantly search for new techniques by attending seminars, reading books, listening to audio programs and then striving to incorporate at least one new technique or concept they have learned into each selling situation.

Another part of closing sales is that you must have the ability to get people to like you and trust you. If they like you and trust you, they won’t fight the sales process. However, if they don’t like you and trust you, not only will the strategies not work, they’ll backfire and your clients will feel you are getting pushy. Radiate empathy, but also have the ability to call for a decision and close the sale.

Top salespeople have confidence. Have you ever lacked confidence? Have you ever been wary of meeting new people? Sure! Everyone has. We overcome this by learning certain phrases, learning to ask the right questions and by doing this we can build our confidence–just by using the words and making them our own.

Do you know what the greatest closing tool of all is? It’s one word and that word is Enthusiasm–enthusiasm for what you do. I don’t mean the type of enthusiasm that is outward, bubbly, ranting and raving–but the enthusiasm that you have inside that people feel you have for your industry, your product and your career.

To build your enthusiasm, commit to living by the four P’s.

  • The first one is Preplan. Preplan every presentation.  Before you meet your clients, preplan. Before you demonstrate a vehicle, preplan. Before you handle an ad call, preplan. All professionals preplan–they don’t wing it! They don’t just get in front of a qualified decision-maker and start talking.  They know exactly where they are going and have their strategies and techniques planned out in advance.
  • The second P is Practice. What were all of us taught? Practice makes perfect. I’d like to change that to Perfect practice makes Perfect. There are many people who practice what doesn’t work.  They watch an incompetent salesperson, not recognizing the incompetence, and they start doing the same thing. The key is to find a professional who has done what you want to do, set your goal to practice what he or she does and then perfect it.
  • You must always work to Perfect what you do. If ever you feel you know it all, you are in trouble.  The more you know, the more you need to know. It’s just like your income. As you sell more vehicles and therefore, increase your income and expand your clientele, you’re going to need to increase your knowledge level. Remember, there is always a better way of saying it–and a better way of doing it. Don’t allow yourself to plateau.
  • The fourth P is Performance. You are putting on a performance with every client contact. This doesn’t mean you are phony. It means you are saying the right words the right way to get the end result that is in the best interest of your clients. So, when you talk on the phone, when you meet people in the showroom, when you go on a test drive, it’s a performance. Everything you say and do is part of your performance.

Become a student of selling, study the four P’s I have listed above. Watch what the top people in your dealership are doing, and search for new techniques and you’ll start closing more sales!

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Auto Sales – It’s not what you say

How you say itIt’s not what you say in auto sales, but how you say it that counts, right? I’m certain you’ve heard that cliché hundreds of times.

In business, what you say is just as important as how you say it. In selling vehicles, you must learn to paint mental pictures in the minds of your potential clients. Those pictures show them being, happier, having more fun, less stressed, being sexier, safer, better looking, economically- or environmentally-minded, or well-to-do because of their ownership of one of your vehicles. You must strike each person’s buying nerve in a positive way by paying attention to the pictures your words are creating.

While most of what you say is specific to the particular vehicles you represent, there are many words that are commonly used in selling situations that you need to pay attention to. Some bring about positive images. Others don’t.

Here are a few to get you started on the road to more closed sales. [Read more…]

Arouse Emotions in Auto Sales

What is the emotional process that leads to the purchase of a new vehicle? It begins with a new development in the buyer’s self-image. That is, the buyers see themselves in a new way — as the owners of that new car, truck, van, or SUV and all the status it affords them.

If the projected vehicle purchase is small in relation to the buyer’s income, the self-image change need only be small. But if the purchase is a large one, the change in self-image that makes the purchase possible will be large. Such a change can come about very quickly. It can take place within a few minutes, or even within a few seconds.

Champion automotive salespeople are adept at spotting these changes in self-image as they occur during sales presentations. They are quick to reinforce the buyers’ realization that they can have, enjoy, deserve, need, and are worthy of the marvelous new vehicle they like. Do that, and they won’t just like it; they’ll want it, need it, and realize they can’t get along without it — then they’ll buy it. [Read more…]

Avoiding Awkward Beginnings in Car Sales

When you meet someone for the first time in your dealership, your goal is three-fold. You want to get them to:

1. Like you;

2. Trust you; and

3. Want to listen to you.

Those three elements are absolutely necessary in order for them to make a buying decision based on the information you share with them.

If they came in after calling and speaking with you, it’s likely you said the right things on the phone to get them to at least come in and see what you have available in both vehicles and terms. You’re starting out on the right foot here. They’ll be curious to learn more. That means they’ll be listening to you. [Read more…]

Activity Breeds Productivity in Automotive Sales

What are you going to do today that will lead to more sales? If you have a list of business-building activities to complete, wonderful! If you do not, let me show you one that has worked for others for many years.

Early in my sales career, I identified activities I could do during non-client times that would eventually lead to productivity. I would try to get as many of those activities worked into each day as possible. So, even when business was slow and I didn’t have anyone to talk with that day, I had other things to do that would bring me people to talk with. [Read more…]