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.

  1. Cost or Price – When you hear how much something costs, or what the price is, what comes to mind? For me, it’s a picture of money leaving my wallet. Since money represents security for me (as it does with most people), that picture can create some mental anguish unless it’s overwhelmed by the beauty and joy of the vehicle I’m tempted to own. So, until you reach the point where I’m highly motivated to own it, you need to avoid those terms. Instead, use the terms Total Investment or Total Amount. Those two terms create different pictures than “cost” or “price,” don’t’ they? An investment, in most people’s minds, generates a return of some sort—even if it’s just a sense of confidence in owning a reliable vehicle. An amount is less threatening than a cost.

    You might say something like this: “Jim, I can see you’re excited about owning this brand new mini-van for your family’s next vacation and you can do so for a total amount of only $44,950.”

  2. Monthly Payment – I already have too many of these, don’t you? This phrase brings to mind sitting down at my desk and writing out a whole bunch of checks during my not-so-favorite monthly bill-paying sessions. Use the phrase “Monthly Investment” or “Monthly Amount for the same reason listed above.“Pam, based on the total amount for your new car, your monthly investment will only be $347.00.”
  3. Sell or Sold – For some people these terms bring to mind a picture of something being ‘pushed on’ them. “We’ve sold 20 of these in the last two weeks,” can come across as high pressure sales. Use these phrases instead, “Get them involved” or “Helped them acquire.”Getting someone involved with your vehicles sounds more like they participated rather than that they were a recipient of something they might not have wanted. Helping someone acquire something sounds more like you’re serving a need.

    “We have been fortunate to help many young families in the community, like yours, acquire new minivans as their children grow.”

  1. Deal – This one is a pet peeve of mine. What have we all been looking and hoping for all of our lives but never found? A good deal. “Deal” brings to mind the stereotypical, slap-you-on-the-back-and-squeeze-your-hand-too-hard salesperson of old. Don’t use it! Change that image in your mind and theirs to opportunity.“Sally, after we cover all the features you’ve mentioned you’re seeking in a new car, I think you’ll see that this particular model could be an excellent opportunity for you.”
  2. Sign – Nearly every transaction in the world today involves having the person making the buying decision “sign” a piece of paper that obligates them to give up some of their hard-earned money for something else. Whether people realize it consciously or not, there’s a certain level of mental cringing that goes on when that happens. Old-time salespeople used to smile when they told you to “sign on the dotted line.” That was because they knew they were getting paid. It wasn’t about you at all.

Putting your signature on a sales document is a legal and binding promise. And, where do you go to get out of one should you change your mind? In some cases, you have to go to court. So don’t ask anyone to sign a contract, charge slip or purchase agreement. Ask them to OK, Endorse, Authorize or Approve the paperwork. They know “paperwork” means “contract” just as they know “approve” means “sign.” These words just provide a more pleasant experience for the client and that’s what really matters.

These few words and phrases are just the beginning. Think about everything you say and what kind of picture it brings to your clients’ minds. In selling it’s all the little things that add up to satisfied clients and closed sales. You’re closing all the time by what you say and the mental pictures of ownership that you paint.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. For reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).

Learn even more of the words to avoid here>>

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Comments

  1. Robert Coghlan - Instantcreditkc.com says:

    Thanks for the explanation. Same words may give different impression depending on the way someone said it. And for auto sales, the manner will also give much difference on others which is actually something normal for business environment.

  2. I host free webinars about every 6 weeks. Consider having your students view those.

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