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.

The average salesperson sounds something like this:

  • “This is the best truck there is on the market today. Nothing can touch it. We’ve also got the best deals because we’re miles ahead of the competition. You’d might as well get it now and not waste your time looking any further.”
  • “Our dealership will do more for you than any of the others. You really should buy from us.”
  • “This special pricing is only available for a few more days. Why waste your time shopping around? You can’t get anything like this for less.”

When salespeople say things like that they’re doing nothing more than adding to the old stereotype of car salespeople as being right up there with lawyers on the list of people you least want to spend your time with. When they use such aggressive methods, what are they doing? They’re pushing, aren’t they? They’re nagging, pleading, arguing. They’re telling potential clients things they may not care to hear. They’re trying to ram obvious self-serving statements down the future clients’ throats. In effect, they are saying, “I’m out to make you buy something. The only reason I’m doing that is to put money in my pocket, and I don’t care whether what you buy helps you or not. I’ve got a quota to meet.”

True Champions, those who make successful long-term careers in the automotive business realize that telling isn’t selling. Champion salespeople never make people feel they’re being pushed for the simple reason that they never push. What they do instead is to lead. They find out by asking questions where the buyer wants to go. Then, they take them there.

Champions lead their prospects from the initial contact to happy involvement in new or used vehicles by not talking all of the time, but by listening most of the time, and by asking artful questions. In all this alert and pointed questioning, the true professional maintains a friendly attitude of interest and understanding that encourages the prospect to open up and give the desired information freely.

They ask questions about the current vehicle or vehicles they own. They ask about past vehicles the clients may have loved. Current needs as to length of time on the road, number of passengers, cargo space requirements, safety and economy are all considered. Top pros come across as expert advisors whose only focus is on finding the right vehicle at the right investment involving the shortest time period possible. It’s all about the time and convenience of the client.

In fact, there’s a dealership in my local area that’s bragging about one of the most common objections people have to shopping for a new vehicle—the length of time required to do it. They are promising not more than one hour of time to handle all the paperwork required for an automotive purchase. One hour from decision to drive-away. The only way they can make and keep a promise like that is to have their sales team gather all the necessary information for the paperwork as they discuss the various vehicles. They have to ask the right questions in order to hear the right answers to economize on the client’s time.

Have you ever been surprised at how freely you’ve talked to certain salespeople before buying from them? They were alert and interested. You felt comfortable with them. Recalling those conversations, you may think you were leading and the salesperson was following. Superficially, that may have been true. In a deeper sense, however, that professional salesperson was leading all the way and you were following all the way.

How did that happen? The Champion sales professional encourages you to start off in your direction of interest. Once you set your direction, he or she gets smoothly in front and begins to lead you toward any of several open paths to purchase. When artful questioning reveals which of the several paths is best, the Champion guides you smoothly and warmly to the best solution they have to offer for your needs. Because you don’t feel you’re being sold, you choose to own!

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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