What is the right mindset for selling vehicles? Top salespeople are optimistic, empathetic, respectful, and concerned for their customers’ welfare. These qualities permeate all their interactions with customers, from the initial welcome to qualifying, closing, delivery, and follow-up.
Optimism. Great salespeople believe that every customer is a solid prospect and, if they do their job well, the customer will buy. It’s easy to look at a young 22-year old woman shopping alone or a 40-year-old-man dressed in torn jeans and a sloppy t-shirt and think, “This person will never buy a vehicle, so I’m not going to waste much time with her or him.” This attitude turns people off, as they sense you are not really interested in assisting them. It will cost you many sales a month. Statistics show that 82 percent of the people entering a dealership are there to buy. Don’t make assumptions, as looks can be very deceiving. Treat every person who enters the showroom as a potential customer and you’ll have a better chance to sell them. You never want to be the one who stops the sale.
Empathy. Studies show that, for most people, buying a vehicle is extremely stressful. Indeed, simply walking into a dealership can elevate blood pressure. After all, vehicles are the second biggest purchase people make after buying a home, and many have had bad experiences before. They may worry about being pressured by a “pushy” salesperson, making a bad decision they’ll have to live with for years, or not getting the best possible price. Salespeople who put themselves in their customers’ shoes try hard to put them at ease. They welcome their customers to the dealership with a warm smile and solid handshake, ask the names of everyone in the party, and let them know they’re there to assist them in purchasing the right vehicle for them. They take the time to establish a relationship, so that their customers relax. They notice things—the car they’re currently driving, a smart tie or watch, car seats, bumper stickers—and make a positive sincere compliment about them. It’s all too easy to overlook this step, but the time you spend up making friends up front will be extremely beneficial in the end.
Respect. Salespeople who respect their customers understand that they are in the best position to know what they want, need, and can afford. They demonstrate that respect by asking lots of questions and actively listening to their customers’ answers. Although qualifying the customer is a critical step in selling vehicles, market research and our own secret shoppers have found that many salespeople skip right over it. All too often, they simply begin by describing the features and benefits of the vehicle their customers happen to be eyeing on the showroom floor. Or, they describe the vehicle that they think their customer would like, based on their own preferences. They don’t spend nearly enough time trying to learn about their customers’ past experience with the dealership, including the salesperson they dealt with before; what they like or don’t like about the vehicle they are currently driving; why they are looking for a new vehicle; how they plan to use it; and the features they are looking for including power, handling, dependability, safety, affordability, and various electronic and other options.
Concern. Great salespeople care about their customers’ welfare, not just their own commission. This may sound counterintuitive, but whom would you rather buy from—a salespeople who is genuinely interested in your wants and needs or one who pushes the most expensive model or some other model that the dealer is trying to unload? My wife once went into a dealership to purchase the same model she had driven for years and loved. She was surprised when the salesperson suggested that she test drive another model—one that was actually lower-priced. She hated the experience and never went back to that dealership again. More frequently, salespeople try to “upsell” people who enter the store, and this can also frustrate customers and drive them away. Even if they do buy, knowingly putting people into vehicles they can’t afford is not a winning strategy in the long run. It may yield short-term profits, but these customers are not likely to come back, may badmouth the dealership, and ultimately damage your reputation.
Summary, Prior to saying hello to your next customer, instill the right mindset by saying to yourself, “This person is here to buy. I am a great sales person and my customers like and respect me. I appreciate all my customers, put them at ease, listen to them, and try and solve their problems.” By saying positive statements like these over and over again (essentially making positive affirmations), your sub- conscience mind will internalize these thoughts, you will begin to believe them, and you will act accordingly. In turn, your customers will know that you listen and care, and they will be more apt to buy.