It does not matter if you live in a blue state, red state, green state or purple state. It does not matter if you sell Kia, Ford or Mercedes. When the modern consumer steps into your showroom two things are certain: one, they would rather be sitting in the dentist chair than dealing with a car salesman and two, under no circumstance are they buying a car today, period. If you’ve been selling cars for one year or 20 years, I am sure you have heard every objection known to man:
“I just want your best price (so I can go visit 3 of your competitors).”
“I really don’t have much time, (even though I drove 20 miles to get here on my day off).”
“We’re just looking for some information, (even though I know more about this car than you will ever know).”
Fill in your own objection: ____
At our dealership, we grew tired of seeing the customer come in so defensive and the salesperson act so nervous. We brought in our training partner, to help us refine our sales and coaching process, build the skills our sales staff needed to sell more cars and create the tightest run most non-confrontational sales floor in the world. We are able to accomplish this all with just Seven Golden Nuggets!
Golden Nugget #1: No Problem!
I recently saw a book titled “386 Secrets to Overcoming Sales Resistance.” I don’t know about your staff, but my guys just aren’t that smart (even 10 is pushing it). We learned that with the first Golden Nugget they could handle every conceivable objection. When a customer throws a potentially disruptive and distracting comment/objection at you, the last thing they expect to hear is “No problem …” We have found that responding with “No problem …” and a genuine desire to resolve the issue compels the customer to drop their ready for battle attitude.
Golden Nugget #2: Benefit
By using the “No Problem” the salesperson can regain control of the situation and steer the customer back on track. The salesperson can begin to uncover the customer’s true wants and needs so they can select the right vehicle to match those wants and needs exactly. Regaining control requires more information. To get more information from the customer, we need to provide a benefit. The good news is the customer actually provides us with that benefit any time they throw us an objection. To respond with a benefit to the objections listed above, we simply lead in with “So that I can …” and restate the customers request. For example:
“So that I can give you our best price …”
“So that I can save you some time …”
“So that I can get you all the information you are looking for …”
Golden Nugget #3: Request
“No problem” creates a climate where customers want to communicate with us; providing a “benefit” gives them a logical reason for agreeing to your “request”, which is simply this:
“May I ask you a few quick questions?”
“Please have a seat.”
Golden Nugget #4: Guest Survey
Now that you’ve disarmed the customer, slowed them down, regained control and have them seated in front of you, you better have a plan. With BZ’s help, we recently threw away our ugly yellow worksheets and created a colorful, informative sheet called the Guest Survey. The Guest Survey provides our sales staff with an easy to use, non-confrontational method of gathering all the information needed to uncover the customer’s true wants and needs. Some of the questions we like are:
“Are you adding a vehicle or replacing your vehicle? Would you like an estimate?”
“What do you love about your current vehicle? What are some things you’d like to improve about it?”
“What are some of the things you must have? What are some things you’d like to have?”
And my favorite…
“Of everything that’s important to you, what’s the one thing you hope to accomplish with your visit today?”
Golden Nugget #5: Confirm and Clarify or C2
Throughout the Guest Surveys it is very important to develop and use Golden Nugget #5.
Confirm and Clarify (C2) is a communication skill our sales people use to dig deep and explore the valuable information the customer is providing us. By listening and confirming you are showing respect. The goal is to confirm and clarify the customer’s response.
“When you say safety is important to you (confirm) what do you mean by that? (clarify)”
“You said you needed more room (confirm), what do you mean by that? (clarify) … Tell me more.”
It’s amazing how often we assume we know what the customer meant only to find out that we were way off base and would never know that without C2. It is also amazing how much you learn about the customer and how you can develop common ground.
Golden Nugget #6: Sim/Sim (Offer Alternatives 100 percent)
The last question we ask our customers before heading out to select a vehicle is this:
“If there were a similar vehicle, with similar equipment that was a better value, would you consider it, or should we rule that out?”
“If there were a similar vehicle, with similar features that could save you some money, would you consider it, or should we rule that out?”
This one question is important to gauge just how flexible the customer is and to set the stage for an alternative to what they originally asked for. Statistics show that 86 percent of new and used car buyers leave with something other than what they originally came in to purchase.
Golden Nugget #7: Stamp the Hood
Once we’ve selected, presented and demonstrated the vehicle, our salespeople are trained to ask one very important question,
“On a scale of one to 10, 10 being the best, how would you rate the vehicle you just drove?” Nothing new about a trial close, but what we do with the customer’s response can make or break the deal. If it’s a seven or better, the salesperson is trained to respond with, “Great! What do you like that makes it a 7?” This gets the customer to articulate what they like which builds value and gets them to sell themselves. The salesperson would then ask: “What would make it a 10?” A response of less than seven indicates that we may need to select a different vehicle. We save so much time by not going to the desk with fives. Once the salesperson has executed the Seven Golden Nuggets, it’s time to visit the coach’s desk to determine what we need to do to sell a car today.
Following a clearly defined sales process that is built around the Seven Golden Nuggets has brought consistency to our sales team and desk managers; consistency reduces turnover and increases sales.
Auto retail veteran and F&I products expert Paul McCarthy has joined AUL Corp. as vice president of national sales.