In the world of automotive sales, using language to elevate emotions can be the difference between creating customers for life and losing your sale to the store next door. In every conversation, the language you use is important. Specific words generate specific emotions.

Last time, we talked about the emotions prospective buyers bring to the process and how important it can be for you as a salesperson to bring yours. At the end, we shared a few ideas for bringing more emotion to your next 10 sales opportunities. Did you try them?

This time we will key in on the important role your words play in getting prospective buyers emotionally involved in the process.

It’s Kind of Like …

Using metaphors and similes (saying something is “like” something else) is a great way to help your customers bypass the pesky rational brain and get right to their emotional gut. By saying, “This truck is strong as an ox. Did you know it was rated the toughest quarter-ton pickup by Forbes magazine last year?” your customer’s mental image of an ox pulling a heavy load becomes emotionally familiar, and the complex details of horsepower, torque and GCWR seem more understandable.

Metaphors and similes build a bridge between what your customer knows and what you’re selling. If you don’t think they work, consider the fact that America went to war in Vietnam because of the threat of communism spreading in a “domino effect.”

A few examples of metaphors and similes:

  • “This car has the feeling you got from the GTO you said you drove in high school.”
  • “The interior of this car is like a warm leather glove on a cool night.”
  • “The annual fuel savings you’ll get with this new six-cylinder engine could pay for a yearly Caribbean cruise.”

Think about the last time you made a significant purchase for your home. Each time one of your friends or relatives asked about your reasons for buying, there were probably one or two key features you consistently brought up to justify your decision. It’s unlikely you ever told anyone you simply bought it because you wanted it!

Those post-sale conversations are important. We want our customers to feel good, even be enthusiastic, about their decision to purchase from us for a long time. As long as they feel good about it, they’re going to give us referrals.

We’ve all got that uncle, brother-in-law or neighbor who questions our major purchases. As professional salespeople, part of our job is giving buyers effective “talking points” for explaining or defending their major purchase to others. Our brains have an insatiable desire to produce good feelings. The better we feel, the more we buy. So tie into your customers’ emotions with memorable phrases that create good feelings.

Create Comfort Through Understanding

Comfort is also an emotion, and your customer must have comfort that they are making a good purchase choice. Use these tools to cultivate understanding and comfort:

  • Tell a story about a past client you helped. Stories build rapport with your customer and help them draw their own conclusions. Stories about other customers also help future buyers see themselves using and enjoying the product.
  • Help your customer get a visual sense of using the automobile for future vacations, greeting loved ones, bragging about it to their friends, or doing something they couldn’t have done before owning the vehicle.

Choose words that go right to the emotional center of the brain when discussing the automobile. Everyone you talk to is looking to maximize their positive and minimize their negative emotions. Some examples of both positive and negative emotional triggers:

  • “With its proven reliability, there’s no need to be apprehensive about surprise repairs.”
  • “There’s a special peace of mind knowing you’re doing everything you can to maximize the safety of your family on the road.”
  • “The attractive design and beautiful wheels on this car can definitely give you a sense of pride when your friends see it in your driveway.”
  • “We’ve never had a customer regret buying the best they could afford, and this model is certainly our best.”

The Big Three

Every buying decision comes down to a choice determined by three things: how well you solve your customer’s problems, how good you make them feel and how many emotional benefits you provide. It’s your job to discover the emotions driving your customer and stoke them with insightful questions and keen observations.

Develop your own metaphors and stories for your next 10 sales opportunities. Take a minute and think about one of the models currently on your lot. Now, key in on just one feature your recent customers have been excited about. Is it horsepower, some kind of convenience/connectivity feature or something to do with safety? Take that feature and develop two or three key phrases. Things like, “This car is as safe as a lifeboat” or “Our new 14-speaker audio system is like being at the concert, but the 10-way adjustable heated seats make the show a lot more comfortable.” If you’re a new consultant, ask one of the seasoned salespeople about their favorite phrases. If you’re one of the old guard, push yourself to come up with something new.

Next, think about the two or three customers who have purchased that model most recently. Call them and find out what they liked most — not just about the car, but also the buying experience. CSI scores are great, but they don’t always give you enough feedback to get your next prospective customer emotionally involved.

To get the best stories while you’re on the phone, ask at least two follow-up questions each time they answer. “That’s great, can I ask who you think uses that feature the most? When is it most beneficial? Why would you say that’s your absolute favorite?”

Try running through this same exercise for every feature of the vehicle over the next 30 days and watch your sales soar. You won’t be able to contain your excitement.

When you have mastered the art of elevating your customer’s emotions, they will spend less money in other areas like home improvements, family vacations and Starbucks so they can afford to come and buy from you. Eventually, they will instinctively know that coming back and working with you will spark emotional triggers of trust and anticipation, which will bring them back again and make it fun to refer their friends — and maybe even their annoying uncles — for years to come.

James Mueller and Steve Howard are the president and founder of No Pressure Selling. [email protected] and [email protected]