With much despair, I have witnessed attempts by some sales trainers to suggest a new way to sell in today’s market. It’s akin to selling while wearing a bicycle helmet. Be careful little one, you might get hurt.
I’ve read about these recommended ways to sell cars today, and thought: “What a bunch of mind games.”
The claim is “Do not sell like it’s the 1990s. Otherwise you’ll be out of business.” The premise is the sales process is completely different. The sales process hasn’t changed but, yes, the car buyer’s access to information and social media has.
Do you really think the car-selling process has changed much in the last five, 10 or 30 years? The Internet has made it easier to sell now. Customers contact fewer dealers and make faster purchases.
The Internet has given everyone much information on vehicle inventory, options, promotions and pricing. The Internet has made customer leads and dealership floor traffic different than they were 15 years ago. But when you actually get a new customer, the sales process is the same.
The Internet gives us information in seconds. Before, it would take days or weeks to get information. The Internet affects every business, from travel to insurance to home sales. Buying anything today has changed.
Fifteen years ago, patients did not question doctors; whatever they said was gold. Today, because of the Internet, people are self-diagnosing and stressing what they have learned. Some people get carried away, acting like graduates of Harvard Medical School. But I’ve been on the medical websites and performed my own self-diagnosis. I’m sure you have too.
Dealership customers are doing vehicle-related Internet searches right in front of salespeople during negotiations. This would be comparable to the old clipboard or newspaper customer from the 1990s. However you look at it, it’s still preferable to close ’em now.
The Internet doesn’t mean people don’t want special attention and extra time spent with them. It’s the opposite. They want more attention and a slower process. Use the Internet as a closing tool.
If you own or manage a dealership, would you rather have strong professionals (even a bit on the high-pressure side) or weak non-professionals cautiously wearing bike helmets?
It doesn’t matter what store you own or manage, many salespeople are not closing the customers now. And because of that, some trainers are trying to teach a new way to sell. It’s fluffy non-fundamental stuff.
Closing customers now is more important than ever in this market. If we had a competition comparing who was a stronger salesperson, the one from the 1990s or one from 2015, who would win?
You can't forget the basics of selling retail. One of the top things is to close the customer today. Too many customers leave the dealership and do the old “be-back” routine. If you can ingrain it in your salespeople’s minds that those customers will never come back, you will sell more vehicles.
The customer who’s sitting in front of you is going to shop you for $100 off the price if you don't close them now, today.
Close them on the spot. This part of the sales process has not changed and never will. The top performers in your dealerships know this and do it every day. The bottom salespeople don't.
Alexander the Great did not become great by holding back. If you feel you’re not closing the sale now or think you have lost that needed negotiating edge, then please revisit the tried, tested and true techniques of a strong sales process.
OK, wearing a helmet while riding a bike is a good idea. In some places, it’s even required by law. But when it comes to showroom sales, it’s time we take the helmet off and not worry about jumping the curb. You’ll be OK.
Darin George is a sales trainer and recruiter for www.visitasc.com. He has an online course for auto salespeople and is the author of two books, Sales Training – Automotive Edition and Sales Process – Can You Sell Me a Pen? He is at [email protected]