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How do the top performers do it?

Visit any dealership in the country; look at the performance and careers of the individuals who sell cars there and those who manage them. There's one very fascinating question to ask each time. How do consistent top performers do it? Is it luck? Is it good looks? What skills do they possess that enable them to out perform their piers, month after month?The truth is, these people have a natural instinct

Visit any dealership in the country; look at the performance and careers of the individuals who sell cars there and those who manage them. There's one very fascinating question to ask each time. How do consistent top performers do it? Is it luck? Is it good looks? What skills do they possess that enable them to out perform their piers, month after month?

The truth is, these people have a natural instinct that can be taught to others and I'll give you a hint, it's not their ability to sell.

As the VP of a large automotive group and a consultant to auto industry leaders, I have had the pleasure of meeting thousands of dealers, managers and salespeople from around the country. Regardless of the product they represent or their dealership location, they are looking for the answer to one frustrating question. How do I get everyone to sell as many cars as my top producer?

Below are some of the solutions in transforming all of your salespeople and management into industry leaders.

Find out how to transform your underachievers into top producers and your stagnant veterans into self-motivated achievers. Give your seven car-a-month rookie the tools to help him or her reach 20 cars per month consistently, within weeks.

The objective is to "gain back the power of negotiating by handing the pleasure of buying back to the customer." Stop selling and communicate

While training and building a foundation for new or experienced salespeople, the initial focus should be on what they themselves have to offer the customer and not their ability to sell or manipulate. In other words, if the product they were selling had no obvious advantages over its competition and the dealerships were the same distance from the customer's home, with whom would the customer rather do business? This promotes the opportunity for much higher grosses, increased closing ratios and a more pleasant experience for customers and salespeople.

When salespeople only use their location, pricing and product to sell we become like every other dealer. Having a product or geographic advantage over your competition should be the icing on the cake and not the cake.

We all know how to sell. We do it everyday of our lives. If someone will benefit by having someone else do something for them, they will try to convince him or her to do it. Using sales pitches and cliches without knowing how to communicate them correctly will often create the exact opposite reaction than was initially intended.

Don't create a monster If your training is geared towards meet, greet and qualify, you could be creating a monster. If you give car keys to someone who never drove before, they will figure out how to drive the car. But, how safe do you think the passengers would feel? If you give sales cliches and sales pitches to salespeople, whose livelihood and job depends on closing a deal, who is safe out there?

We need to show our salespeople the power of effective communication. What's in it for me?

There is one question a customer asks himself or herself throughout the entire process. What's in it for me? If they have something to gain by sharing information with you, they will. If they feel only you benefit from sharing information, you lose. For example: why should a customer tell a salesperson the price range they are thinking of? The customer believes this information will be used against them. Therefore, we must give the customer a reason to share this information.

Try this, "Mr. Customer, give me an idea of what you're comfortable with as far as a monthly payment, not a commitment, just an idea so I can point us in the right direction." The customer may say, " I'm not sure, I haven't thought about that." Salesman: " The reason I ask is because I don't want to show you a vehicle that will not make sense for you or NOT show you something beautiful that may work PERFECTLY."

This gives the customer a huge benefit to answer the question accurately and willingly. This is the type of Non-Confrontational Power Selling tool verbiage we need to share with our salespeople.

How do you answer the question of what's in it for me when trying to convince a customer to take action?

Third party stories are another very effective way of encouraging customers to share vital information and to take action.

Customers prefer to make their own decisions; therefore, sharing the experience of another customer offers them the opportunity to make the right decision on their own. For instance, let's say you have a woman customer who likes your vehicle and is close to making a decision but is apprehensive about taking a test drive. Pressuring her with traditional sales tactics will only push you both farther apart. But you know if she drove the car, you would have a sale.

Share with her a short story about a customer last week who loved the car and felt if she drove it she would want to take it home but wasn't ready to make a decision. Explain how you respected this customer's decision but that she did decide to take a short drive and that she just stopped by on Tuesday to bring a friend for the same deal and tell you how happy she was with her decision.

This way of communicating encourages the sharing of vital information and helps in motivating the customer to take action rather than stifling one another and causing a win/ lose situation that is so often present.

Don't give the customer what they expect Today's customers, including the Internet customer, are more educated than ever before and in some cases know more than your salespeople. They have tried to remove the salesperson from as much of the process as possible by gathering information online. What does this tell us? They do not trust us. So what do we do? It's what we don't do that will make the difference.

When a customer enters your store, they are most likely feeling anxious about what they are expecting. Therefore, their behavior is artificial and what they say is not really what they mean. For instance, when salespersons approach a customer, introduce themselves and ask, "How can I help you?" The customer may reply, "We're just looking."

To the salesperson, this is a cue to start qualifying. The customer may perceive any further probing from the salesperson, as the salesperson being too pushy. Let's decode what the customer really means and what they are thinking in this scenario.

The customer most likely is thinking, "If I ask a question, you will follow me around and bother me the whole time, just like the last guy at the other dealership." Meanwhile, the customer would love help, but is afraid of what will happen if they invite the salesperson in.

If you have salespeople that seem to have what it takes but just cannot get over the hump or salespeople who just don't seem to get it, don't give up. Give them the tools they need and encourage them to communicate by being a human and not a salesperson. The bonus is everyone will benefit personally and professionally.

David Jacobson is a national sales trainer, speaker and the author of Non-Confrontational Power Selling. He can be reached at 516-289-7800 Ext. 342 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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