If you are working at your local auto show this year, it's critical to have a strategy on how you are going to maximize your time and contacts.
Have a game plan. Don't go in blind. The auto makers and show staff have spent hundreds of hours and sometimes millions of dollars to get people to see your product.
I've worked at many auto shows as a sales person and sales manager. I've trained sales people on how to greet and qualify people at the shows.
There's a saying, “Everything speaks.” It means everything — your exhibit, your vehicles, your people, your greeting and how you finish — is critical.
The following plan has been designed to maximize getting customer names, telephone numbers, future appointments and possibly sales.
Smile. It's the best way to introduce yourself in a positive light. People like individuals who are like themselves, so mirror their posture, actions and manner of speaking (without being too obvious). It builds rapport quickly.
Say something like: “Hi! Welcome to the show. My name is Darin and your name is? How are you enjoying the show? Have you seen our new vehicles yet?”
After the introduction, make sure you write down the customer's name, but do so without them knowing it. It's embarrassing to call someone by the wrong name. On the other hand, people like to hear their names mentioned in conversation.
Do not hand out your business card during your introduction. Wait until you have built value in yourself. Then give them a card. Be patient. The show is not about how many cards you can pass out. It's about quality of leads, not quantity.
The following are some great contact questions to ask immediately after your greeting. Feel free to modify or add a few. Make sure you rehearse and practice these before you go to the big show.
“Did you know that ___ (manufacturer's name) was established in __ by ___ ?”
“Did you know that ___ (manufacturer's name) was/is/did/does ___ ?” A point of interest about your manufacturer builds historical credibility. (Also, if you are having a special on a particular vehicle or vehicles mention that immediately, even if the person is not interested.)
“The ___ (series/car) has been won ___ (award/distinction/rating) according to ___ (magazine/company/source)?”
“Did you know that you can get into this new vehicle now for about ___ dollars a month?”
“What features do you have in your present vehicle that you would like in a new one?”
Get Phone Numbers
Do not just hope that people are going to call you. You'll benefit much more from the show leaving with 10 or more names and numbers rather than handing out 100 business cards. Use one of the following to capture phone numbers:
“So Mr. Jones, if you would like to give me your home or office number, I can let you know what some of the payment would be.
“Ms. Smith, if you would give me your home or office number, I would be more than happy to invite you to our dealership for a complete demonstration drive of the vehicle.”
Close the Sale at the Show
Yes, it can happen. When you have someone who is on the fence or seemingly ready to purchase a vehicle, ask:
“Ok then, if I could give you our special auto show prices and payments now, and they are agreeable, would you like to order the new vehicle today?” (If it's “yes,” continue with closing and make sure once you have agreed on some numbers you secure the vehicle with a strong deposit.
Darin's Wrap Up
Get telephone numbers.
Get customer appointments.
Maybe even sell a vehicle at the show.
Have fun and make your work at the show an encore performance.