control your customer

Your sales manager is always spouting off about how you need to control your customer. I am sure you heard it all before, control your customer, can’t you control your customer, you need to learn how to control your customer, etc…

The fact is that we can’t really control people, at least not legally. You can control the process. You can try to influence your customer. You may even be able to persuade your customer. Typically when you talk about controlling your customer it means to control the sales process.

Most dealerships have a sales process in place that the salespeople are expected to follow. This process may differ slightly from new to used. However, there is a process to follow which is (in many cases) carefully designed to move from one step to the next. So it’s not so much controlling the customer as it is controlling the process.

The good news here is that you can take it to the next level with these 7 tips for controlling your customer. These tips go beyond your dealership’s sales process. These tips take it a step further to the point of persuasion and actually controlling the situation. Master these 7 tips and you will see your sales and commissions increase. However, you must take the time to learn and master these to see the results you desire.

Control Your Customer With These 7 Tips

  1. Have Confidence – Confidence is king when it comes to selling cars for a living. You must look, act and speak confidently. Who would want to buy a car from a salesperson that looks like they slept in their clothes? Would you want to buy from a person that doesn’t have the answers? Salesmen that don’t know their product? Of course, you wouldn’t, so why would anybody else. You won’t have much to control your customer with a bad first impression.

    Confidence always wins. Confidence creates doubt in others. When you are confident you quickly gain respect from your customers. You are more believable and more easily able to build rapport. A strong handshake, eye contact, and a confident voice go a long way to creating trust. Have 100% faith in yourself,  the product and the dealership. You don’t need to be a car sales veteran to have to confidence. You can grow your confidence because it comes from inside. It’s a frame of mind and essential for you to control your customer.  
  2. Listen to Your Customer – You are no stranger to listening to your customer because it’s a very important part of being a car sales professional. There are a few sayings that stress the importance of listening: “Your customer will tell you how to sell them a car if you listen” and “You have two ears and one mouth and so you should listen twice as much as you talk”.

    Listen to your customer, ask questions and build rapport. Learn what they want and need. Understand them and be their problem solver. You are working for them right now so listen closely and gather all the information you will need to control your customer and sell them a car.  
  3. Get to 85% – This refers to your listening and gathering information. You will never get all the information, but if you can get what you believe to be 85% of the information you need it’s time to go to work. Whether it’s narrowing down vehicle selection or pricing and financing information once you have 85% it’s time to move. You may have to do this step more than once.

    One time for vehicle selection, one time for closing the sale and one time for financing and terms. Or you may be able to combine all or some of them together. Either way, don’t wait until you have 100% of the information or you may lose them and create a be-back. You’re a professional car salesperson and you can get the rest as needed.  
  4. What’s the Reason Behind the Reason – Overcoming objections might be a better way to say this? Often the customer will give you objections and you need to overcome them in order to sell a car. However, we all know that the objection is not always the real objection. So you need to find the real reason or the reason behind the reason.

    The favorite car buyer objection is almost always pricing. It’s easy and even if they got 10 internet quotes and yours is the lowest they still object to price. So what’s the real reason? That’s where you come in with questions and listening to discover the real reason. I have talked to many customers after a car salesman couldn’t close them because of the price objection. However after talking and listening I closed them with a different color, trim level, package, and an accessory.

    So the original reason was not the reason. Sometimes it’s you the car salesperson. Maybe they just don’t like you or you remind them of someone they don’t like. Maybe you said something that offended them. It’s hard to tell, but if you believe you are the reason turn it over to a manager. Whatever it is, you need to discover the real reason in order to control your customer. 
  5. Over-Communicate – This is where you talk and control your customer. You want to make sure they are sold on you, the product and the dealership. Make sure they know what they are getting. They are getting you, a great car and a great dealership, free car washes, loaner vehicles, etc… They are getting a safe, economical, state of the art, attractive, sporty, roomy, fashionable, practical or whatever you know they wanted in a car.

    This is where you paint the big picture of them buying your car. Tell them and let them think about things like new warranty, no repair bills, free oil changes, better fuel economy, etc… Have then think about driving their new car to work or on a vacation. Imagine the new car sitting in your driveway or driving down a winding road with the wind in your hair. Communicate the happen ending in their new car that you sold them. 
  6. Be Creative – This comes naturally to most successful car salespeople when you can’t close the sale. That’s when it’s time to be creative. This tip can be closely tied to the previous over communicate tip. Besides painting the picture in their mind you may have to be creative in other ways. This could be switching cars, switching to lease rather than purchase. Maybe 66 payments instead of 60 or even 72 months. Taking out the trade or adding a trade. Working a down payment, more, less, or time. Be creative with whatever you have at your disposal to control the customer and close the sale.  
  7. Emotional Equity – This is the rapport or bond that you have created or nurtured with the customer. In an effort to control your customer you may need to pull out all the stops. Perhaps someone you both know, or kids go to the same school. You both live in the same town. Maybe they were a referral so you can use the person in common to vouch for you. Anything that you can use that you have in common and everything you have learned about them. Use this emotional equity to control your customer and ultimately sell them a car.

controlling your customer car sales

Now you have some information that will help you control your customer. Focus on and master this information and you will be a better car salesperson. When you are aware of the tips and think about them when you are working with a customer you will definitely see an improvement in both controlling and selling cars.

Later, Fresh Up on the Lot


Evan Carmichael has a video from which this post was based. You can see the video on Youtube.

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