Most car buyers are expecting their car salesman to take every opportunity to sell them more car than they need, want or can afford. Car buyers are conditioned to be skeptical about everything the car salesman says. They naturally assume you are going to do everything you can to increase the sales price, the profit and ultimately your commission. Most of you already know this because we deal with this on a daily basis. The real question here is whether you as the car salesman are feeding their fears or easing their anxiety and earning their trust.
I have always said that enthusiasm sells cars and it does, but sometimes too much misdirected enthusiasm can only create a more skeptical car buyer. Let me clarify a little bit here, because we need to be enthusiastic about our product, but not about the sale itself. Don’t let your product enthusiasm get out of control to the point that your customer feels like you are only concerned about one thing, your commission. Your enthusiasm should be about your product, your dealership and your customer’s overall satisfaction, but no more.
Granted, for the most part we are primarily concerned about selling a car and making a juicy commission. However if your customer believes that you are more concerned about making a sale than making a happy customer you going to have a hard time closing the sale. You must do more than tell your customer that you want them to be happy and satisfied with their purchase. You have to make them feel and believe that you genuinely care about their wants, needs and concerns. Face it, if they don’t feel good about buying a new car from you and your dealership they won’t and there’s not much you can do about it once they ask for your card and promise to be-back.
Sometimes the Car Salesman Needs to Back It Off
No matter what kind of car you are selling it’s not going to be the end-all and be-all of every car buyer, so don’t pretend it is. All too often I see car salesmen that have trouble controlling their enthusiasm overselling their product. This overselling makes car buyers question your motives. Remember, you are selling cars and like the saying goes, no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, its still a pig. People love cars, but they’re still cars and when you make too big a deal out of people buying cars they naturally assume car salesmen have ulterior motives.
The secret to being a successful car salesman is being able to walk a fine line in numerous situations and with all kinds of people. Knowing how much is enough and how much is too much before its too late. Being animated and excited about your product is essential, but you also need to be passionate about filling your customer’s needs.
When we sell cars for a living we are typically conditioned to up-sell a customer. Push, push, push and sell, sell, sell it’s what we do and how we make a living and that’s why car buyers are skeptical when they visit the dealership. We use switch cars, accessories, options and after sales products to increase our commission. However sometimes you need to back it off a little to earn the trust of your customer and make the deal.
Instead of constantly pushing and selling it can do you a world of good to down-sell rather than up-sell your customer. That’s right I said down-sell, it’s against everything you’ve been taught about selling cars, but sometimes it’s the perfect solution. Depending on the customer and the situation it makes sense to show them a lower trim level, a lesser option or suggest a lesser product. This simple act alone can turn a customer around.
When you do the opposite of what the car buyer expects and you tell them that you can save them some money you will really get their attention. If you suggest a lower trim level and show them the minor differences or suggest a dealer installed option that will make the lower trim level acceptable you will see a few things happen. For one the customer will start believing that you are working for them and you really do care about their satisfaction. Sometimes the customer will do exactly the opposite and up-sell themselves, but it’s their idea not yours.
What I am talking about here is not a last ditch effort in order to save a deal. This should be done before it gets down to negotiation. This down-selling or under-selling should be used during vehicle selection or the test drive. You want to do this early enough in the car buying process to help you build rapport, earn trust and move forward. You should never enter negotiation until you have vehicle selection down without question. When you switch or down-sell you customer during negotiation you will not achieve the same results because it just looks like you are desperate and doing anything to make a sale (we do that too, but not here).
It’s all the little things that make a difference when you sell cars for a living. Its about walking the fine line of a successful car salesman and knowing when and how much and that’s why the car salesman can earn six figures selling cars. Control your enthusiasm, stop overselling and try underselling when the situation makes sense. Overselling can hurt sales and underselling can hurt profits so walk the fine line and use whatever tool is need for the situation and sell more cars.
Later, Fresh Up on the Lot
Patty · April 9 at 1:15 pm
Perfectly said and how ironic that I was just training on this approach (lower trim level) about an hour ago! Great stuff … thanks! I’ll use your article as “3rd Party Validation” to what I’m training our staff on! Happy Sales 🙂
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