Buying and selling today, regardless of what your product is, is drastically different now than it was 50 years ago. Door-to-door selling is a thing of the past and most companies and products have ways to do most of the shopping or preliminary information harvesting online and without the presence of a salesperson.
This is becoming true in the automobile industry as well. Manufacturers and dealerships are looking for ways to provide the customer with a fully online experience.
For this reason, you need to ensure that your sales strategy is up-to-date with the current trends as much as possible. Sales associates are not obsolete but you do need to up your game to prevent being left behind.
It’s important to do things differently, to present a different angle to the customer, an angle that makes them want to come to you when they want to purchase a vehicle. These five pointers will help you get ready for 2018 with a sales strategy that will get results.
Keep Prospecting Under Control
The goal of every sales associate should be to not have to rely on prospecting to get sales.
Sure, that may be a lofty goal, but if you are doing your homework properly and you’re establishing yourself as trustworthy, credible, and knowledgeable then people will seek you out when it comes time for them to purchase a vehicle.
There are ways to let people know what you do without shoving it down their throats.
If a customer has the choice to purchase from a stranger or purchase from someone they know and respect, the person they know will win every time UNLESS you have made a pest of yourself at every turn and they run when they see you coming.
Prospecting also can be done in more subtle ways which leads the customer to them while making it seem like it was their idea.
There’s a reason that consumers are looking for online-only methods of purchasing vehicles; sales associates have a reputation of being pushy, rude, and unconcerned with the needs of the consumer. Work on changing that perception in 2018.
Remember, It’s not about You
It’s very easy for a sales associate to get caught up in their product when they are talking to prospective buyers.
Suddenly the conversation is all about your product, your sales, what makes your vehicles unique or better than someone else’s, and the customer gets lost.
If you want to increase your sales for 2018, stop talking about you and your dealership and your vehicles like they are the best in the world.
It’s one thing to have business practices that make you a consumer favorite, it’s another thing to have an inflated ego and do nothing but talk about yourself or your dealership during your conversations. It’s not about YOU, it’s not about your dealership, it is about what your buyers’ needs and preferences are.
This doesn’t mean put your dealership down, or ANY dealership for that matter. Bad mouthing the competition is in poor taste and won’t get you more sales.
It means be informative about your vehicles and sales so you can intelligently answer their questions, but more importantly be HELPFUL in finding what they are looking for in a vehicle, in a special, in financing, whatever the issue is.
What does the buyer want? What are they looking for? How can you help them with their needs? There will be plenty of time to answer their questions and then you can talk about why buying from you is better for them because you will know their pain points and can structure a deal that takes care of those.
If you want to meet the needs of your buyers, you won’t do it by shoving your dealership or your vehicles in their face, you’ll do it by proving to them that you sincerely care about what they want and that you can provide it for them.
Keep Your Messages Short and to the Point – One of the most popular ways to contact buyers these days is through email or text message.
You don’t have to explain everything you want to say in those messages. The idea is to say just enough to get them to call or message you back.
Emails and texts are great but the major thing missing from them is tone. You can say something through email or text that the buyer takes the wrong way because they couldn’t hear the smile in your voice or they mistake it for being rude, snarky, or any number of other things. Use email and texting to entice them to call you.
The best way to entice them is not to promise them empty things. Be real, be straightforward, and ask for the call. If they had a question that you had to get back to them about and you have the answer, shoot a quick text or email asking them if you can have a few minutes to give them the answers to their inquiries.
Once you have proven yourself to be helpful in getting answers for them, they will be much more receptive to getting on the phone with you and you can go from there.
Create a Different Kind of Networking Event – Shaking hands and buying prospects drinks or dinner was the way business was conducted many years ago.
That isn’t done as much now except for the higher end, getting-the-contract type of deals that companies still engage in when companies are wanting to land huge deals with other companies.
Building trust through networking events still have their value especially if you use unconventional ideas for your event. It is important to provide value and knowledge and not make it JUST about selling vehicles.
Think outside the box. If you want to attract consumers interested in purchasing a vehicle why not set up a tent/table outside the dealership with an advertisement on how to get financing even for difficult situations?
This is a pain point that many consumers have and the interest that generates could cause them to drive into the dealership parking lot to see what is going on.
Make sure that your event is on the up and up and have your financing manager/staff on hand with information on the different financing options you offer for all kinds of situations.
You will lose trust and credibility if you’re advertising a networking event that can help consumers get financing and then no information is available for them to see and no one for them to speak to regarding their financial challenges.
Do NOT Use Scripted Sales Information – No one wants to talk to someone who is reading sales scripts to them. They want to talk to someone real, someone who knows their stuff.
There is nothing wrong with writing down key points for yourself so you can keep the call on track and cover everything you want to cover, but reading scripts will be a surefire way to have that call ended as quickly as they can.
Make these sales calls friendly, personable without being fake, and informative. Get to the point quickly and don’t sound robotic, overly enthusiastic, or pushy.
If you are fortunate enough to get a consumer on the phone right away, that is a make or break moment for you, treat it carefully and make a great impression by being sincere, honest, and interested in helping THEM.
If your only goal is to get all of your sales information in as fast as possible, you will lose them as a customer. The way that first call is handled or even subsequent calls, will pave the way for you with not only that buyer, but every person they know who is looking to buy a vehicle as well.
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