I am writing this article knowing that is has been written 1,000 times by 1,000 different “experts”. This is my take on defining the steps of a car sale process. Would I consider myself an expert? No. I hate that title. However, I have used this process for years and have been involved in thousands of car deals.
How many times have you seen a new salesperson come in and start of strong their first few months only to fall off? I have seen it countless times. As a trainer, I almost have to let it happen. Once it does, we can really start the coaching. Why does this happen? It’s simple, they start off by following the steps of the sale. After a few good months, they start to think they are smarter than the process and start to skip steps. It is not until you have been humbled by this business that you can truly learn and grow. The ones that don’t, simply fade away. I like to call them the “I used to sell cars” group. The ones that truly try to perfect their craft are the ones you see making life changing money.
If you spent any time on my website, you will see I have one simple goal: Be the best. It’s not just me personally being the best. I want to bring everyone up around me. I want everyone to change their family’s lives with the kind of money that can be made in this business.
Over years of training, whether it be as a trainer, sales manager, or general manager, I have realized that the only thing that can’t be trained is the “want to”. As hard as I have tried, I can’t make somebody want to be successful. That’s all internal. If you truly have the drive and hunger to be the best, learn the process and follow it religiously.
You have to hold yourself accountable to follow the process. The process works if you follow it.
Below I have process that has been tested over years of sales experience. The best part is it can be tweaked to fit any store.
1) Meet and greet
2) Customer interview
4) Demo drive
5) Service/ dealership walk
6) Numbers presentation
7) TO (turn over)
Let’s dive into each individual step.
Meet and greet: This is your first impression to the customer. The customer walks in. You HAVE to be energetic and welcoming. STAND UP!!! Do not sit at your desk and say something like “Can I help you”. Stand up and say, “welcome to ABC Motors, how can I help you today?” Most likely, the customer has been to another store before yours. It is also likely that some salesperson has already rubbed them the wrong way because if a terrible first impression. It takes zero talent to make a good first impression.
Customer Interview: In my opinion, this is the most important step. This is where you ask questions and fact find with the customer. I have another article dedicated to just the interview. In that article, I have examples of good questions to ask. You want to know as much about the customer as possible. If you ask questions and are warm and welcoming, the customer will tell you exactly how to sell them a car. I talk about this later, the most powerful statement you can make is “earlier you told me”. If you do a bad interview, you lose that power.
Walk Around: You have done the interview and know what car they are looking for. Do not just make a copy of their license and throw them the keys and let them wander the lot looking for the car. Go outside and pull the car up for them. Open the doors, trunk, and hood. During the interview, you learned about important features to the customer. Point out those same features to the customer. If they have a family, talk about safety and cargo space. If it is a single guy looking at a Dodge Charger, talk about the 5.7L Hemi engine will all the horsepower and torque. Are you showing a minivan? Point out the stow and go seats or the rear entertainment. A good salesperson can build value and excitement in a Daewoo.
Demo Drive: This step has changed with Covid. I used to require salespeople to go on the demo drive with the customers. You can learn a ton of info about the customer and their thoughts on the car during the drive. However, Covid has changed things. I want everyone to be safe. Most people are not comfortable doing that now. That’s ok. If you don’t want to go, or are a one man show, you can highlight key features you want the customer to experience during their demo drive. Give them a route to follow. Allow the customers to take a good test drive. If you tell them they can’t go farther than 1 mile or just take it around the block, they think you are hiding something. Perceived transparency will go a long way.
Service/dealership walk: If you have service on site and it isn’t a total disaster, show your customer. Explain your recon process. Build value in the dealership. Talk about amenities like coffee and drinks. This is the step that is a little different for everyone. You might sell cars out of a trailer that is falling apart, or even a tent. You can still talk about how well the dealership reconditions their cars. I always like to say that we focus on the mechanical parts of the cars. Anyone can throw on some bondo and paint. We take the time to make sure these cars are running well.
Numbers Presentation: At this point, you have confirmed that they like the car. You have asked them the buying questions. “If we can agree on numbers, are you taking this car home today?” This is another aspect of the process that varies from dealer to dealer. Some stores print out a very professional numbers breakdown showing sales price, term, interest rate, and amount financed along with payment options. Some stores write it out with a Sharpie. Other stores flip around a computer screen. I would recommend printing out something showing the customer their options. Every DMS (dealer management system) has some sort of customer proposal that can be printed out. This is another step in earning the trust of the customer. Next, ASK THEM TO BUY! It sounds crazy, I know. Ask your customer if they would like to take the vehicle home today.
TO (turn over): This goes a few different ways, depending on if the customer has agreed to buy or not. This also depends on dealership structure. If you are a one man show, there is no one else there and you wear every hat. I will break it all down and give some different options.
If they don’t say yes when you ask them to buy and you have already tried to overcome their objections, get a manager involved. The old saying goes “change of face change of pace”. Believe it or not, a customer will tell the manager things they won’t tell you. I have seen it hundreds of times. Don’t be too proud to TO it to a manager.
If they say yes, now it is time to TO it to your finance manager. Like I said before, every dealer doesn’t have the same structure. Maybe you are the finance manager as well. That’s fine, put on your finance hat. Understand that different parts of the sale need to be executed differently. My next article will dive into what that finance process should look like.
To sum everything up, LEARN THE PROCESS! Get really good at it. You should be able to recite the process after 10 beers, or whatever you’re into. Once you have your process down, you can really start to develop your sales skills.
Tune in for more info coming soon.