ACV facts & figures
Our Proven Car Sales Closing Techniques
Vehicles are a necessity for many people. As such, car salespeople are seen as a necessary evil.
There’s no getting around the fact that the majority of car buyers don’t have the highest opinion of car salespeople. Therein lies the first big hurdle of closing car deals. Before the customer even steps foot on the lot they are already resistant to your pitch. And that pitch needs to sell not only the car but also yourself and the dealership.
The 2016 Consumer Automotive Index from Beepi Inc. and Harris Poll found that 87% of Americans disliked some part of the car buying process at the dealership. Over half of people feel downright uncomfortable interacting with car salespeople and feel pressured to buy right away. More importantly, for salespeople was that 61% of people surveyed felt taken advantage of when dealing with the dealership. Obviously, some trust issues need to be worked out.
There’s also the financial aspect. A car is a big purchase that most people don’t take lightly. For some, the price tag is downright anxiety-inducing. Buyers want to feel confident they are making a good investment, but with so many options and unknowns that isn’t always easy.
Making the customer comfortable and initiating a conversation is the first of many steps to close a car deal. That comes with asking the right car sales closing questions.
Car Sales Closing Questions That Open the Lines of Communication
As a car salesperson, you want to ask questions that 1.) give you insight into what the buyer is thinking and feeling and/or 2.) you know will get a “yes” answer. The more you can get them to agree with you, the better. While you want yes answers, you’ll also want to ask open-ended questions rather than close-ended questions. Open-ended questions require in-depth answers that hint at what the buyer is thinking and feeling. Therefore are the best car sales questions because the buyer can’t answer with a simple “yes” or “no” answer.
Some questions you’ll want to ask include:
- What kind of vehicle are you looking for?
- Is there a specific vehicle that brought you to our dealership?
- What do you love/hate about your current vehicle?
- What’s the most important feature?
- How do you feel about reducing the cargo space if you get more room for passengers?
- What is your price?
- Were you interested in taking it for a test drive to see how it handles?
Some examples of questions that can be asked after you’ve already gathered information on what the buyer is looking for are
- This model has upgraded safety features. You said safety was a top priority, right?
- That price fits within your budget, correct?
- What do you think about the newest model of the (whatever vehicle they’re interested in)?
The truth is if they have decided to visit a dealership, they’re serious about buying a car and want to get a closer look at the options. Asking the right questions can help you hone in on the best vehicles for their needs and the objections you need to overcome while building rapport.
As you ask the questions above, remember to remain upbeat. Your disposition influences the customer more than you know. Enthusiasm always makes closing car deals a lot easier.
Now, on to more of the best car sales closing techniques.
Car Sales Tips: Closing a Deal More Effectively
The #1 thing to keep in mind is that effective car sales closing techniques are focused on getting the deal done that day. Anyone who’s worked the lot for more than a week knows that when a buyer says they’ll be back rarely will they be seen again. But if you’re overzealous, you’ll make the buyer feel pressured and potentially kill a deal that could have been closed.
How do you balance encouraging a customer to buy without being too pushy? Keep reading to learn the best car sales closing techniques that are used by the top closers at any dealership.
Listen Instead of Convincing
One of the best tips to close car sales is to focus on listening, not convincing. These days buyers have easy access to information online and have done their research before visiting a dealership. Most buyers already have a good idea of what they want, and they don’t want to be sold on something else. Your job is to figure out exactly what they want in a new vehicle to deliver the absolute best option that checks all the boxes. That requires listening to the buyer.
You’re listening for:
- Pain Points
Features, financing options, what the vehicle will be used for - all of these things reveal critical information for closing car deals. Use it to suggest two or three vehicles and then rundown how each one meets their needs and wants or avoids their pain points and dislikes.
Be Service-minded at All Times
No customer that receives first-class service is going to be unhappy with their experience. Providing exceptional service starts with listening and means always putting the buyer’s best interest first. Do that, and the buyer is more likely to send business your way and come back when it’s time for a new car.
Forget about Your Commission
If commission is at the forefront of your mind, it’s much harder to put the buyer’s best interest first. It can also cloud your judgment when you’re deciding which vehicle is the best fit for their wants and needs. Your best bet for earning a commission is to forget about it while you’re interacting with a buyer.
Look over the Carfax Report
Building trust is imperative and not easy to do when buyers have preconceived notions. One way you can win them over is by going over the Carfax report. This shows that you’re transparent and honestly representing the vehicle. Plus, buyers will appreciate the additional information.
Know Your Inventory
Buyers need to be confident that you know what you’re talking about if they’re making a purchase that costs tens of thousands. There’s a very good chance the buyer has done their research online and already knows a lot about the vehicle they’re interested in purchasing. If they know more than you do, making a sale is much more difficult.
That doesn’t mean you have to know every single detail about every vehicle on the lot, which is basically impossible. However, you do need to be up-to-speed on the key features, specs and things that interest buyers the most about a make and model.
When you aren’t on the phone or working with a buyer, use that downtime to study the inventory. Each day focus your efforts on learning more about one vehicle. It’s also a good idea to read customer reviews about a vehicle. This will tell you about general likes and dislikes. YouTube video reviews from reputable companies is another fantastic resource.
Hit on Emotions During the Test Drive
Driving a car is a matter of practicality, but it’s also an emotional experience. Even people who aren’t self-proclaimed motorheads connect with feeling safe and comfortable or get a rush when they step on the gas pedal. The test drive is the time to play on the emotional element of buying a vehicle and how it will feel to own the vehicle.
Now is when you want to begin asking more direct questions to close the deal. Questions like:
- How does the drive feel?
- Is this a car you can see yourself driving every day?
- How would you like to drive this car home today?
Give yourself a little time to observe how the buyer feels driving the car before you begin asking questions. Note the high points and objections that can be addressed by test driving another vehicle if the car doesn’t seem to hold their interest.
Offer to Write up a Worksheet to Move the Deal Forward
A worksheet can be a powerful tool for the salesperson that spells out the starting points for negotiations — if presented the right way. When a buyer shows strong interest during the test drive, ask if it’s okay to write up a worksheet. That’s the first step. The next steps are to:
- Make an equipment list that highlights the value of the vehicle. Make this a detailed list and discuss it with the buyer as you write points down.
- Include the MSRP of the vehicle. It will serve as the starting point for price negotiations. Explain to the buyer that this is not the selling price and that you’ll see what you can do to get them the best deal possible.
- Write down their information, including who the car will be registered to if it’s bought.
- Then ask when the buyer wanted to take ownership of the vehicle, provided you can work out an agreeable deal.
- Add at the bottom: “(Buyer’s name) will purchase the (vehicle make and model ) IF the price/payments and terms are agreeable with them and the dealership.” Explain that this isn’t an agreement to make a purchase but get them to initial the note. Doing so is like a handshake deal that helps prompt the buyer to move forward.
If the buyer doesn’t want to initial the worksheet, it’s a sign that there are objections or something that hasn’t been addressed, which is causing hesitation. Now’s the time to reviews their wants, needs, and pain points to see if there’s something you missed along the way.
Buyers are leveraging technology during the buying process, and salespeople should too. An inventory management system helps dealers target the right vehicles for their market, and it helps salespeople become product experts.
Another way you can use technology to your advantage is with online auction platforms like ACV Auctions that offer “live appraisals.” Many buyers have a vehicle to trade-in and what you offer can make or break a deal. Live appraisals help the dealership determine a trade-in’s value. Because auctions provide superior value for the car, that can be passed onto the customer as part of the transaction and improve closing rates.
Get Contact Information for Follow Up
If a buyer makes it clear they aren’t ready to make a purchase ask for their contact information. If you find a vehicle that meets all their needs for a fair priceIf, after having provided excellent customer service, there’s a chance you may still get a sale at a later date. The first follow up contact should be to thank the buyer for visiting the dealership and remind them that you are available to answer any questions they may have. From there on out contact should provide something of value for the buyer like information on a new vehicle or upcoming promotion.
Using the above tips to close more car sales you should see more commission rolling in this month as more buyers roll off the lot with a vehicle. The one thing to remember is car sales doesn’t have to be complicated. If you genuinely strive to be a product expert, that’s there to help customers make the best investment, you’ll do just fine.