ACV facts & figures
Anyone who says selling cars is easy is blowing smoke up your tailpipe. Either they’ve never tried it, or they’ve been doing it long enough to know the tricks of the trade. Even if the latter is true, they still know how difficult it can be if you haven’t learned the proven tips for selling a car.
There’s so much pressure to keep up with automotive eCommerce and electric vehicle trends. However, don’t hesitate to go back to the basics and solidify your showroom sales process. If your salespeople aren’t welcoming, helpful, and strategic, then your online traffic is lost when they walk into the dealership.
We’ve compiled 15 car selling techniques and solutions that can help your salespeople win over every type of buyer. Read on to learn how to sell more cars to potential customers.
Sales Tips for Initiating the Car Conversation
You’re working the floor and you spot a customer walking onto the dealership lot. What’s your immediate reaction? Do you rush over and jump right into auto sales mode? Or do you stroll over and introduce yourself like you would in any other situation? Treat everyone who walks in as a person, not as a potential automotive lead. The first few minutes are crucial when you’re trying to make a car sale. Many customers have preconceived notions about car salespeople that are less than flattering. It’s your job to change their opinion by being a professional and offering real value. But how can you do that?
1. Dress to Impress
There’s no getting around a first impression. Despite our best intentions, humans make first impressions largely based on what they see. And that first impression is hard to overcome. Car salespeople should look professional at all times. Clothes should be business casual at the very least. You should always wear a warm smile, make eye contact, and carry yourself with confidence.
2. Build Trust
Know that virtually every customer enters the showroom thinking salespeople are pushy and just looking out for their own best interest (i.e. commission on a sale). Taking a low-pressure approach and keeping your focus on the customer’s needs will build trust that nurtures a car sale. And if the customer mentions something you connect with, chat about it even if it isn’t directly related to the vehicle purchase. Building rapport is one of the quickest ways to build trust.
3. Be Genuine
No fake smiles, false promises, or empty compliments (about the customer or the car they’re interested in). The best performers are salespeople who are genuinely interested in helping a customer find the best vehicle for their needs. Find your happy place for working with customers. It could be the commission, your love for cars, or your pride in being able to pair people with vehicles. What matters is that you find your motivation for truly wanting to help customers make the right purchase for them.
4. Engage Customers With Open-Ended Questions
Engagement is key for making just about any type of sale. Many seasoned salespeople have learned engagement is a lot easier when you ask open-ended questions. An open-ended question is a question that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. For example, you can engage a customer by asking, “what do you like and dislike about your current vehicle?”
You can also open up the conversation and show you’re willing to help by asking, “what are the must-have features you’re looking for?” Open-ended questions will get the customer talking and sharing information without feeling pressured.
5. Be Cordial With Other Salespeople
No customer likes a cutthroat car salesman. If you think they aren’t paying attention to how you interact with other sales professionals at the lot, think again. Being friendly with the other salespeople gives the impression that you’re a team player.
6. Avoid Direct Financial Questions Early On
Car-buying budgets are a touchy subject for many people. Directly asking how much potential buyers want to spend sets off red flags in their eyes. Customers want salespeople to focus on their needs first and foremost. Going straight to what they want to spend can make it seem like you’re more focused on the commission.
Instead, listen for clues in the conversation that gives you a rough idea of their budget. Body language is also a giveaway. For example, if they tense up or shake their head when they see or hear the sticker price, you know it’s more than they want to spend.
Sales Tips for Finding “The One”
You’ve started the conversation and built rapport with a potential buyer. What’s next? There are a handful of things you can do to help the sale along. But remember, don’t be too pushy.
Buying a vehicle is a big purchase for most people and they don’t take it lightly. Customers do their research and don’t want to feel pressured to make decisions at the car dealership. Before they even pull up to the lot, most customers are already putting up walls to ward off salespeople. Getting a read on prospects is already hard enough, and it can seem impossible when the prospect doesn’t want to open up.
7. Know Your Inventory
Before you get chummy with customers, you have to know your inventory, including what’s on the lot, which cars are featured in ads, and what’s in reconditioning.
Your inventory should be stocked with your potential customers in mind. Who are the car buyers you’re marketing to? What do they want out of a new vehicle?
You can stock a variety of used cars from online auto auctions and wholesalers.
8. Get to Know the Customer
Rapport builds trust while also helping you figure out who the customer is and what they’re looking for in a vehicle. So let them do most of the talking after you ask an open-ended question, and look for ways to show you understand their needs, wants, and concerns. Listening is a skill that will serve you well. It can be just as important, if not more than highlighting your expertise.
Make it all about the customer. After all, they’re the ones making a five-figure purchase, not you.
9. Provide Solutions
Listen to potential customers' needs, pain points, and hang-ups to provide solutions they haven’t come up with on their own. If a customer opens up to a salesperson, then they’re looking for guidance. They want your expert opinion, industry knowledge, and experience. Remember, many customers do their research online before they visit a car dealership. But people who have never bought a car usually need extra guidance and attention before they are comfortable enough to commit.
10. Hit On Features And Benefits
No matter what type of sales you’re in, highlighting features and benefits is a winning tactic. A feature is a part or capability of the vehicle, like a rear view camera. Talk about the benefits of the feature. For example, a rear view camera makes parallel parking easier, backing out of the driveway safer, and you’re less likely to ding your bumper. When you’re describing a vehicle, pair the features with benefits. For maximum impact, hit on benefits that they’ve already alluded to earlier in the conversation. It tells the customer that you’re listening to their needs and makes the sales pitch more relevant.
11. Get a Feel For Their Financial Situation
How does the customer intend to purchase the vehicle? Are they interested in financing through the car dealership? How much are they wanting to spend on their monthly payments? What incentives can you offer them? Through your conversations with the customer, you should get a better feel for their financial situation. Always stick to vehicles that fit the customer’s budget. Test driving a vehicle that’s out of their price range will make it that much more difficult to close a sale on a car the customer can afford. If they aren’t open to discussing numbers, err on the side of caution and show them the most affordable models first, then move up in price.
Sales Tips for Negotiating
Because buying a car is a huge financial commitment, many customers are hesitant to pull the trigger. But if they’re at your car dealership, then they’re serious about making a purchase. Whether they buy a car from your dealership largely comes down to if you have the right vehicles available and how you move in to make the sale.
12. Stay Focused on a Win-Win Deal
The last thing you want is to lose a sale in the negotiation phase after working so hard to make a connection and find the perfect car. Hopefully, you’ve got a good feel for their financial situation so you know what terms matter most to the customer. Keep this in mind when you’re negotiating the specifics of the sale. The best deals are the ones where both parties feel like they got a good deal.
13. Show Value
Most people are willing to open up the purse strings and spend a little more if it’s justified. In other words, if they see the value in spending more they will. But buyers aren’t taking your word for it or concerned about your opinion. You have to back up valuable points with data.
Show how a more expensive model or upgrade is a sound investment in terms of resale, gas savings, or improved safety. There's a good chance the customer will stretch their budget a little further if you do. You’ll want to use what you learned in earlier conversations and stick to value points that appeal most to the customer.
14. Use The Four Square System
The four square system is commonly used to determine a price during negotiations. It consists of price, payments, trade-in, and cash down. The two factors you want to pay most attention to are payments and cash down. These can be modified to meet the customer’s long-term and immediate needs without lowering the price.
15. Team Up with a Manager
Once a customer commits, it can help to have a manager come in to seal the deal, especially if you are new to selling cars. They’ll have had more extensive sales training and experience with the sales process as a whole.
Sell More Cars Like a Pro
Being a car dealer in this ever-shifting landscape is challenging. While the vehicle demand is high, consumers still need some help to edge them towards a sale. That’s where your dealership’s salespeople come in.
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