Robert Cialdini is a social scientist who wrote the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In the book, Cialdini describes six different influences that get people to say “yes.” In this article, I would like to review those six influences and how that relates to selling vehicles, and add one more form of influence that will assist you in getting your customer to say “yes!”
Reciprocation — Human nature creates an urge to pay back debts. These debts can be in the form of value or effort that someone has supplied you. Your job as a salesperson is to give the most effort and value in as many forms as possible to create the urge for reciprocation.
There are easy ways to create the feeling of reciprocation. When you respond to a customer, communicate through video e-mail and supply video walk around presentations, video testimonials from your present customers and video and written special reports such as “Ten Things You Must Know Before You Buy A Vehicle.” If you add more up front, you will have set the stage for reciprocation to occur immediately. When you are at the beginning of the sales process, find something to apologize for and say you are sorry. When you say that you are sorry, it humanizes you and creates a feeling of obligation to you as a person who is genuine and trying their best. Also, when you go on a test drive with a customer, don’t take a short three-mile drive. Instead, go 20 miles. Twenty miles creates a bond and an investment of time. It allows your customer to get comfortable, and you are the one creating that environment of comfort.
Commitment and Consistency — As you begin the sales process with a customer, ask small questions that would not create a fear in your customer. Ask small questions that can be answered easily and without much thought. As the process moves forward ask slighter bigger more substantial questions that create a series of small commitments that creates a consistent pattern for the customer.
Before showing a new vehicle, go to your customer’s trade-in and find out their buying patterns. Discover how people have bought in the past and what motivates them. Use the information you discover to remain consistent with what triggers them to buy. Imagine the sales process as a long water slide. Envision the process as if the customer is moving effortlessly down the slippery water slide with no restrictions, picking up speed as the process goes along with no obstacles to stop them or cause concern.
Social Proof — Most people act in a herd mentality. You must provide proof and evidence that others have successfully made the decision they are facing. You must use “similar situation” stories during your presentation that shows that it is OK to feel what they are feeling, think what they are thinking and to buy what they are buying. If, towards the end of the sale, a person is not moving forward with the purchase, it is because they are feeling an overriding fear of making a mistake. Remind your customers they are making a great decision that others have made. Think of the great waiter who, after you have made your meal selection, says “Great choice!”
Liking – All things being equal, people do business with people they know and like. Take the time to get to know someone and ask questions about them. People love to talk about themselves, so let them. Find out what motivates them and what their “keywords” are. Repeat those keywords and put yourself in their shoes. Acknowledge them and associate to them by using “feel,” “felt” and “found” situations that relate you to them.
Authority — Do not be a salesperson; be an expert who your customer can trust and feel close to. People love to call their friend the lawyer or mechanic or doctor. Be a friend, but position yourself as the expert. Write and publish articles, send press releases, get raving testimonial letters and videos, get interviewed, speak on the topic of how to buy a vehicle. Create a BE-Back CD to give to all your customers who don’t buy. Create informative newsletters, blogs and YouTube videos and strive to let your customers in on “the secrets.”
Scarcity — The fear of loss is usually greater than the hope for gain. What will the customer potentially lose if they don’t buy your product, today, from you? What do you provide that others do not? What do you have that creates a time urgency appeal? People tend to move away from pain and will fear losing the solutions that eliminates that pain. Keep reminding your customer of their current problem or pain and how this is the elixir that fixes that pain right here and now.
Honesty — Be honest, moral and character-based in all your communications and dealings. Be willing to quickly admit any mistake or miscommunication. I found early in my career that if you admit a mistake quickly and without making excuses and “fall on the sword,” so to speak, you create an environment of trust. Admitting your mistakes and communicating honestly, even if it does not benefit you, will wind up benefitting you in the long run. People buy from people they can trust. They can easily empathize and respect a person who admits their shortcomings. What they cannot accept is a cheat, liar, fraud and excuse maker. Besides, it is the right thing to do.
Influence is not a dirty word. Influence is not something you do to someone but rather something that is created between people. Knowing how to create influence can make anyone a better salesperson and more powerful person.
For a free special report “How To Double Your Influence To Double Your Sales,” e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “Influence” in the subject line.