All the Lot’s a Stage 

All the lot’s a stage and the men and women merely the players:

There’s nothing like butchering some Shakespeare to make a point, huh?  Not bad for a car-guy.  In the excerpt from “As You Like It” Shakespeare breaks down the seven “roles” people play through their lives.  Let’s take a look at them and compare them to the life of a car-guy.

The Infant: mewing and puking in a nurse’s arms  = The Green-Pea.

The school boy:  creeping like a snail unwillingly to class = The 90 Day Wonder (know it all)

The lover:  sighing and singing ballads to (his or her) beloved = The Veteran (knows the right song to sing to work their manager).   

The soldier:  Full of strange oaths; jealous in honor; quick in quarrel = The Closer (they like their limited authority, welcome conflict).

The Justice:  In fair round belly with severe eyes = F&I (round belly and severe eyes.J  Oh, good negotiators with finance sources and wise decision making too).

The 6th stage leads to pantaloons, spectacles on the nose and a pouch on the side = The Desk Manager (a suit that matches sometimes; glasses to read VINs and a cell phone on the side).

The Second Childishness: ending the strange history sans teeth, eyes and taste = Back to the floor (sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste).

     Relax; it’s all in good fun.  There is truth to “All the Lot” being a stage and we the “players”.  When we hit the showroom floor it is “Show time!”  An element of being a good salesperson is being able to act.  The first and maybe most important way we “act” is when we are having a bad day personally or professionally.  Truth be told, customers don’t care if you had to flush your goldfish down the toilet or if the boss has been getting on your case all day.  So, you put on a smile and show a positive, enthusiastic attitude; even if you’re faking it!  

     Another aspect of “acting” in the car business is what we like to call Playhouse 90.  This is when we show enthusiasm for a vehicle or certain features of a vehicle that are not all that exciting to us personally.  I am not talking about misrepresenting a vehicle’s dependability etc.  We do not ever lie to sell.  If a vehicle is not to my taste that doesn’t mean I can’t show some excitement about it.  Be enthusiastic for the customer “Oh, something you’re going to love about this car is…” or “A lot of people really enjoy these cars because…” something along those lines.  You don’t have to say, “I love these cars” if you don’t.  You shouldn’t say how much you love a color of a car or anything else if it isn’t true.  Choose your words carefully but say them with enthusiasm, conviction and sincerity.  There are times when you’ll need to curb your enthusiasm as part of Playhouse 90.  When a customer comes in with a meticulously maintained vehicle that looks great and you like it or have a customer for it.  You need to downplay your emotions a bit or you’ll raise the customer’s expectations of their trade value.

     Yet another facet of “the Lot” being “a stage” is knowing your lines.  While much of what we do is improvisational, so to speak, we still need to know our stuff and be able to roll with the punches.  Work on your product knowledge, overcoming objections and closing techniques.  Great actors/comedians improvise well because of their experience.  They don’t just make things up, they use material that they know from past routines and morph it to match the scenario.  Pick things up from co-workers, current events, sales trainers and even customers.  Then think on your feet and use what you know.

     We must also know our audience (customer).  Recognize their personality type quickly (driver, expressive, amiable or analytical) and sell towards it.  Early in my career, before I showed a customer a vehicle I had to do a Manager’s check.  I was required to have a basic vehicle profile and customer profile including personality type.  This was important to me to be aware of my customer’s tendencies but also if my Manager needed to get involved, he had an idea with whom he was dealing.  Knowing the customer’s buying motives is also vital.  Not just what kind of car and equipment they want but why they want it.  I’ve always used the acronym S.P.A.C.E.D. (safety, performance, appearance, economy and dependability) to focus on “hot buttons”.  Identify the hot buttons and sell towards them especially during your presentation and demonstration.

     Be excited, be animated and have fun even if you are faking it.  Who knows, maybe if you fake it enough, you’ll start really feeling that way!  Once you hit the lot, the curtains go up and it is show time!  


    In the meantime, go read some Shakespeare you knaves.

Copyright © 2008

Brad Alexander "The Paint Won't Lick Itself:  Simple Truths for Selling Cars"

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Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 2, 2011 at 7:13pm
And I love the post, Brad!!! WELL DONE!!!
Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 2, 2011 at 7:12pm

"To up, to greet,

to greet perchance to sell.

Aye, there's the rub,

for in that greet of up

what impression may come

when we have shaken hands with the mortal customer

must give us sales."


    from the play "Hamhand, Prince of LotUP", by William Skatespeare


Okay, here's the Shakespeare from "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark".  ;)


"To die, to sleep,

to sleep perchance to dream.

Aye, there's the rub,

for in that sleep of death

what dreams may come

when we have shaken off this mortal coil

must give us pause."

Comment by Brad Alexander on May 1, 2011 at 9:09pm
Alas poor green-pea, I knew him well.

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