Hi I'm a vendor....in the digital space. That's my job. And I love it. I love it because I'm a 27 year retail car guy who's Father was a dealer, Grandfather was a designer for Ford and Step Father designed assembly line equipment. Yes I'm from Detroit... and I love dealing with car guys and gals. Sure I like it when they buy my product. I like making a difference and I like making sure my company is healthy and our staff can take care of their families. But what I love about the job, really love, is making dealers the victims of my unsolicited advice on selling.... :)
First of all, let’s get clear that there is nothing new in selling, nor will there ever
be. Selling is causing someone to feel and then to act (miss ya, Jackie Cooper!). All things sold to a human
being have always been and always will be grounded in base human emotions,
logic and even chemical changes. You’re giving your prospect far too much
credit if you think that all the available information out there, from consumer
reports to the Internet, has him reacting any differently to outside stimuli than
our ancestors of over six thousand years of recorded history. From a DNA
standpoint, do you really think that the Internet has already changed human
beings’ involuntary neurological and chemical functions?
Sure, the consumer can select which product to look into based upon published
quality charts and get a price idea (which is wrong half the time anyway). We all
love an informed consumer. At least they understand the reality of what’s
possible. Nowadays with the Internet, some clients try to find the one car for sale
like yours out of 1,000 across the nation that happens to be five grand less than
yours (with the other 999 just a hair lower or higher priced). But they neglect to
find out (or at least, disclose) that the chosen “market indicator” vehicle has had
major frame or flood damage or has a bad odometer, resulting in misinformed
clients feeling or at least acting “educated.”
My point again is that these things have nothing to do with selling. Selling is
causing a feeling in another person. It’s not as much about an intellectual
argument. And a sale is made upon every encounter, whether the client buys or
you buy (their story). Someone always moves or sells the other.
If your are an automotive salesperson, YOU are the product. Survey after survey has shown that the #1 reason a person decides to buy or not to buy is based on the salesperson. Retailers don’t offer
products — they hire the product. YOU! If you get nothing else out of this blog,
get this one point: you are the product. In times of down economies, slow sales,
high interest rates, weak incentives, weak quality ratings, union strikes, or
whatever the outside conditions, there is always someone or some organization
that is thriving and unaware of all of these problems. These salespeople (coaches,
athletes, business leaders, etc.) see themselves as the product. They know that if
things are good, they get to take the credit. Based on this, if things are off a bit,
they work on themselves individually or as an organization and, wow! Things start
moving again! You are what people buy. The rest are all just props in your movie
— the building or facility where you work and the product that you sell are just
props. Props to lend credibility to the star of the show: YOU.
YOU make the difference, period. This becomes painfully obvious when you
look at any sales force offering the same product mix to the same market in the
same environment and the same salespeople consistently perform in a stellar,
average or substandard way.
The most important and key factor in being the product is in your relationships
with people. This is the absolute #1 factor that causes someone to want to buy
from us. A great salesman I used to work with who was a butcher from New
York once said to me, “If you get them to laugh, you have a sale.” Sounds
simplistic but I believe that if we made “getting the client to laugh” a step to the
sale, sales would rise. Actually, I’m not as worried about those deals as you’re
hopefully closing most of those. It’s the ones where they don’t laugh…
It does take work to obtain personal and professional success. Once that work is
done you have the opportunity to affect another person. Now, likability is the
key. When others link feeling good to you, they gravitate to you.
Gaining likability means finding a way to get related to someone or to create relatedness.
A University of California study states that this has significant consequences. For
instance, in hospitals, a likable person gets more attention from doctors.
How do we develop relationships with people? Through questions. Questions
that are seeking sameness. You could be standing next to a complete stranger
anywhere and hear them make a comment about a city that happens to be your
hometown. It would be next to impossible not to comment upon overhearing
this, and from there a conversation would begin. Usually it would lead to whom
you both might know or where you went to school or worked. You would like
this person and they would like you at this moment. This is based on what?
Geographical coincidence? It’s really based on nothing other than a common
ground. You now suddenly have rapport due to sameness. People like familiarity.
Find it with everyone.
I call it Relatedness. Relatedness will not guarantee more sales. Lack of it will
definitely guarantee less. However, if you do develop a deep relatedness with all
of your clients and don’t sell more, you may want to change businesses!
We generally get so sold by the customer on his idea of how price or deal is so
paramount that we lose sight of what really creates a sale. Some of us do this for
20, 30, even 50 years, and still we continue to “know” that we lost a deal over
If this were true, why do some of my clients earn triple the national average
gross profit per car while doing top volume and spending the most on used car
reconditioning? Thank goodness they haven’t yet figured out that price is the real
When I was new to this business, I learned a valuable lesson that really stuck. I
can’t count how many sales this lesson made and saved for me. We’ve all
witnessed it. But we don’t all register the actual value. I had just spent a couple of
hours with a nice couple looking at a used Mercury. Nothing went particularly
wrong during the visit, nor did it go so well that we were we going to have a
sleepover party together that weekend. It was fine. Just fine, nothing more. We
were about $5,000 apart on the deal. Nothing unusual. It was just how that deal
went. I’d stay in touch and hope that I could eventually move them into reality.
As I was walking them out I called to my boss to meet the customers for the
Turned out that after about two minutes of “where ya from and where do you
work,” he discovered that the woman was a pharmacist at a local drug store. My
boss’s wife was a pharmacist at another location of the same chain. They
established whom they knew in common in the company along with making
some friendly small talk. Soon enough they were asking him what a fair deal
should look like. He gave them a reason to act on that car right then and there,
and the $5k was no longer the deal breaker. Had my boss not met them, my floor
traffic report would have said “$5k apart” and I would have been “right.”
What happened? Did the car suddenly get a better book value? Did their budget
change? For all they knew my boss could have been an ax murderer whose wife
worked at the same company, but something as irrelevant as a commonality in
profession made them trust him. What did he do that I obviously didn't?
He became trusted.
Why? He became related to them through discovering sameness.
Does this have a damn thing to do with car values? Nope. Does this close every
customer? Nope. Do I want to miss those deals as long as I’m waiting on them
anyway? Heck no! When you cut corners — skip a tour of your facility, an intro
to a manager, a benefits presentation, an ownership drive, or use a golf cart to
speed things up instead of walking with your customers — you are missing
chances to do the only part of your job that a robot can’t do. You are the product!
They buy you! The other stuff doesn't take a person with the skills you have. You
have them. You’re going to leave your fate to how numbers or price ends up?
We are always selling. It’s happening when the gang you hang out with is
arguing about which restaurant to go to or which movie to see, and you end up
at your selection. Or if not, you let them win this time. Perhaps it’s when we
convince a friend or lover that we are truly sorry for a stupid or selfish action. At
times like this we are moving another person and causing feelings in them that we
build upon. When we are selling on purpose, with relatedness, we consciously
influence someone’s conscious and subconscious awareness. Whether we realize
it or not we actually do this every time someone becomes aware of us just being
Here’s what I mean: When we are in a place as common as say, a grocery isle,
people who pass by us are sizing us up on a subconscious level — whether they
realize it or not. Their subconscious makes assessments every time they walk
toward and past random people, without a thought…UNTIL someone they
classify as “relevant” (“familiar” or “interesting looking” or “scary,” etc.) heads
their way. Let’s say that a “relevant” category is a person who is “scary.”
Everyone they’d seen was scanned, filtered, categorized and judged. They also
went by unnoticed. They just weren't alerted until one that matched their relevant
criteria came into view. This same mechanism (in reverse) is what you’ll be able
to use to improve all of your relationships. You will become “relevant” as a
trustworthy, likable person.
People will buy from you because of this.
You can go from “not trusted” or even “unnoticed” to noticed, liked and trusted.
Make all of the actions in your life and business purposeful.
Become an “on purpose” person! You will see a significant increase in your sales volume, not to
mention your likability your overall happiness.
And use the digital tools just to bring more people into your theater. Not to sell for you. Certainly not to make money for you (more important than selling something, right?).
It's fun for me when someone buys my product and me. And I feel good that I give them more swings.
But I really love it we a professional is really capitalizing with intention!