I know, I know some things never change, Right?! ... WRONG. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that are going to disagree with me on what I'm about to disclose – and that's okay; as long as they have put them both to the test like I have. I have been in the auto industry for just a few months short of 12 years. I have consistently been reading, and scouring the Internet for the best training information I could find to improve my automotive sales career. I wanted to share with you what I have discovered in trying to put it all together.
There is a lot of information out there, and some of it is very good – I think the people delivering the information have really taken ownership of what they're sharing; so when they deliver it, they are being genuine - and people pick up on that. So, it's not that I think their information is wrong; it's just that when it is delivered by somebody else trying to "emulate" them – it comes out in in an inauthentic way - because it is - and it therefore produces a different outcome than what was desired. I am thankful that I have held the positions of salesperson, sales manager, finance manager, closer, and sales trainer; because I think each one of these positions hold their own unique challenges and approaches to the best ways to make a salesperson effective and successful. Bottom line is this: without their success, everybody else's position goes away. Please know, that what I am sharing with you is the truth; and I have given it a lot of thought and know that this will benefit everybody involved if they will just agree to commit to it as an organization.
Because we are all people, we all know that we like to do business with people that we like and trust. Even though we all know this, a lot of people try to add an element of mystery on how we get people to "like and trust" us – and there is no mystery to it. For people to like you, you must be "likable". People like people that are kind, considerate, polite, inviting – and most importantly "interested in them". Did you catch that? People like you if you are interested in them - and take an interest by being friendly: Not fake friendly – we all know what that feels like - Real friendly; or even a better way to state it - friendly and genuine. This is difficult to teach, because it doesn't come from the mouth – it comes from the heart. Take a moment to wrap your heart around appreciating people for being different than you. The reason why it is so important to look at it from this perspective, is because it will be true 100% of the time. There is nobody else like you. If you learn to appreciate differences in people – you will always be able to encounter them in a position of being appreciative, friendly, patient, and most important - genuine.
As for the second part, which is equally important – trust. In order for people to want to do business with you, not only must they like you; they must also "trust" you. Just like being likable, this is also something that happens in the heart – and not in the mouth. In order to be a trustworthy person – I love that word: "trustworthy"... Worthy of trust. Here is what you must do: Act with integrity. Many people say that integrity is doing the right thing, even when nobody is looking. Do you love truth? Would you take "no deal" over a "bad deal"? If something wasn't good for somebody, would you tell them? Do you treat everybody the same? Do you let your love for fairness and justice enhance your relationships? These are all some very key questions, and I ask them because the answers to them will help you work towards being a person that works with integrity.
Please take a moment to really let this soak in. If you are not getting the results that you want, there is a good chance that one of these two key elements is underdeveloped, or missing from who you are. If you possess these two characteristics - being likable and trustworthy; you will not need to pursue success - it will pursue you. Please notice that both of these tactics can be tested by The Golden Rule: "Do onto others as you would want them to do unto you." There are a lot of sales techniques out there, and tips that you will receive from people; that will not pass the Golden Rule test. The sad part is, they think are trying to steer you in the right way - but here is the truth: if it does not adhere to the Golden Rule; then it will not benefit you to implement it into your business. Always ask yourself when somebody is trying to give you new direction, "Would I appreciate it if somebody did that for/to me?" If the answer is "yes" then it is probably something worth considering; if the answer is "no" – then don't do it for/to others. It really is that simple.
So if you want to know my steps to the sale, here they are... they are easy to duplicate, effective, and if you put them to work in your own career; you will realize just how enjoyable this industry can be!
1. Be likable by being kind, polite, and inviting. Make this a life habit so that when you do it you are being genuine. Be patient with others, and appreciate them for being different than you.
2. Act with integrity. Hate what is bad, love what is good; and take the time to really understand what the difference is. If something is good, it is good for everybody involved. Do what you say you are going to do, even if it hurts. Be the most trustworthy person you know.
3. Spend some time developing yourself every day by reading something good. I read the book of Proverbs every night – there is a chapter that corresponds with every day of the month (31 chapters total). I think God did this on purpose, and if you are a father, I recommend that you do it with your children each night; let them hear your prayers of thanks and see how much you love truth and wisdom by continuing to seek it out in your own life on a daily basis. They will do the same. (I also share my reading list on my LinkedIn profile.)
4. Continue to meet new people, and do what you can to be the highlight of their day. People crave appreciation, a good lighthearted story, and like to be remembered. Slow down for a moment, and appreciate the people you met today. I recommend sending them a "Thank you for your time, I enjoyed meeting you..." card, or a "Congratulations, I enjoyed meeting you..." card in the mail. (I use this service: SendOutCards - It works great for salespeople.) If it is sincere, you will make their day; you just might be the only person that sent them a card all year long - and they will appreciate you and remember you for doing it.
5. Listen to people, and offer them the choices that you think would provide a good solution for their situation. If they have questions, and you know the answer – answer them. If they have questions, and you don't know the answer – let them know that you will find out for them; and then be considerate (see #1) and see it through (see #2) to make sure the question gets answered.
6. Inform your clients, and give them an idea of what the process looks like, so they will be comfortable all the way through. (It is what a friendly person does, and they will see how much you care about them by doing so.) You don't have to memorize it, it's not a script - just let them know the truth of what the process looks like for how you do things. EXAMPLE: "First, I'll lend an ear to find out what you think you would like in your next vehicle. From there, I may be able to make some suggestions; but please know that your input matters most – I want you to be happy no matter what you choose. If I have some choices that you think you'd like to consider, then you're welcome to sit in them, and drive them; and see if it feels right for you. From there, you can let me know if you would like for me to show you options to make it affordable. Along the way, some questions may come up – and just let me know when they do, and I'll do what I can to accurately answer them for you. I'll let you start by giving me an idea of what you like and don't like..."
7. There are a certain percent of people that will do business with you today, some will do business with you in the future; some that may just refer you to their friends and family members - and then others that may just be glad they met you. Be okay with any of these scenarios, and let them fall where they may. By doing so, you will find out that the percentages of all of them will go UP... more people will do business with you today, more people will do business with you in the future, more people will refer you; and you can also count on more being glad that they met you. If they ever choose to belong to more than one category, let them make that decision - not you. The best thing you can do is be kind, take good care of them, and stay in touch (not not bothersome way, but in a friendly way). Let them move at their own pace, and they will appreciate you for it. If they give you their phone number, never abuse it by calling them incessantly - remember what I said about The Golden Rule? There's a pretty good chance you wouldn't appreciate it if they did it to you. I used to do the incessant calls, simply because my dealership made me – but now I do cards "only"; unless I have a good reason for a phone call – and my client is usually expecting it. As a result, the majority of my phone time these days is with repeat and referral clients. I have found that it is a much more rewarding way to spend time on the phone.
8. Stay in touch over time with an occasional hello - just to be nice. If you make it a part of you – you will be genuine when you're doing it. I heard some advice that always stuck with me - "Friends do with friends what friends do." Meaning, treat people like they are your friends, and they will become friends - that's how friendships are formed. Don't miss one of the best parts of what we get to do - make more friends. Make sure your heart is in the right place for others – and this business is a real fun way to earn an honest living.