What business are you in? “The car business” would probably be your normal answer. I would invite you look deeper into that question. Rarely, is your first answer to that question your most accurate answer. The majority of businesses fail, or fail to reach their potential, because the owner and managers haven’t figured out the most important and most basic question: “What business are we in?”


Saying you are in the car business seems logical. However, that answer does not stir emotions in you, your team or your customers. It’s kind of like saying Disneyland is in the “theme park” business. The general answer is that you are in the “problem solving and emotional relationship” business.


People don’t sell or buy cars. They solve problems. Those problems may be wants or needs based problems or perceived or real problems, but they are problems nonetheless. If a customer gets the itch for a new car and, even though they may not need the new car, the emotion of the desire creates an incredible pull that becomes a problem for the customer until it is solved. Therefore, you are always in the emotions and problems business and the vehicle just becomes a part of the answer. Stop selling cars and start creating relationships based upon solving problems and matching answers to your customer’s emotional desires.


Your product knowledge, sales skills nor any other skill will help you accomplish solving the customer’s problem more than people skills. The old adage that “People buy form people” is true. People buy you first, before they buy the car. In order for the customer to buy you, you must make a memorable impression. In most cases, you have about 15 seconds to two minutes to create a connection that creates trust and respect. However, most sales people treat the meet and greet as if it’s no big deal.


Try the following meet and greet, “Hi folks, welcome to our dealership. Are you out beginning to look and shop around a little bit?” This question is a universal truth statement. It’s a universal truth that people are looking and shopping. If you don’t believe it, just greet them the way you normally do and see how they reply 99 percent of the time.


If you know how the customer usually replies to your standard greeting and you know that all customers share certain unexpressed fears, all you have to do is proactively remove those fears and you have at least a 70 percent greater chance of the customer buying from you than someone else.


Most all customers are afraid of getting the wrong vehicle, wrong price, wrong  information or the wrong sales person. Somewhere in the beginning of the sales process, I invite you to make a Job Mission Statement that proactively addresses the customer’s fears and concerns. This Job Mission statement will position you as a person, not a sales person. Try the following Job Mission Statement, “Mr. Customer, I try to help every customer of mine find the right vehicle at the right budget and give them all the right information and just make it an easy, fun and painless experience, fair enough?”


Addressing the customer’s fears up front creates trust and allows you to create cognitive dissonance. That’s just a fancy term for saying you have in the customers mind mentally distanced yourself from the other sales people they have experienced, or even their perceptions of sales people in general.


Don’t get caught up in the “best price wins” trap. It’s a loser’s game played by people losing in the sales game. Everyday people are buying goods and services and paying premiums for them because of their perceptions created about the product, service or lifestyle change. If all things are equal, then price becomes the final decision. Your mission is to make everything that you offer and the way you offer it so unique that you completely change the decision game.


Selling is a game of positioning. You must create leverage for yourself with the customer. If there is no leverage, then you are doomed to play the best price game. In other words, without a strong position and leverage, you are begging for the sale.


The 80/20 rule applies to sales people. Eighty percent of sales are made by 20 percent of the sales people. The reason the top 20 percent of sales people thrive is because they have figured out what business they are in, and it’s not the “car” business.

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