When Should You Speak During a Demonstration Drive?

The temptation to speak during the Demonstration Drive is something that is hard for many Salespeople to control.  Since it is just beyond the halfway point of a normal sales process, it is tempting to start applying pressure through things like Trial Closes or overselling the Customer on the features and benefits of the vehicle.  This method has long been a part of automotive sales training and it is time to leave it behind and move on to more Customer friendly practices.

The truth of the matter is, you should only speak during the Test Drive when you are spoken to.  This is the Customer's time to enjoy the car and explore its great benefits and options.  Asking questions, whether they are car related or personal in nature, only deflects from what the Customer is trying to accomplish; that is, whether or not the car they are test driving is the vehicle that they want to purchase from you.

Some Salespeople make a habit of leaning over the front seat if they are sitting in the rear and spend the whole demo drive talking to their Customers.  If that is something you normally do, now is a good time to drop that from your process! This takes away the real power of a Demonstration Drive where the customers are supposed to be ‘experiencing’ the car and not talking to the Salesperson.  In truth, it is usually more of a nervous reaction because you may be anxious about making the sale.

Great Salespeople know that listening is much more important than talking during the demo drive.  This is especially true when there is more than one Customer in the car.  A husband and wife will often reveal what they think about the vehicle if you sit quietly in the backseat and become invisible.  They will soon forget that you are there and may start discussing their feelings about the car and give you plenty of ammunition for the close by revealing what they like most about the car.

Our training curriculum has long stressed the idea of the Silent Demonstration Drive, and those salespeople who have adapted it have seen a tremendous upswing in their success rates. It really is true that “Silence is Golden” when it comes to the Demo Drive.  Try it and see for yourself.

If you want to be the best you can be, exceed your average monthly sales and rise to the top of your dealership, you need to constantly be learning new techniques. At David Lewis and Associates, we offer a variety of methods for training yourself.  Contact Mary Mannella today to learn more about what DLA can do for your bottom line at 1-800-374-3314, extension 215.

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Comment by Brian Bennington on August 29, 2015 at 11:54pm

Reviewing the weekly "Top Content" post from DE today, I thought your blog sounded interesting and I read it.  I've read you before and commented, but you've never acknowledged it.  That's OK, though, as I know you must be a busy guy and I haven't always agreed with you, which also happens to be the case today.

Personally, I think the #1 responsibility of a sales trainer is to encourage a love of selling, and that should include all of the different personality types who want to learn.  To begin with, of the 151 views you've had today, I'd bet less than 10% are green peas, whom you seem to be addressing.  Fundamentally, I somewhat agree with you, but your observations like "Great salespeople know that listening is much more important than talking during the demo drive" is a real oversimplification.  What is said or listened to during a demo drive should be determined in the "getting acquainted with the customer" stage.  And, it should definitely take into account the sales rep's personality.

I think the most important goal of a DD should be that it is enjoyable.   As to the "husband and wife" scenario, a great way to insure that "Dad" is left alone to drive and "contemplate" the vehicle is to keep "Mom" talking, and that's accomplished by finding something she likes to talk about.  My longtime favorite was to instigate a conversation with "Mom" as to how they met.  People love to talk about themselves, especially their "victories," and her explaining how they originally "got together" was a winner.  When we'd get back to the dealership, I'd ask her how she liked the car, and she'd usually get a surprised look on her face and say "it's great."  Obviously, the car wasn't great, nor was I.  What was great to her was her "victory" in love.  Of course, the by-product of this was her ever-so-slight movement towards buying the car.

I'll tell you David, I've been reading sales trainers here and on ADM and I've yet to read anyone mention the two words that should be the foundation of sales training and every presentation thereafter.  Those two words being "Be Yourself."  It's almost magical, as when those words are heard and believed, people make a real effort to "be the best that they can be."  I appreciate your last two paragraphs plugging your business, but I think you'd find more success if you moved away from the standard and often posted "My way or the highway" philosophy.  If you can convince a client his reps won't require a major personality alignment, you might be ahead of the game.    


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