What a car dealership can teach floor covering retailers about selling
By Lisbeth Calandrino
I have a friend who works for a high-volume auto dealership that sells new and used cars. While he realizes car dealers have bad reputations, he said it doesn’t stop people from buying cars. Yes, customers are often nasty and say unkind things but my friend doesn’t pay any attention. In fact, he outsells everyone at his dealership and makes a six-figure income.
Following are a few of his selling tips:
- Treat the customer with respect. No matter what the customer says when they come into the dealership, my friend spends time building rapport. He says customers need to see him as a friend, not as a salesperson. Even if a customer comes in and asks for a particular car, my friend stops the process and stays within his sales presentation. He has memorized a script from which he rarely deviates. He says his job is to get the customer exactly what they want. He says most problems start when the customer takes the lead in the sales process. Remember: The salesperson must stay in control but always include the customer in the conversation and decision-making process.
- Learn how to overcome objections. The most common objection from most customers is, “I’m not here to buy, or “I’m just looking.” Does this sound familiar? He explains to the customer his job is to sell cars and will be explaining why his cars and dealership are better than anyone else in town. You may think this sounds pushy, but this approach gets the customer to understand his job and what he does. People don’t really know how to buy a car, he says, so they start with the assumption that the salesperson is dishonest and can’t be trusted.
- Stand firm on your price. My friend has an interesting way of dealing with customers who haggle. He reiterates the value of the car and asks them what price would they be comfortable with. Usually, the customer tells them what a great trade they have, how much it’s worth and how little they expect to pay for the new car, etc. He ignores all of these responses and goes back to his original question. Negotiating on price, he said, leaves a bad taste in the customer’s mouth and could destroy their relationship. It also decreases his credibility. Rather than risking damage to the salesperson/customer relationship, my friend simply shows the customer a different car if the price is out of reach and they still continue to haggle. In these cases, he says, the customer is not necessarily looking for the best price on a deal but rather the best value for their dollar.
That’s where a skilled salesperson can seal the deal.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. She writes frequently on shopper trends and improving the retail experience for the customer.