By Phil Spagnoli, Regional Sales Director, Elead/CDK Global
Buying a car is a big, expensive purchase that few people undertake lightly. So, of course you’re going to hear a lot of car sale objections. Don’t take “I need to think about it” personally. Your job is to be a consultant – there to answer every question, with the goal of finding the perfect-fit vehicle and starting a relationship.
The majority of people visit fewer than two dealerships before buying. Chances are good that if you can overcome sales objections, you will turn that shopper into a buyer. Here are 5 tips to help:
1. Do a thorough needs assessment. You need to understand “why” a customer is objecting to a sale, and that requires some upfront questioning. Do a thorough needs assessment before your sales pitch. This builds rapport and trust. As I’ve said before, people buy things from people they trust. If there’s no rapport, you may sell some vehicles, but not very many.
2. Tell a story that shows empathy. Relate to a customer’s objection with your own story. Have you worried about buying a car in the past? Why? What was the outcome? Consider this example for a potential Subaru Outback buyer: “I understand your worries about fitting your kids and all of their gear in the car, but I’ve got three kids and it’s no problem to fit them and all of their stuff. In fact, the back is big enough for their soccer gear, plus I have one who plays hockey, and it’s no problem. My wife really likes it too because we get great gas mileage. Do you want to check it out? We can do a quick test drive now.” Don’t make up a story. If you don’t personally have one, relate the experience of a colleague, friend, neighbor, etc. Customers can and will sniff out tall tales.
3. Don’t lose out because of a trade. Every customer will go online to see what their trade is worth, and they will look at the value in perfect condition. Your job is to inject reality with logic. Value the trade during a walk-around. Touch the tires that may be bald, touch that gash in the passenger door. You have to touch flaws to make them real. Comment along the lines of: “Your car normally would be worth $15,000 but as you can see there are things we’ll need to fix before we can put it on our lot. Does it make sense to you that we can offer $10,000 because we’ll have to make repairs?” Common sense and logic will resonate with customers.
4. Invite your sales manager over to help. You will know when you’ve lost a customer. That’s the turning point where you need your sales manager to drop in. Tell the customer you’ll get your manager to help work out a deal, then leave the two of them to speak privately. If you’ve lost the customer, for whatever reason, that customer will not speak frankly in front of you. Know when to bring in help, then remove yourself from the situation.
5. Keep the relationship alive even if the customer does not buy from you. That customer will buy a car again. In the meantime, become their car guy with quick communications that play to their interests. Did you talk about their favorite sports team? Shoot a quick congratulations text when that team wins a big game. Have a video showcasing how to pair Bluetooth to the Cadillac model they wanted? Include it in a short email. Service specials are also a valuable way to get the customer back into your store. Offer a customer a free oil change to try out your shop. Make it a big deal VIP event for anyone in the family. Word of caution: Don’t let your service advisors scare them by saying the car needs $10,000 worth of work. This only gives credence to the old adage that car dealerships are there to steal money. Praise the car, tell the customer they’ve done a great job of taking care of it, then bring up a couple of things to keep an eye on.
Sales objections are part of the job. Stop taking them personally and instead cultivate skills to overcome them. You’ll make more sales and be on the road to long-lasting customer relationships that produce for years to come.
About the Author
Philip Spagnoli serves as Elead Sales Director for the Western Region of the U.S.