Customer Service and Sales Tips for Automotive Salespeople
Whether you've just started a career selling vehicles or you've been an automotive salesperson for many years, working in automotive sales can be a challenging, rewarding and exciting job. Below, you’ll find a series of tips and suggestions that can help you close more sales, develop stronger relationships with buyers and become (even better) at selling vehicles.
Selling Tips to Improve Your Sales
There are countless tips and good ideas that can help you become a more effective automotive salesperson. Here are some of our top recommendations:
1. No Buyer Is the Same as Another
Each automotive shopper is working with a different budget, has unique needs and comes from a different background than the previous buyer. If you think every transaction is going to be the same because every buyer is the same, you’re going to lose a lot of sales. Customers have different reasons for wanting to purchase a vehicle, whether it's new or used. It’s almost never just about the money. Treat each customer as an individual, understand their needs, and it will naturally boost sales.
2. Remember: They're at the Dealership For A Reason
The number one reason that people visit a dealership is because they ultimately want to purchase a vehicle. It seems straightforward, but whether they buy that vehicle at your dealership depends on you. People looking for a new car or truck can just as easily shop online these days. How they make their choices has less to do with price and more to do with the buying experience. Automotive buyers are looking for a salesperson they can trust to give them a fair deal on a good vehicle, and an in-person shopping experience allows them to get a much better sense of the inventory, service department and more.
3. Always Be Honest
People are typically suspicious of automotive salespeople because they believe you may stretch the truth in order to get them to make a purchase, or dance around answers to their questions. Honesty is the best policy. If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell them that you don’t know but that you will find out for them right away — and then do so. If a buyer has a question, give an honest answer.
4. Buying a Vehicle Is Based on Emotion
Buying a vehicle isn’t just about money. Think about buying a vehicle the way your customer typically thinks about it; a little afraid but a lot of excitement. They want to make sure they get a good deal. Even if your prospect tells you that they are working with a limited budget, that certainly doesn’t mean they’re still not interested in getting a good car. Help them enjoy the car-buying experience. Treat your customers as if they own the dealership. If they have a positive emotional reaction towards you and their relationship with you, it's more likely they'll make their automotive purchase with you.
5. Don’t Trash Other Car Dealers
Want to turn off your customers as fast as you can? Spend a lot of time talking about how they can’t trust any of the other dealerships in town. Automotive buyers want to know why they should buy a car from you, not why they shouldn't buy a car from someone else. There is always the possibility they've already visited other dealerships, didn’t like what they saw there and came to you instead. Focus on the positives of getting a vehicle at your dealership in order to build trust.
7. Dress for Success
If you want to impress potential buyers as a professional, dress like a professional and act the part. Wear clean clothes, opting to slightly over-dress. Be confident and positive. First impressions are important!
8. Avoid Pushing Too Hard For Sales
In most auto dealerships, salespeople work on a quota. If you haven’t reached your quota towards the end of the month, you can understandably feel the pressure to sell. It's best not to convey this to potential customers. Instead, the impression that you want to convey is that you are helping them learn more about the vehicles on your lot, not that you're pushing to meet a sales quota.
9. When Someone Says They'll Be Back, Be Sure to Follow Up
Someone who wants to buy a vehicle — but doesn’t want to buy it from you — often will tell you they need to look around more or talk to their spouse, but they'll be back. While this is true on some occasions, the reality is that most often, they won't. Experienced automotive salespeople know that people typically say this because they're not interested. In this case, offering to follow up on a question they had or checking back with them via email or phone can help improve your chances with these types of customers.
10. Pay Attention To All Potential Customers
Very often, a married couple or parents with a teenager will come together to look for a vehicle. Many salespeople make the mistake of only speaking to the husband or the parent. You never know who the final decision maker might be for this purchase, so it's best to engage with all potential customers who walk into the dealership. Find out who the vehicle is for and ask what each person is looking for out of the purchase. Even if it's not going to be their car, they may still have expectations and things they need for it to provide to the entire family.
11. Know the Cars on Your Lot
It's difficult to learn every small detail about every vehicle, especially with so much turnover and increasingly common technical features. Find out what makes each model unique and pay attention to the types of questions that people frequently ask, whether in-person or online. By learning those common questions or potential points of contention, you'll be well-prepared for the most critical questions during the sales process. If there is something you don't know, then use that as an opportunity to follow up with the buyer.
12. Read Between the Lines
One of the most important lessons you can learn about selling vehicles is that sometimes the customer wants a different car or truck than the one you're trying to sell them. You need to listen and recognize the signals that the customer is looking for something different, even if they themselves are unsure or are asking for something else. If you know their overall needs, you can easily show them something else that they would be happier with, based on their specific needs. This is especially true for people new to the car-buying experience or who may not know that a better option is available for what they require.
13. People Like to Talk — Let Them
One of the best ways to build rapport with a potential customer is to let them tell you something about themselves. If you listen carefully, they'll provide clues about how you can sell them a vehicle because they will naturally talk about the things that matter most to them. If they aren't talking very much, have a few great open-ended questions to get the conversation going. Often times, you can find out more than if you are asking simple yes/no questions.
14. Listen More Than You Speak
Knowing when to stop talking and just listen is one of the most important skills you can learn as an automotive salesperson. Too often, many salespeople think they must keep talking and control the conversation. In reality, this behavior actually puts off buyers. If you listen, you'll not only speed up the sales process, but you'll also improve your relationships with customers, discover what matters to them, and ultimately have a better chance of making a sale.
15. Don’t Be Overly Aggressive
One of the things buyers fear most is the overly aggressive salesperson. Treat your customers the way you want to be treated if you walked into an auto dealership to buy a new vehicle. Be friendly and confident. Give them the information they request. Listen to what they tell you about what they want in a vehicle. And most importantly, don’t push a vehicle they don’t want — ultimately, you want to ensure your customers are getting a car or truck they are happy with.
16. Always Follow Up
It doesn’t matter if you sold someone a new or used vehicle, your relationship with them should not end when they drive away. Put your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to work. A few days after the sale, call or email the buyer to see how they’re enjoying the vehicle and ask if there’s anything else that you can do for them. This is one of the best ways you can generate referrals and positive word-of-mouth. If this is a customer who has purchased several vehicles from you over the years, a card on their birthday or small gift during the holidays can further strengthen the relationship.
17. Final Inspection
You want to be the last person the buyer sees when they drive away with their purchase. Show them all of the different conveniences and how to use each of the options. You’d be surprised how many people have no idea just what they can do with their new vehicle. Be happy for them - you want them to remember your excellent service and friendly attitude when they leave. It’s another great way to ensure you get referrals in the future.
18. Enthusiasm and Attitude
Selling a vehicle can be hard work. It's important to be enthusiastic because when you feel enthusiastic about your job and what you’re doing, your customer will feel it, as well. However, be careful to not lay it on too thick — people can also tell when you’re being phony. When maintaining your enthusiasm, remember what an important experience this is for the buyer; purchasing a new vehicle is an important moment in their life. Be excited for them and help them find the perfect vehicle for their needs.
19. Protect Your Inventory
It's tough to make a sale if the vehicles in your inventory aren't in salable condition. In order to keep the vehicles you're showing in the best shape possible, you'll want to ensure they're in prime condition and protected from elements like hail. These days, there are few regions in the United States that are not subject to hailstorms.
Fortunately, there are protective coverings available that are durable but still attractive and inviting to potential customers looking at vehicles. As a bonus, it helps make a dealer lot a more comfortable, all-season environment for automotive salespeople and potential buyers by providing shade from UV/sun.
Vehicle Protection Structures (VPS) is the leading provider of these types of protective structures, pioneering the best practices in hail, heat and UV protection for automotive facilities and similar markets. Whether the project is small or large, VPS can customize a solution to meet the requirements of your dealership.
Automotive sales are enough of a challenge without the added impact of inclement weather. If you or your dealership are interested in learning more about how to protect your vehicles from hail, heat and UV, contact us for more information and a free quote.