How To Sell From Stock

Help your dealers better target their vehicle sales with this winning strategy
By: Joe Verde

How To Sell From Stock

Selling from stock does not mean switching people from something that they need, to something that doesn’t fit their needs. Selling from stock means determining the customer’s wants and needs, and then presenting a vehicle in stock that will work for them and service their needs just as well or better than what they thought they wanted.

If you think about it, hardly anybody has to have a blue car unless they own a fleet of blue cars. Color is almost always just something they want, and is one of the easiest for them to compromise on. A need like economy, transportation, seating for seven or a safe vehicle is different. Blue is just a color option, and if it isn’t available, most people (86%) will go for their second or even third color choice, but only if you sell them on the value of the product, not just the color.

Just like learning how to sell value instead of price and incentives, we need to learn how to sell the product they need, not the color and not the equipment they just wish they could get. Plus, I don’t know if you’ve forgotten, but most people are on a budget and can’t justify the payment for that perfect vehicle anyway.

There are two things your dealers have to do if they want to sell more vehicles overall, and also sell more vehicles from their current inventory.

1. Learn how to stop saying “No, but I can get you one,” when they ask for a vehicle you don’t think you have in inventory.

Instead – just like learning to bypass price – learn to bypass the color (or equipment) so you have a chance to sell something in stock. Have your dealers pick the best answer to this next question to help them sell from stock:

Do you have a blue, 4dr with a navigation system and 22-inch wheels?

  • No, we don’t.
  • No, but I can get you one.
  • I don’t know, let’s go see (as you start walking toward the lot).
  • I don’t see one out front, what’s your second favorite color – silver, white or black (as you start walking)?

Which did they pick? Surely, you know not to pick the first one – and everything we’ve just talked about says don’t pick the second one. That means it’s down to numbers three or four – and I’m okay with both options.

Why? Because either one does the same thing, it moves the color (or equipment) away from the center of the conversation and gives the sales person a chance to start following the basic steps of selling.

2. Following the basics, especially building rapport and investigating to find their true needs, are the keys to success in selling from stock!

Rapport and investigation are always critical, and even more important when trying to sell something the customer doesn’t realize they want – yet. And when I say these steps are critical, I don’t mean you can skip the other basic steps to selling, but if you’re going to deliver something different than what they just told you they wanted (not needed), you’ll have to find out what else is important to them other than blue, navigation, automatic and special wheels.

You’ve heard what they want – now find out what they need. And don’t go south on me, by thinking their price range is what you need to focus on next – that will cost you twice as many sales as you make. The goal is to find their needs, so you can make a value-building presentation on a different vehicle and close the sale.

Remember: When it gets down to the wire, almost all of the people will make their decision to purchase based on the vehicle filling their needs, not whether it’s the right color or has the navigation system. They may want blue, but if they need a back seat for the kids, economy because they drive 50 miles each way to work and are very concerned about safety – in the end – their second favorite color will work just as well.

In fact, 71% of customers said they bought because they liked their salesperson. Since 86% are flexible on options, if they like the salesperson, the dealer has the advantage. The salesperson just has to follow the basics: build rapport, investigate, take the time to introduce them around the dealership and give a great presentation and demonstration on value, so the customer forgets the color.

Cut what if they insist on blue right off the bat? “Silver is our second favorite color, but we want a blue one.” No big deal, just have your salespeople respond, “That’s fine, they’ve been dropping off cars every day this week and they may be cleaning one up out back so we’ll take a look. First let’s look at a clean one (silver) – by the way, who’s the lucky one, who gets the new car, Betty is it for you or Bob this time?” (as you walk toward their second favorite color).

Important: Your salespeople have to learn more about their product and how to sell them, so they can give logical reasons to switch from those color or equipment options to what is in stock.

So here is the homework you should have every salesperson at every dealership complete: Have them start a list of advantages in owning a different color and/or equipment options that their prospects normally ask for. Have them list five benefits of owning each item (see below for an example) so they can use those benefits to help close on what the dealership has in stock.

Here is an example: Have them list the advantages for each of these common options:

  • To sell light colors instead of dark
  • To sell dark colors instead of light
  • To sell cars instead of SUVs/trucks
  • To sell SUVs/trucks instead of cars
  • To sell standard tires instead of 22-inch
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- has written 56 posts on Agent Entrepreneur.

Joe Verde Sales & Management Training, Inc., is an automotive sales and management training company focused on leadership, management and sales training. Joe Verde holds workshops across North America and pioneered virtual training with JVTN.

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