No Demo, No Sale

By: Joe Verde

No Demo, No Sale

“I understand how important doing a good demonstration of the vehicle is, but everybody is different, so how do I know what to do each time?”

That’s a great question because when you mix quantity (how many demonstrations you give), with quality (a great demonstration for each individual customer) – that’s when you really improve your sales and income.

So that we’re all on the same page, let me remind you of a few critical stats that are directly tied to a quality demonstration and then we’ll get into the ‘How Do I Do a Good Demo?’ part later.

Can you still sell a few cars if you ignore the stats and fight the odds? Sure, but why would you want to swim against the current and lose a ton of sales each month, just to prove a point?

Every one of these stats either makes your sale easier to close, tougher to close or impossible for you to make. Since the goal is to sell more units at higher gross profits, read through each stat, think about it, rate yourself and then write a plan you’re willing to follow to make sure you improve in each area. If you will, you’ll improve your demonstrations overall, which will improve your unit sales, your gross profit, your income and your CSI. This will also help you build your own business by retaining your sold customers and from the new referrals you’ll get from doing such a great job.

Demo-related Stats & Facts

  • 20 percent is the average overall closing ratio. This average is based on total sold of all of the people you talk to each month. It’s actually lower because salespeople don’t count all of the people they talk to, but we’ll use 20 percent (2 out of 10) as our guide.

Why does this stat apply to demonstrations? Because quantity and quality of your demonstrations partially control your closing ratio.

  • 99 percent of the people will not buy a vehicle without driving it first. People are funny about that – they want to see how most products work before they’ll agree to buy them. They (and you) don’t buy expensive items like furniture, big screen TVs or cars without trying them out first.

Some salespeople want to argue against this stat and they can explain in detail why they don’t give more people a demonstration. You can justify all you want, but people are people. If you don’t let them drive it, chances are you aren’t going to sell it. So remember: no demo = no sale!

  • 60 percent of the time, customers do not even get a chance to drive a vehicle, which is bad luck for salespeople.

Responses to our online survey and from class attendees agree that in real life, salespeople only give a demonstration to a maximum of 4 out of every 10 people. (We do remind them to count all of the people they talk to, not just the ones they think are buyers. You need to do the same thing, too.)

Think about it – have you ever sold a service customer a vehicle before? How about someone who said, “We’re just looking,” – have you ever sold one of them a vehicle? How about the kid who told you his mom and dad were getting him a car soon – ever spend time with him, then got mom and dad involved and made that sale, sooner rather than later?

Of course, the answer is ‘yes’ to every question, and that’s why you have to count all of the people you talk to, so you can actually start to improve your demo ratio and sales.

You can’t pre-qualify and try to guess who the buyers are and always guess right. Given that the average salesperson only gives 4 out of 10 people a good demo (instead of 8 out of 10), they lose as many sales as they make.

  • 71 percent of people buy because they like, trust and respect the salesperson they worked with.

Oops #1 – 85 percent of the salespeople try to rush the sale and do not build enough rapport to establish the ‘like’ and ‘trust’ that are required to make most sales.

Oops #2 – Without the like and trust, your customers will not listen to you with an open mind; they’ll remain guarded in what they ask you and what they tell you. In the end, that means you’ll give fewer demonstrations because they don’t seem like buyers. Or the demonstrations you do give won’t be as valuable to them, because you couldn’t get enough information on their real hot buttons to be able to give them a targeted presentation and demonstration. All of that means you’re losing easy sales you could be making.

  • 80 percent of the buying and selling is done in your presentation steps, which include your driving presentation (most commonly referred to as a demo).

The demonstration is half of your presentation. Your walkaround is where you tell them about the features, advantages and benefits (FABs) that are important to them. The demonstration is where you show them those FABs at work. But you can’t show them, if you only tell them.

  • 80 percent of their decision to purchase will be based on just 20 percent of the features on your vehicles. That’s why it’s critical to investigate to find their hot buttons, and not just tell them everything you know about the product. Don’t forget to cover the the FABS during your walkaround and in your demonstration.
  • 85 percent of customers said that their salesperson did not investigate before they started trying to sell them a vehicle. This is a problem, because it means 85 percent of the time, most salespeople have no idea what a buyer’s hot buttons really are, which means they can’t possibly give a great demo.
  • 88 percent of customers said the demonstration they finally did get wasn’t very good. There is a huge difference between a quick ‘demo’ and a great driving presentation. ‘No demo’ virtually stops almost every potential sale dead in its tracks, and a quick spin around the block isn’t that much different: it will not move the sale much further forward. You need to separate a demonstration, from a great demonstration in your mind so you always focus on great.
  • 50 percent who do get a good presentation and demonstration buy on the spot. This is the key fact about what happens when you do give those great demonstrations that bring it all together for you and your customers. And for once, don’t argue: just do the math on what this means to you.

We know you close 20 percent on average; that’s two out of every 10. We also know the average salesperson will talk to 50 people this month and deliver 10 – that’s a 20 percent closing ratio. When you tie this 50 percent demo stat into the picture, you can start to see just how important a great demonstration is to your sales volume and income.

Overall Closing
50 people
x 20% close
   10 sales

Demo Closing Percent
    20 demos
x 50% close
   10 sales

Double Demos
    40 demos
x 50% close
    20 sales

Same 50 people, same closing skills – the only difference is a great demonstration to eight instead of four. Want to double your sales? Just double your demos and make sure they’re all great value-building driving presentations.

So it is really as easy at that: no demo, no sale. And if you’re ever tempted to think otherwise, ask yourself this question the next time you’re in a retail store searching for a big-ticket item like a television or a leather couch: would I really buy this if I couldn’t try it out first? I think you know the answer.

This article was written by:

- has written 57 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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One Response to “No Demo, No Sale”

  1. Lewis says:

    Thanks Joe – Useful & Informative


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