Tag Archive | "Joe Verde"

Control The Process and Make The Sale

I get this question a lot from salespeople, “Why do you say we have to be in control if people already know what they want?”

Because 86% don’t buy what they said they wanted and too often, salespeople assume their prospects won’t slow down and let them do their job just because they come on the lot and say, “We know we want a white X-40 SUV with 3rd row seating – do you have one and how much is it?”

Since selling is a process, if you’re going to sell a lot of cars and make a lot of money, then you’re going to have to learn how to control every step of the process, which includes slowing things down and learning how to direct the conversation.

Don’t misunderstand me though, ‘control’ isn’t a power struggle and you aren’t trying to win an argument or push them to the sale. I just mean keeping the sale and the conversation on track and headed in the right direction.

This subject takes up a lot of discussion in our classes, but here are a couple of quick tips:

  1. Be prepared! “winging it” doesn’t work well in sales. You don’t have time to think about what to say or do next. Each response to a question or to an objection has to be a reflex response you develop through a ton of practice.
  2. Give them what they want! Saying “No!” or stalling a customer is bad luck for the sale.

Example: They ask you about trade value or best pricing up-front. Don’t say, “We have to find the exact car first.” And don’t head inside to do a write up. Instead say, “Not a problem, I’ll get that for you right away, my manager should be through in just a few minutes, so let’s go ahead and take the one you like best for a quick spin and by the time we get back, he should be ready for us – who wants to drive first Betty, you or Bob?”

  • Did you agree to do what they asked? Absolutely.
  • Did you explain why you couldn’t do it immediately? Yes.
  • Did you offer a logical plan of action until you could get price or trade information for them? Yes.
  • Are they upset? No.
  • Did you regain control? Yes.
  • Are they now focused on pricing or the car? The car.

The person asking the questions controls the conversation. If it’s them asking questions, they’re in control. If it’s you, you’re in control. Learn the process to bypass price and other pricing questions and learn how to steer the conversation to another topic by asking the right questions.

Don’t Lose Control with Interruptions!

You’re trying to explain to a customer why they should spend $37,000 for a vehicle and in the middle of your presentation you say, “Excuse me for a second, I have a phone call.”

If you take that call, what happens to the like, interest and desire you were building? Did it just increase or decrease? When their interest and desire drops, is that good luck or bad luck? Exactly – when you are distracted, you lose sales.

What happens when you’re trying to work three customers at the same time? Same thing – instead of splitting a deal with someone else, you’ll take forced shortcuts and usually lose two sales while you’re trying to make all three. I’m amazed at how many salespeople don’t catch on to the fact that half of something is better than all of nothing.

On my best Saturday morning in sales, I had my name on the board seven times and made two grand before noon. Yes, I split all but one of them, and six other salespeople got the benefit of me having seven people on the lot all at the same time. Sure, I could have tried to handle them all at once or had them come back and maybe I would have ended up selling half of them, but that could have been sales suicide. Unfortunately, some salespeople commit sales suicide day after day and never catch on. No distractions when you’re with a customer.

To Keep the Sale on Track – Pay Attention!

In class we talk about communication skills because they’re obviously critical in sales. So how do people communicate?

If you said we talk, you’d be correct. However, our words make up only 7% of our communication.

If you added how we talk, you’d be even more correct. Tone and inflection make up 38% of effective communication.

If you also added body language, you’d be right, because 55% of our communication is through our body language.

We communicate with our words, our tone and inflection and with our body language. It’s what you see and how people say the words that determine the real meaning of their communication. If you’re going to do much selling, you’re going to have to learn to communicate more effectively yourself, and learn how to hear and see what your customers really mean, regardless of what they’re saying.

To sell more, you need to focus 100% of your attention on your customers. You have to know exactly where you are in the sale, and through their words, tone, inflection and body language, you have to determine when to move forward, when to slow down, and when to close the sale.

To communicate more effectively with them, practice and improve your words, how you say them, and watch your body language as you’re talking to your customer.

Remember, you aren’t just watching and listening to them to know when to close. They’re also watching and listening to you to decide if they like you, trust you and feel comfortable enough to buy from you right now – today!

Help salespeople sell more with Joe Verde’s book, “Earn Over $100,000 Selling Cars – Every Year.” Go to joeverde.com/store to get a free PDF or order a free soft cover book.

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What’s Your Preference – Easy or Tough Customers?

With two types of customers out there, who would you prefer – the easy ones or the tough ones? Most of us were taught to spend our careers waiting around for our dealers to supply us more of the toughest to close type of customer. If there are easy customers and tough customers, though, who would want to spend a career focusing on the toughest ones?

Most salespeople in the car business, that’s who. When you learn how to drive your own business into the dealership, by default, you deal with some of the nicest and easiest buyers in the market. They already like you, know you and trust you. When you don’t drive your own traffic, by default you spend most of your time working with…

  • Price Shoppers. They’ve seen ads from every dealership, most have been online, they’ve checked out pricing, and once they start their buying adventure, they’ll hit four or five dealerships before they buy. The good news: the other salespeople they’ll meet at other dealerships aren’t very good at what they do. So even if you want to spend a career hoping your dealer supplies you with these prospects – if you develop your skills, you can still hit 12 to 15 or 20 units a month.
  • People with a bad attitude today. Wow – after having to stop at four or five dealerships and talk to salespeople who were pretty clueless about the buying and selling process – who wouldn’t start having a bad day? When you run into someone who’s mad before you talk to them, assume they’ve been shopping for a car all day and the fun has worn off. Know, too, that if you get grumpy, they get worse; so just diffuse everything instead.

I always used to say, “Wow – sounds like you’ve been shopping for cars all day and aren’t having much fun.” Because I was correct more often than not, most would go through a light rant for a few seconds about how they’d been treated and how rotten we all are.

I’d listen and then apologize for how they were treated down the street by the other guy, “I understand how you feel and I apologize for those guys, and that’s why we do so much more business than everyone else around – customers like our no pressure approach. So who’s the lucky one, who gets the car this time Bob, you or Betty?”

And within a couple of minutes, we’re off on the right track and they’re glad they’ve met me.

  • People with a “How To Buy a Car” book or internet report, who only want to know how much over invoice you’ll sell it for. “We want a white one of those, we want (this) equipment and we know what you paid for it.”

You have a choice to make: Fight it or embrace it. Guess which way works best?

They’ve done this before and they’re expecting trouble. So congratulate them for doing their homework instead.

“Sounds like you guys know exactly what you want and have done your homework (and then get back on track), so who’s the lucky one, who gets the car this time Betty, you or Bob?” It’s for both of us, but we don’t want to play games, we want this vehicle in white. “Not a problem, let’s go find it, and what’s your second favorite color, blue or silver?” Silver, but we want white. “Great, and who’ll be driving most of the time, you or Bob?”

And in just a few easy questions, you’re out of the ditch and back on the road to a sale. All it takes is understanding how the customer actually feels, good selling skills and the confidence to pull it off.

  • Then you have some people who just want to grind the discount right out of you. They walk in a lot like the people above, but they’re a little tougher. They aren’t happy people, at least not today. “I want to know your best price (period)!” They don’t need to drive it, think they know everything and act like they can buy anything they want.

The best news; these are the five percenters we talk about. And to remind you, you’ll never have to talk to one of these prospects your entire career, if you’ll take the time to attend training and learn how to build your own business through follow up and prospecting.

But for those of you who enjoy a challenge or two every month – what’s the best way to handle them? There are three things I can think of: Head straight to your manager with your I’m weak and can’t control this guy story; Turn them to the new guy, go to lunch, and then try to weasel in on the deal if he makes it. Or my choice: Call their bluff.

I’ve learned through experience that while most of these people huff and puff, they really can’t blow your house down. Even better, I’ve learned that when you can get through to them, they’ll become some of your best customers and will refer tons of people to you. But you can’t be rude or arrogant – you just have to agree and close.

I want this car and I want your best price! “No problem, (start walking as you say…) pull out that check book, follow me and we’ll have you outta here in 20 minutes.”

Two statistics I know: He hasn’t driven this car and 99% of people won’t buy it until they do, and there’s a 94% chance he doesn’t have a checkbook big enough to write that check.

So what does he do? He stammers, gets flustered and before long says something like, “Now hold on (etc.)” Then you get to apologetically say, “Gosh, I got a little ahead of myself,” and start over with “Who’s the lucky one, etc.?”

If you’re going to focus on walk-in traffic, you’re going to need way better selling skills than if you deal with repeat customers, who buy because they like you. Walk-ins only buy when you can sell better than the salesperson down the street.

Big tip with tough customers: Quit trying to win the argument and learn how to make the sale instead.

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The Easy Way to Grow Every Year… Manage Your Sales from the Bottom UP

What’s wrong with this picture?

Verde chart

That’s easy to spot – this person’s sales are stuck at an average of 12 units each month from too many bad months.

They can definitely sell more. In fact, in their three best months with sales of of 15, 16 and 15 (totaling 46) they sold 35% more than in their four worst months with sales of of 8, 9, 8 and 9 (34).

The Problem With Growing

In the example above, we’ve all heard this salesperson boast at the beginning of the monthly goal setting meeting, “I can hit 20 this month.” Sure it can be done, but hitting 20 is 30% more than their best three month average. So one of two things usually happens…

1. They put in double shifts and either come close or hit their goal. Congrats!

Sounds great except for that little issue of being exhausted. Wearing yourself out on hours usually means that a record 20-unit month is usually followed by a pretty bad eight or nine unit month. In real life, if this salesperson just worked smarter in both months instead of longer, they’d easily sell a couple of units above their 12-unit average both months and end up with the same 28 or 29 units.

2. 80% of the time, they don’t come close to 20 and then they blame anyone and anything.

You don’t need to try to break records every month to improve your sales year after year. How can that be? Easy, the secret is just learning to…

Manage your sales from the bottom up, not from the top up.

What do I mean? Slow down and look at the chart again. This person only had four months that fell below their 12-unit average. But those four bad months wiped out the benefit of their three best months.

But don’t you need record months, too? Yes, but you’ll always have higher and lower months than your average. So when you raise your average from the bottom up, you’ll also end up having better months on the high end, too.

Instead of focusing on having a 20-unit month, what happens to the average for this salesperson if they just focused on eliminating their below average months?

Even if their best months never got better, if this salesperson just eliminated months below that 12-unit average, their average would go up to 13.2. Not from working longer, not from working harder, and not from having a record month or two, just by working smarter.

And 13.2 is 14 more units over the next 12 months. At $300 per unit (not counting bonuses) that’s an extra $4,200, from better managing their bad months.

Learn to control your bad times and your good times will improve, too. This month, think about some of the changes you can make to turn this year into a record year for you.

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In Just 21 Days You Can Turn On Success!

I want to share a technique I’ve learned that can change and improve anything in your life you want to change.

If you’re unhappy with your sales, your attitude, your skills, your work habits, your weight or anything else you can think of, you can change it in just three short weeks. Successful people in every walk of life have learned to use this technique to achieve positive changes in their personal lives and their careers.

If you think about it, don’t we do almost everything out of habit?

Don’t we dry off after a shower the same way each time, shave in the same routine, comb our hair the same way, always brush our teeth the same way, get dressed the same way, eat the same meal for breakfast and drive to work the same route each time – simply because that’s what we always do? Aren’t our lives pretty much a summary of all the habits we’ve picked up through the years?

Problem: Some of our habits aren’t good for us though, like eating a pound of bacon for breakfast every day, adding a little coffee to our cup of sugar or waiting for something to happen in sales.

We all do things we know we shouldn’t do, and we all do things we wish we did better. So let’s understand what causes us to do the same things over and over again, even when our old habits cost us sales.


It’s the last day of the month and you need two more units to hit your next bonus level. You’ve been doing things right, staying off price, following the Basics.

Now when you’re under pressure, you fall back to your old habits of rushing, pre-qualifying, skipping steps and trying to close on price, hoping to hit those other two sales.

Is that a good strategy or a bad one? If you said it’s a bad strategy, you’re right. It’s going to cost you big time. You’re five times more likely to make those two sales by following the basics than by trying those shortcuts!

That means you’ll be lucky to hit even one of them, much less both for the bonus. Speed kills sales!

Breaking a Habit

The easiest way to break a habit is to replace it with a new one.

You see ex-smokers chewing gum instead of smoking, and dieters switching to bottled water instead of 90-ounce sodas (flavored liquid sugar – with free refills).

Want to develop better sales habits? It’s easy, just start by making a list of the things you do now that you know you could be doing better. Then set a goal to improve.

Do you have poor closing skills?

Are you not asking enough closing questions?

Simple – just change your habit.

You know that 80% of the sales are closed after the fifth attempt, so carry at least five pennies in your right pocket and move them one at a time to your left pocket each time you ask a closing question.

By focusing on the pennies, you’ll ask for the sale more times. Move more pennies – make more sales. Do this for 30 days and you’ll also develop the habit of asking five times or more with every prospect.

Tracking is Critical to Changing Habits!

Most salespeople don’t really know how many prospects they talk to each month, how many incoming calls they get, how many presentations, demos or write ups they do, much less how many times they try to close the sale, how many unsold prospects they call, or how many of them come back in.

You have a lot of habits that can easily be improved – which means more sales and income. But without tracking every opportunity, activity and result, you won’t know what you need to work on to improve, so the first critical habit to develop is tracking every opportunity, every activity and every result.

Not sure where to start? At a minimum, every day track the number of ups you talk to, the number of demos, write-ups and sales for the day. Develop this most important habit of tracking everything you do and all of the other habits and changes you need to make to improve will become obvious.

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Don’t Forget To Close The Sale!

Oops! You forgot to close again…

Sometimes salespeople assume the buyer is so ready to buy, that everything will just take care of itself, and they won’t have to close the sale. Sorry – that doesn’t work very often.

Even when most salespeople attempt to close and get some kind of objection and then think they handled the objection (issue), they still forget to ask another closing question.

Remember these three points about todays new buyers…

1. People aren’t shopping much any more. Sure, some still stop at four or five or ten dealerships. But on average, buyers today stop at 1.5 to 1.8 dealerships to make their purchase. When you have a customer on your lot, you need to assume they came to buy today from your dealership, and that if you do a good job, you’ll make the sale.

2. 78% … eight out of ten people you talk to this month will buy a vehicle, and that isn’t a question. 90% of them will buy it within a week, and that isn’t a question, either. If you don’t have the skills to close the sale, a salesperson down the street probably doesn’t either, but eventually customers give up and just buy in spite of their fears or objections.

3. Some of your customers are so afraid they’ll make a bad decision that 80% who really want a vehicle you have in stock will still leave without buying if you don’t know how to nudge them to buy with effective closing skills.

Remember these points, too, about closing in today’s market…

4. 80% of the sales are closed after the 5th attempt to close. I’m not talking about handling tough objections; it’s just that one or two closing questions isn’t enough to get the average person to say, “Sure, let’s do it.” That means if you don’t know enough ways to close the sale or if you only ask a couple of times, eight out of ten will buy down the street.

5. If you don’t even try to close the sale, their answer defaults to “No” and eight out of ten who leave will buy from a salesperson down the street –and they will get the commission.

6. If you only try to close a couple of times and then whip out your business card, eight out of ten who leave will buy down the street and that salesperson will get the commission.

7. When you ask a closing question or get an objection and hear a “No” in any form –if you think “No” means “NO”, you’ll miss most sales. “No” just means, “Based on what you’ve told me so far, I’m not ready to say ‘YES’ yet. Give me a few more reasons to buy and ask me again, later.”

8. 50% of the people buy on the spot when they get a good presentation and demonstration. That means if you’ll follow the eight steps every single time and learn a few easy closing and objection handling methods, you can easily deliver a vehicle to every other person you talk to this month.

You’ve worked hard – closing is the final step,
so don’t stumble now – you’re almost there.

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Three Big Mistakes Salespeople Make In Negotiating

You can have the nicest customer, have done a great job of selling, and have a firm commitment to purchase (total mental ownership) and still lose deals once you pull out the paperwork and try to close it inside (negotiate).

Here are three of the most common and costliest mistakes salespeople make as they start working the deal.

1.   Most salespeople lose control.

To be more accurate, most salespeople never had any control. Your first two to three minutes pretty much determine your outcome with every customer. Control starts with your greeting and first few questions. And if you can’t control the direction of the conversation there, good luck negotiating, you’ll definitely need it.

The person asking questions controls the conversation and the direction of the conversation – and that means by asking questions, you control the selling process.

Most salespeople don’t know how to ask questions, but their customers sure do. How much is it? What can I buy it for? What would payments be? How much down? What’s my trade worth? The list is endless, and if you just become an answering machine – you’ll lose almost every sale you could have made.

2.  Most salespeople are allowed to take shortcuts.

Too many salespeople take a deal to the desk, and then they work their manager harder than they work the customer. Instead of doing it right, they bring a loose deal, with no paperwork and no real commitment to the manager and say, “I can’t get a commitment, but he’s gonna leave if I don’t give him a price.” So instead of making us do it right, too many managers let us do it wrong in hopes of making the sale.

If you don’t understand the correct way to work a deal, that’s a subject that’s way too big for this article. So get to a sales class and then a closing and negotiation class. Don’t try to shortcut things again, learn to close first and then negotiate. Negotiation is hard if the vehicle wasn’t ‘sold’, or if the deal wasn’t closed correctly. Stop taking shortcuts in your career and you’ll make more money in sales than you ever imagined.

3.   Most salespeople focus their selling and negotiating on price.

I know everybody brings up price in some form, every time, on every deal, but price is not what customers buy and it’s almost never their primary concern.

Price wasn’t even on a recent JD Power Top 10 Survey that looked at what buyers want, and it’s #16 on most customers’ priority list after they find a vehicle they want to own. And then when you get to the negotiation, no matter what they say, or even agree to about price, for 94% of the people, it will still depend on fitting the vehicle in their budget because they’ll be making payments.

Learning how to work with price is critical to selling cars, and there are three things you have to learn to do with price:

  • Bypass… You have to learn to answer their questions like, “How much is it?” and get right back to following the process. It’s extremely easy if you learn how to ask the right questions.
  • Rephrase… When you get a price objection when you’re closing, you need to rephrase their objection to budget for multiple reasons. That’s easy, too, if you ask the right question.
  • Refocus… You work deals on price, but their decision to buy will always be based on budget. You have to learn the right questions to take the focus from price back to terms.

When you work this list backwards and learn how to ask questions, learn how to deal with price, and stop taking shortcuts, you’ll have more control and you’ll sell more cars.

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