Tag Archive | "questions"

Diagnosing Your Clients’ Needs

When people think about making a vehicle purchase, they aren’t likely to compare talking with you to going to the doctor, but you should make that comparison when preparing to talk with clients. People trust doctors. They usually accept the diagnosis and prescription for wellness with few questions asked. That’s because they recognize doctors as experts in their fields. Your goal is to have your clients see you the same way. When they have an ache or pain related to their mode of transportation, they should immediately think of calling you. That’s because they’ll be confident you have the right prescription for their ills.

To earn this level of respect and trust, you need to start every relationship with the right skills. These skills include a caring manner, a confident air, and your diagnostic tools. The tools you use in diagnosing the automotive needs of your clients may be as simple as a pad of paper and your product knowledge. They may include your past client experiences, personal experiences or memories.

The most powerful diagnostic tools used by all people in sales are questions. Like a doctor, your use of questions begins with general areas of need. Then, based on the answers you are given, you narrow your questions down to where you can readily determine the right cure or solution for the clients’ needs.

Average car salespeople have this fantasy in which they think they should be able to simply present the wonderful features of their vehicles and the customer, seeing the value, pulls out their checkbook or credit card and says, “I’ll take it.” If customers made buying decisions based on features alone that might work, but it’s a rare occasion when it does.

The reality of it is that most buying decisions are based on past experiences, the experiences of others the client trusts, advertising, gut feelings and hundreds of other factors that you can’t do much about. So, you have to start with questions to find out what they’re thinking. Get them talking about their needs, wants and perceptions of your product or service. The answers will help you put yourself in their shoes. Once you’re there, you’ll see what steps you need to take in order to help them take to make a sound buying decision.

Be sure to ask “what past experience do you have with this type of vehicle?” It could be that they’re very well-versed on the features of an SUV or luxury sedan, even used it in the past, and are seeking a new one of the same type. If they know little or nothing about the vehicle they’ve come to see, you’ll have to invest a bit more time in educating them as to the features and what they can expect.

Ask very specifically what they hope to accomplish with an investment in this particular type of vehicle. It could be that one of your vehicle’s key benefits is sought after by most clients. However, that feature does nothing for this particular client. You won’t want to turn them off by talking about something that doesn’t matter to them.

I like to use the analogy of a torpedo when talking about this subject. A torpedo leaves a ship in the general direction of its intended target. It bounces a signal off in the target direction. If the signal doesn’t come back, it corrects its direction to get back on course, and sends another signal seeking feedback.

That’s what questioning does for you. You take off in a certain direction with your questions. The answers you receive either tell you that you’re on target or that you need to take another tack. Rarely will you take a direct course from initial contact to the vehicle sale. More often than not, you’ll find yourself zig-zagging but all the while heading in the general direction of the sale until you find just the right answer for each and every client.

Take a moment to think about the quality of the questions you are asking. How quickly and accurately are they bringing you back the information you need to move forward with a sale? If you continually get hung up in one aspect of your presentation, invest some non-client time writing out the questions you’re using now. Then, think about how you could rephrase them to get better feedback. An even better strategy is to make a list of all the information you need to have before asking for a decision. Then, work backwards, writing out the questions that will provide those answers. Either way, you’ll soon find yourself with better questions to ask, and a shorter, more efficient sales process.

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Questions Are the Answer

When you work with a new-car prospect, don’t you agree that you should try for several minor “yeses” before you go for the big “yes” buying decision? It makes sense, doesn’t it? It would be helpful to learn a specific technique that would begin a string of “yes” answers, wouldn’t it? You’re probably getting tired of all these questions, aren’t you?

If you answered yes to these four questions, you’ve just proven the effectiveness of the “tie-down” questioning technique. Let me begin by defining the term tie-down. A tie-down is a question at the end of a sentence that calls for a positive response. Here are some examples:

“A reputation for excellent service after the sale is important in making this decision, isn’t it?”
“I can tell you are happy to hear that we have a wide range of financing options, aren’t you?”
“You can see how our evening service hours would make your life easier, can’t you?”

This technique works most effectively when you tie-down a positive statement about the benefits of your services that you know your prospect needs. The key is to not over-use them so your prospect won’t suspect you’re using a technique. Here are 18 standard tie-downs that you’ll find useful:

Aren’t they? Don’t we? Isn’t it?
Aren’t you? Shouldn’t it? Isn’t that right?
Can’t you? Wouldn’t you? Didn’t it?
Couldn’t it? Haven’t they? Wasn’t it?
Doesn’t it? Hasn’t he? Won’t they?
Hasn’t she? Won’t you? Don’t you agree?

You don’t want to use too many of them with any one client, just enough to get the “yeses” flowing. Experiment with your existing presentation until you find a comfortable number of tie-downs to use without sounding repetitive.

Another way to keep these tie-downs from sounding overused is to use them in other forms: “inverted” and “Internal.” I’ll use the same example as above to demonstrate them.

STANDARD: A reputation for excellent service after the sale is important in making this decision, isn’t it?
INVERTED: Isn’t a reputation for service after the sale important in making this decision?
INTERNAL: A reputation for excellent service after the sale is important, isn’t it, in making this decision?

The inverted and internal tie-downs allow you to hide the fact that you’re using a technique while adding warmth to your statements. By using all three types, you’ll have a good mixture of them to build into your presentation. Once you’ve learned them and worked with them, use of the tie-down will become a speech habit that will improve your business and your earnings.

Another form of the tie-down you might consider using is the “tag-on tie-down.” It can be used in a variety of ways. The simplest is to tie down a positive statement your prospect has just made. For example, if he says, “Having a good extended warranty is important,” you would say, “Isn’t it?” The prospect made a positive statement and you agreed, but then you also asked for another positive statement. The statement being the word, “yes.”

Another useful questioning technique is the “Alternate of Choice.” An alternate of choice question is one that suggests two answers, either one will confirm that your prospect is going ahead. The easiest example of this is for getting an appointment. The average salesperson will say to their prospect, “When can we get together?” This allows the prospect to say, “Never” or “I’m too busy just now, I’ll call you later.”

In using the alternate of choice question, you would say, “I have an appointment opening this afternoon at 3 p.m. or would 4:30 p.m. be more convenient for you?” You’ve given your prospect two choices, one of which they will most likely agree to. If they cannot make either appointment, they’ll tell you and you can counter with another alternate.

This is also a good technique to use when you try to get a delivery date from your prospect once they show signs of going ahead. “You mentioned wanting to remove some things from your current vehicle. How soon would you want to take delivery of your new truck? Today or would tomorrow be better?” Just remember to use it whenever you have two alternatives you can give to your prospect, and both of them require a positive response.

These two simple questioning techniques are the first steps to turning your existing presentations into positive momentum builders. Remember, a quick reading of these techniques will not do. You need to read them, study them, learn them and practice them until they become a natural part of your speech. If you have to stop and think before using these techniques, your prospect will suspect you are using a sales technique and will try to fight you. Once they’ve become a natural part of your speech, they will flow smoothly and add warmth to your presentation. All it takes is one “yes” to turn a prospect into a satisfied client.

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