Tag Archive | "Trainer"

What is the Sky and Why is it Blue? The Importance of the Customer Facility Tour

In order to create true value and a clear understanding of our surroundings, we must first know what we’re looking at. Then, we need to understand “why” it is what it is. Let’s look at an example.

What is the sky? I never thought about this question until I was asked in front of a large group. Merriam-Webster defines the sky as: “The upper atmosphere or expanse of space that constitutes an apparent great vault or arch over the earth.” Why is the sky blue? The scientific answer is: “A clear, cloudless daytime sky is blue because molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more than they scatter red light.” Providing the “why” in all situations allows us to remove our own perceived reality (perceived value) and operate on a true reality (intended value).

For us, the real question is why add a dealership tour into the sales process? Maybe the harder question to answer is why are we no longer doing a dealership tour? There are several steps to take in order to create “buy-in” by all employees and establish a culture that’s unique to a dealership, which should be the “wow” factor. There are four reasons why dealerships should offer a dealership tour after the customer’s commitment to buy and prior to sitting with the F&I manager to sign paperwork.

The first reason is to simply create an activity for the customer while the necessary documents are prepared. Studies suggest buyer’s remorse begins the moment a customer agrees on the product purchase. Buyer’s remorse can become a debilitating physical and mental condition, and many people have a greater fear of making the wrong decision than making the right one. The greatest way to combat the buyer’s remorse effect is to continue building value in the purchase and offering validation that the decision was the correct one. This process needs the entire dealership to assist in the campaign and escort the customer through the dealership to each department, showing them what the dealership has to offer (lounge, restrooms, parts, service, kids’ area, coffee bar, Internet, etc.). Keep in mind, this is an exciting time for everyone, so it’s crucial to be lively and make it a positive memory the customer will carry forever.

The second reason why a dealership must offer a tour is to teach the customer how we do business. I know this may sound backwards, but let’s clarify this portion of the “why.” The old school mentality of a dealership was to learn how to do business with the customer. Today, we stand on different ground and teach the customer how to do business with the dealership. Our ultimate goal is to achieve customer satisfaction, and to provide the customer with a complete understanding of the overall operations at the dealership and how they work for them. Doing this will increase your dealership’s Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) scores. Simple information such as the departments’ hours of operation, service center location, and department contact information is a great place to start. The more the customer knows about the operation and process, the easier it is for them to do business with the dealership. We all live and die by the CSI; this is a dealership’s opportunity to create an exceptional buying experience while improving the CSI score.

As significant as it is to inform the customer about the dealership’s operations, a personal relationship might be even more important. That’s why the third “why” of a dealership tour is to create depth in the customer–dealership relationship. Simply put, the more people a customer knows at the dealership, the more likely they are to do business with that dealership in the future. Introducing the customer to a specific person in each department allows other relationships to form. The customer will more likely return if they have multiple relationships at that dealership, as people tend to do business with people who are like them. Since customer retention is a key part of our industry, a dealership should use this opportunity to get to know the customer and become someone they can relate to.

The fourth and final “why” a dealership staff should participate in the tour is to sell. There, I finally said it! Yes, we need to use this time to sell the customer additional parts, accessories and clothing. As all dealerships know, total dealership profit has to be a part of the big picture. The goal is not to turn this into a sales pitch, but rather an opportunity for the customer to buy. In 1887, John H. Patterson wrote “How I Sell National Cash Registers,” which eventually became the Primer. This was a manual that contained instructions on not only what salesmen should say, but what to do while saying it. That same year, J.H. Patterson wrote the following statement in the Primer, “No man likes to feel he is being sold.” This is definitely not a new concept. It is not rocket science, but definitely a part of the rocket.

As the customer begins to experience the dealership, the level of excitement and commitment should rise as anxiety continues to fall. In a way, a family begins to build while the relationships continue to grow. Staff members will have the opportunity to share their ideas and opinions during their conversations with the customer and also have the ability to “plant seeds” for upcoming visits with the finance manager. The simple acknowledgement of a product advertisement or installed product by the sales/parts/service staff will be advantageous to both the customer and F&I office.

Life is a complex place with many opportunities to disappoint. Our job as sales professionals is to rise above all the preconceived ideas of bad sales experiences and provide a spectacular memory. Building a relationship with customers and truly honoring the value that offers is how a dealership will find itself at the next level. Taking the time to care about the customers’ buying experience and committing to being exceptional is what every dealership should strive for. No matter what happens, a customer will remember their experience at any dealership; the important question is how will they remember that dealership and why?

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Closing with Confidence

Wouldn’t it be nice if they made a confidence pill, not just for sales, but for anything? If a “confidence in closing” pill existed, it would be a really strong closing tool! That pill doesn’t exist to my knowledge; so unless you have the “natural” gift, then how do you close with confidence? Considering the different key elements in closing with confidence, let’s look at some obvious things first.

Preparation, now that’s one thing that is really hard to substitute. It’s the dedication to prepare that provides a boost and causes you to exude confidence when entering a negotiation. If I I begin a presentation knowing that I’m 100% prepared, my confidence is through the roof. Therefore, I feel that I am able to handle any objections and ultimately close the deal.

Looking back at those who are “naturals,” sometimes they feel their gift for sales can get them the deal. When you combine natural ability with a commitment to preparation, you can really close with confidence. I have met several people who had natural ability, but I have seen that natural ability can only take them so far. They enter a negotiation armed with objection-handling techniques like Bruce Lee in “Enter The Dragon.” The problem comes down to a failure to prepare and use the correct steps, which leaves them without the confidence needed to close the deal.

Practice your approach; if the pros practice the plays they are going to execute in the game, why shouldn’t we practice closing before sitting in front of a customer? Not only do we train on the process in finance and sales, but we also do extensive role-playing to make sure students are proficient in their techniques. You will feel more confident in closing if you practice going over closes and getting your word tracks to flow smoothly.

Recently a movie came out called “The Wolf Of Wall Street” about a real life closer, Jordan Belfort. He would often ask people to “sell me this pen.” In the movie, there is a scene where Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, asks this of a man sitting at his table. The man takes the pen and then asks Belfort to write his name down. Belfort replies that he does not have a pen. “Exactly,” the man replies, “supply and demand.”

Although the answer in the movie is not the real one, according to Belfort, before he sells a pen to anybody, he says he needs to know about that person. Belfort said, “I want to know what their needs are. What kind of pen do they use? Do they even use a pen? Do they use a pen formally or just in everyday life?”

So what was the real point Belfort was trying to make? Simple – don’t skip the steps to the sale! Whether it’s a pen or a penthouse, the needs analysis plays a major role in the needs satisfaction. Skipping steps to the sale can leave even a “natural” looking for bullets at the closing table.

One topic that always comes up in our training school is having confidence while presenting numbers. We address this confidence by building value in everything leading up to the close, such as fact-finding, the demo, the trade evaluation and trial closes. When you do the right things and don’t skip steps, you are prepared to close and you feel confident to do so.

Since we know automotive as well as all sales sectors will continue to change, we have to be more prepared. We are in such a technology-filled world; customers have more resources than ever available to them, so we have to be more transparent. A pushy sales person can turn a client away, so don’t be pushy – be confident! A powerful way to be confident is to believe. Believe in yourself. Believe that you are prepared to close and that they should buy from you. Believe in your company – what it’s about, and how long they’ve been in business. Share how the business cares about its customers and its employees. Believe in your product, its features and benefits to your clients, and that it will meet their needs, because you understand what they are looking for.

Once you identify these things and feel confident, you’re ready to negotiate and close. When closing, remember to clarify and understand what the objection is, so you can truly address the client’s objection and close with confidence. Rephrase the objection in a way that is easier for you to overcome. Isolate the objection so you can handle it without any additional concerns.

Following these simple steps will give you the ammunition you need to start closing with confidence.

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