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Are you building value during your presentation/demonstration?

  In Part 3 of this series I'll go over the issue of spending some time outside of work perfecting your skills.  As we know in the automotive industry when you start your career most never receive any real training or if there is training it's very rudimentary.  When I started in the business I was given a box of about 20 VCR tapes and told to sit in a room for two days watching them.  Equally relevant, during this two day marathon I had a sales professional come in the room and talk to me for over a hour about how I was going to hate the business.  Upon completion of this worthless endeavor I was given an office, directed to where the forms were and told to shadow a 6 car a month salesman. 

  How many great people have we lost in the automotive industry due to this lack of training?  This strategy is setting new people up for failure and most importantly it's not giving new people the opportunity to fulfill their dreams.  What's even worse is that I know stores that still have this strategy in place for new hires. 

  We must analyze true professionals to see what separates the Oscar winner or #1 draft pick from the pack that never make it.  Do you think that a #1 draft pick just showed up for the game and never perfected their skill before the game?  The movie start that get's $20 million a movie do you think that is by coincidence?  The student that graduates with a 4.0 do you think he/she spent time outside of class studying?  What's inherent in all these professionals is that they spend a vast amount of time outside of their field perfecting their craft. 

  Do we think that the automotive industry is any different?  If you want to take your career to the next level it's imperative that you also sharpen your saw!!  Study websites, listen to lectures, read books and go to seminars to help increase your human capital.  Those that make the real money in this business have a strategy in place that made their dreams a reality.  Successful people take it upon themselves to become the best in their industry and that's why they are compensated as such. 

  Last but not least we must look at what we do as a career not just a job!!  Those that have the career mindset will put in the extra effort to take their career to the next level.  Good luck and good selling....     

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Rapport and Influence - Equal Partners

Rapport is a topic that is often discussed in the automotive industry. According to Wikipedia, rapport occurs when two or more people feel that they are in sync or on the same wavelength because they feel similar or relate well to each other. The questions are "How do you really build rapport with someone on the phone?" and "Does rapport really matter?" People are more receptive to people like themselves. To build rapport on the phone, make sure you take the correct approach. Before you ever pick up the phone, you must be confident in yourself, your dealership, and in your products. Notice, I said confident...not cocky. You never want to talk down to your customers. Have a tone in your voice that makes them feel comfortable and welcome. Your customers should get a feeling of chatting with an old friend. Find common ground, if possible. The more comfortable they are with you, the more they will listen and trust you. Many trainers will teach you to mirror your customer. Mirroring someone is easy in person. On the phone, you can mirror the customer's enthusiasm, urgency, and tone. You wouldn't expect to have the same conversation with one customer who is "all business" and with one who is very laid back. The tone of the conversation is different, but it should still be a conversation. We aren't robots. This is not an automated service. They want to speak WITH another human being. To answer the other question, ABSOLUTELY! If you can build rapport with someone, they are more likely to set an appointment, show for the appointment, and work with the sales team. The better your rapport, the more influence you have. Would you rather deal with someone you have no connection to or someone who feels like a friend? Most people, both at a dealership and in life, would rather go to their "connections" than to total strangers. If you build rapport with a customer, you get beyond the stranger category. Your customers are more easily swayed or influenced by someone they are connected to than Joe Smoe who works down the street. Just make sure your influence is positive. You can just as easily send them running if you build the wrong kind of rapport. When you ask questions, give them the respect of listening to their responses. Identify their concerns, wants, and needs. If they have concerns, explain the answers. Dealing with customers is building relationships. But like everything else, building rapport and relationships is a skill. It must be practiced to be perfected. Find out what works for you. Once you start working at it, building rapport will become "just the way you do it" and it will seem effortless.

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Are you building value during your presentation/demonstration?

The first variable that I would like to go into is the matter of getting the consumer excited about making their next biggest purchase next to buying a home.  I've been studying the Ritz Carlton Gold Standards and I would like to place emphasis on one of the standards called the "three steps of service."  It's defined as follows: 

  • A warm and sincere greeting. Use the guest's name.
  • Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest's needs.
  • Fond farewell. Give a warm good-bye and use the guest's name

Imagine for a second if your dealership gave every customer a Ritz Carlton like experience.  Are you aware of the value that it would bring to your dealership!!  Equally relevant, imagine how much easier it would be to close the deal with this added value. 

Let's look at some issues that may start the buying process off on the wrong foot:

1.  30 people standing outside like a pack of wolves. 

2.  Putting your cigarette out as you approach the customer.

3.  The attire that you are wearing looks like it was balled up in the corner. 

These are things that one would never see at the Ritz Carlton and that is why people don't mind spending the extra money due to the fact that their is a perceived value.  You must separate yourself from the old way of doing business and let the customer know that you take the opportunity to do business serious.  This added value will be needed when you are $200 away in payment or needing a cash investment that he/she didn't consider prior to coming to your store.

Last but not least is be a professional!!  Act like you're at the Ritz Carlton when dealing with customers and watch how your numbers grow i.e. offer your customer something hot or cold to drink, give them a tour of the dealership, take them to the bathroom don't just point where the bathroom is located and if the owner or GM is walking around introduce your customer to those in executive positions.  We must learn that we are in the "Wow" business which means we must have a strategy in place to "Wow" the socks off our customers. 

I'll go over the other variables soon good luck and good selling....








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Are you building value during your presentation/demonstration?

In the automotive industry we must learn the difference between building value versus just giving the car away.  We've all seen the sales professional that sells 15 cars for the month and makes $1,500 i.e. 15 mini deals.  How demotivating to spend an entire month putting in 60+ hours and then see a less than average paycheck; I truly believe the solution to this problem is one must learn how to build value and hold gross while your presenting your four square.  I've heard too many people complain about not making any money and at the end of the day he/she must look in the mirror and analyze themselves. 

Here are a couple things that I believe will help end this epidemic:

  • Stop letting the sales manager/closer close 99% of your deals i.e. become a closer not a order taker!!
  • Get the consumer excited about making their next biggest purchase next to buying a home
  • Spend some time outside of work perfecting your closing skills
  • Get better with product knowledge
  • Always assume the sale
  • Don't wait until the first pencil to close the sale ask closing questions during the sale

There are many more but I just wanted to point out a few that I believe will help with helping people get better with holding gross.  Good luck and good selling..... 


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