One of my college professors was famous for a crazy stunt that he pulled every semester. On the first day of class, he would introduce himself, take off his shirt and jump out the window. A few minutes later he returned to the classroom, calmly put on his shirt and asked, “Do I have your attention?”
He certainly did.
It turns out this guy wasn’t crazy at all. Do you know how hard it is to capture the attention of a bunch of jaded students? I would guess it’s almost as difficult as capturing the attention of a bunch of jaded car shoppers.
Many car dealers have mastered the art of getting attention. Think of the inflatable gorillas, wavy tube men and thousands of balloons that adorn lots everywhere. Think of the dealers that don 10-gallon hats and scream at the camera that this is the best deal of all time.
It’s one thing to be able to get attention. But the real question is, once you have that attention, can you deliver an experience that meets customer expectations?
The professor who jumped out the window was probably the best teacher I ever had. While the stunt that he pulled made him memorable, what made him great was that he delivered in the classroom on a daily basis with passion, purpose and knowledge.
To keep your customers’ attention, you must deliver as well. If you’re passionate about what you do, people will be drawn to you. If you have purpose, people will admire you. If you are knowledgeable, people will respect you. And years later, those same people will remember you as one of the greatest salespeople they ever dealt with.
But what if, as a salesperson, you’re not feeling the passion or purpose? How knowledgeable must you be? Here are a few tips.
Maybe you decided to become a car salesperson because you’re still figuring out what you want to do with your life. Maybe you secretly want to be a writer or an astronaut, and you’re just doing this to pay the bills. The good news is, you’re not alone. I know a lot of people that fell into this industry, then eventually fell in love with it.
Here’s the thing: passion isn’t something that strikes you like lightning. Passion is ignited from within. You can choose to ignite it, or not. Once lit, passion can be nurtured or ignored. But if you choose to embrace what you’re doing right now, and nurture that passion, you’ll be a lot more successful. Why wouldn’t you make that choice?
Find a Purpose
Everyone needs a car. Despite the bad rap our industry gets sometimes, selling cars is a noble endeavor. Be proud of what you do. And if selling or servicing cars isn’t enough of a purpose in life, find another one.
Maybe your purpose is as simple as feeding your family. Maybe your purpose is to invest every penny you have so you can retire at age 50 and travel the world. Or you want to help those less fortunate than you—or all of these things. When you wake up in the morning, let your purpose in life drive you to be the very best at what you do that day. Remember that your job is the fuel for your purpose in life, so be grateful for the opportunity.
Never Stop Learning
The average car shopper spends 14.5 hours researching and shopping for a car, according to a Cox Automotive study. Approximately 20% or 3 hours of that time is spent in the dealership, which means the average consumer spends 11.5 hours researching which vehicle they want.
How many hours does the average salesperson spend learning about their brand, the various makes/models and learning about their competition? If you want to win your customers’ respect, you must be at least as knowledgeable as them, but preferably more so. You must become the expert and the teacher.
It’s one thing to be able to capture someone’s attention. It’s another thing entirely to keep it. To be successful, you must do your job every day with passion, purpose and knowledge. When you make that commitment, you’ll be remembered as one of the best.