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Chris Costner

Chris Costner Account Executive

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ASSERTIVENESS: A Better Approach

After coming back from a short holiday break and getting back to business I wanted to share what I recently discussed with our sales staff as we approach the final days of selling for 2011.  It isn’t anything new, just more of a “back to basics” session.  I thought it was important as many of our sales staff are close to hitting big bonuses, grabbing a place in a quarterly contest or at the very least may need a couple of units to make or break their paycheck.  The bottom line, emotions are higher than ever and we can’t let it get the best of us while conducting business with our valued customers.  I am not discouraging being assertive when selling, I am discouraging being aggressive.

We all know that when selling we need to be confident when engaged in conversation, be unafraid to ask questions and not be discouraged by a customer saying no.  It is very easy to come across as aggressive to the customer during these interactions when we really should be assertive.  Coming across to the customer in an aggressive way will certainly leave a lasting negative impression.  We want them to be excited during their shopping experience and positive about the vehicles we are presenting without letting our own emotions get in the way.   I refer to this as the “emotional season” as everyone is affected by other’s actions more than ever so we all need to be careful with our approach.

Having an assertive approach when selling isn’t portrayed as aggressive.  It’s about asking the right questions and communicating the right information with confidence to the customer.  The customer will certainly remember this and will be impressed with the presentation of the vehicle.  Remember aggressive sales tactics will not win the dealership sales.  It will ultimately ruin the reputation of the dealership.

The good news for those salespersons in our dealerships that present aggressive behavior on occasion, can be unlearned.  If we can get all of them to adopt the assertiveness sales skill, we will sell more vehicles with higher CSI scores.  Here are a few assertive behaviors versus aggressive behaviors that work great for role-play and don’t take up much time.  Concentrate on facial expressions, body movement and voice volume:

“Enthusiastic” vs “Fake”

“Genuine” vs “Manipulative”

“Direct” vs “Intimidating”

“Respectful” vs “Harassing”

“Understanding” vs “Uninterested”

When a salesperson is engaged with the customer, have them think of a family member being in the customer’s shoes.  This is an easy way for them to adjust their behavior if finding themselves anxious and off track.  It takes skill to put someone at ease and feel comfortable.  Until that happens, it will be very hard to close a car deal, as we all know.

We are professionals.  If we take our time, give the customer a chance to talk and then in a confident way show how we can help we will reach our goals much faster.  Here is to a strong close for everyone reading for 2011.  Have fun and good selling.  See you in 2012.

 

Jim Bell
Great points Chris. Back to basics is the key in one of the busiest weeks of the year. I was told a long time ago to welcome a customer to the dealership as you would a guest in your home. "Welcome to _________," is a great opening. It takes a lot of the 'barriers' down that customers have coming into a showroom and dealing with a 'shark.' If you treat them as a member of your family, you will gain that trust faster through listening to them and their wants and needs and not pushing them on the car that has a big 'spiff' on it.
Chris Costner
Jim that is a great greeting. It does so much like you say. I couldn't agree more. Well said.
James Gilbert
Customers do not care what we know, they want to know we care. Asking the right questions and giving them a chance to talk shows we care, Telling them shows we are not listening and is aggressive. Give customers a Hug and proper direction, they will follow you and buy happily. Hugs, Jim Gilbert Canada's Huggable Car Dealer
Lindsey Auguste
I really like the idea of treating people as if they are a family member (or someone you really care about). It really puts into perspective how our behaviors can change and how genuine care can modify our behaviors.
Bryan Armstrong
Great points. I am seeing more Salespeople getting used to the traffic and taking shortcuts that cost the SALE the GROSS or both! SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW Down. Qualify. Engage. Show empathy, understanding and a gratitude for the opportunity. Then take all of THAT and channell it toward building value and asking for the sale. Remember, "a closed mouth don't get fed". :)

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