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Chris Vitale

Chris Vitale Vice President

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Handling customer objections isn't always easy. Especially when the customer is calling you on the telephone; knowing what to say and how to approach the customer's objections can make or break whether or not you sell the vehicle. To handle customer objections with confidence takes training and experience. Part of training your team is regularly conducting one on one role-playing sessions. The goal and purpose of having one on one training sessions are so that your managers can create relevant scenarios that are relatable to your sales consultant or BD Agent. Especially given that everyone has their own unique challenges and hurdles to overcome. 

It's more than just listening to a call.  Use an objection that gets your team stuck! 

Here’s an example of a common objection and how you can help coach your team with a One on One: 

Don't get me wrong, recorded calls are a critical resource and tool to use for training. But before you get to tackling the recorded calls, you need to assist your sales consultant or BD Agent on what gets them stuck (topics before situations). Not only will this empower your team to handle objections confidently, but they'll start to pick up on why the call could've been better, and more importantly, how they'll handle the call differently the next time! Think about it, when the customer calls into the dealership, they're most likely doing their homework. That’s checking availability, price shopping, etc. If your team isn’t equipped with the right word tracking, they can quickly derail the conversation and not get the results they're working so hard for! 

In this one on one example, let's say one of your sales consultants gets stuck on the pricing objection. The customer calls in, and before you can confirm availability, inquire about flexibility, etc. the customer goes right to "what's the best price you can do on x vehicle?" This can go one of two ways. The first way (where your team can get stuck) is offering the "price" without confirming any of the above information. This can derail the conversation and opportunity for reasons we (those who have the experience) often don't think about. The biggest thing to note is that the vehicle the customer initially inquired on is often not what s/he ends up purchasing. Not to mention, they might not be comparing the exact same car with the various dealerships, nor may each dealership be using the correct rebates, incentives, etc. Lastly, as you know, pricing - despite being the go-to objection - might not even be the customer's hang-up! 

One of the best methods and ways to equip your team to change the conversation's path is to offer the following instead: 

"Mr. Customer, here at [dealership], we make pricing easy. I can certainly provide that information to you. Before I get ahead of myself, was this the only make and model you were inquiring about? I want to make sure I provide you with the most accurate information possible. This vehicle ranges in price depending on the trim level and package options."

Using a statement like this is not defensive, and it inquires about the customer's flexibility – to which the customer might instead reply with: 

"I’m looking for 'x' vehicle, but it needs to have the premium package, and I want it in black. I’m also considering the next model up with third-row seating. The other one I’m looking at doesn’t have the third row." 

As you can see, in this one on one scenario, the customer just offered that they have not even seen the third-row vehicle! Yet, that's what they want pricing on, a car they have not seen, and might not be their final choice depending on their thoughts on the third-row seating. At this point, in the coaching session, you can offer your sales consultant or BD Agent that by simply changing the word tracking, and inquiring about the flexibility you now have a better understanding of how to quickly and effectively handle the objection! 

Here's a way you can reply: 

"Great News. I do have that vehicle in black with the premium package, and third-row seating available. Are you available this afternoon or evening to test drive and take a look at the third row?" 

Notice how in the reply you confirm that you have the vehicle they are looking for, but instead of just offering the price you're now inquiring about flexibility, and encouraging the customer to come into the store to take a look! 

Response: "no, just price shopping - what's the price on this vehicle." 

BD Agent/Sales Consultant Response: "The price for this vehicle, depending on the third row, and other options starts at 'x,' we have excellent deals this month! I also have other options that could save you money, are you available this afternoon or evening to come in for a test drive". 

Notice in this response, instead of giving a "number" that is not comparable to their current contender, you provide a range. This allows you to be transparent to the customer and informs them that depending on the options s/he chooses, and ultimately decides on will obviously change the price. 

Response: Not available this week

At this point, in this example, you've asked the customer twice about an appointment. At this time, they are not committed to coming in. That does not mean that we give up! Instead, it is crucial to confirm the next steps. That is getting their contact information and securing a time to follow-up with the customer. This is also the hard part where a little more confidence can go a long way in making sure you get to the next steps! 

BD Agent/Sales Consultant Response: I understand, what I would like to do [customer first name] is to send you more information about this vehicle. In addition to other money-saving options. What is the best email to send this information to? 

Response: Sure, send it to [email], and my cell is the number I called on. 

Now that you've properly received the customer's email address, the last step is to secure a time to follow-up and inquire whether they have a trade-in. Something as simple as nonchalantly bringing up the trade-in could be what's deterring them from wanting to come for an appointment! You don't know what you don't ask! Sometimes the objections are not the obvious! 

BD Agent/Sales Consultant Response: Great! One last thing, did you, by chance, have a trade-in? I ask this because we're looking for quality pre-owned vehicles right now, and are offering incredible trade-in values! (always the what and the why)

Response: Yes. I have a 2014 [vehicle] with 58k miles on it. But the offer I got online was nowhere close to what I will accept for it. It is in mint condition. 

Bingo! Of course, this is an example, and not all scenarios will play out this way, (of course). But for this example, you hit the jackpot in dealing with customer's real objection by inquiring about flexibility and a trade-in. Now, you can work with the customer to complete a trade-in appraisal giving you a means of offering the next steps!

BD Agent/Sales Consultant Response: That's great! We just had a customer inquire on that [vehicle] the other day, but it sold! I'd like to send you a link for the trade-in, it only takes five minutes. Are you available tomorrow morning or afternoon to come in so we can appraise your vehicle? 

Response: I can do tomorrow afternoon 

As you can see, in this one on one role-playing session - it could have easily ended in the beginning when the customer asked for "the best price," and you gave it to them without getting any of their information. But instead, because your BD Agent/Sales Consultant effectively handled the objection - with proper word tracking - they could inquire about flexibility, trade-in, and secure the next steps. It's these sorts of scenarios in your one on one training sessions that can help you increase your sales. Not to mention, it gives your team more confidence to effectively handle these objections, which will only make your sales team and BD Agent that much better! 

 

*Disclosure: these are scenario examples and are situational in nature. Obviously, never lie to a customer! And never lie to your manager!

 

 

Derrick Woolfson

I have used the "trade-in" technique before, and it worked! You hit the nail on the head with the customer not always comparing apples to apples. One other objection I often dealt with (when I was in that role) was a customer comparing "pricing" from another dealership that included *literally* every single incentive, regardless of the customer qualifying or not. That also worked as a means of "debunking" the price, and busting through that objection. But as you said, it is more important to ask the customer if they are considering other options, which helps move the conversation along! Great stuff! 

Morgan Hardy

Customers definitely do not compare apples to apples. They try to play aggressiveness in most cases when they're price shopping. However, a lot of them are privy to these things now. 

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