1,000 dealers share their thoughts about chat, text and messaging in general...and how these communications pay off. SEE HOW
I have been asked numerous times for a sales process; here it goes:
The Initial Greeting:
You only have one opportunity to make a positive first impression with a customer! Before you ever meet the guest you need to be prepared! Part of the Team sales process involves the use of several tools to help create that positive first impression:
We NEVER go on the sales floor without our tools! As you take a shift in the UP (unplanned prospect) rotation you should avoid any distractions like cell phones, phone calls, conversations with other salespeople and anything else that might take your focus off of the lot and the customer parking area.
When a guest arrives you give them a moment to exit their vehicle before you go out to meet them. It is called a Meet & Greet because you MEET the guest where they are as opposed to waiting for them to come in to see us. We use the following greeting:
“Good morning/afternoon/evening! Welcome to ______! I want to thank you for coming in today.”
Remove a business card, extend your right hand, make eye contact, smile and say:
“My name is ____________, this is my business card.”
Distribute a business card to every member of the group because you can make no assumptions about buyers, lookers, shoppers, etc. After you have shaken everyone’s hand and distributed your business cards you produce the Sold/Hold card and a pen saying:
“What are your names?”
As they share their names take the time to tell them you are writing them down because they are important to you. This serves several purpose including setting the stage for a unique experience.
More than likely, statistically speaking, the guests in front of you have been to a competitive dealership or are on their way to a competitor shortly after they leave you. That’s okay because several things have already taken place that will set you apart and elevate you, head and shoulders, above the competition.
In most cases the average dealership will wait for the guest to come into the showroom. The average salesperson will say; can I help you? The customer most likely will not get the salesperson’s business card until they are ready to leave and the average salesperson will not remember the customer’s name(s) because they did not take the time to write it down!
Advantage; _______! You will rise up above the average salesperson because you have been trained, you have a process, you have direction and you have a game plan for the successful outcome of each customer contact.
Perfect practice makes perfect! Role play will only take you so far. I recommend that you spend an hour or two each and every day in the showroom greeting any and all visitors to the company because, before you take to the sales floor, after your training, you want to be more than ready!
This is the centerpiece to the process! It is a “cheat card”, it is a note pad, it is a selection tool and it is a roadmap to a unique sales process all wrapped up into one simple card.
The first time you use the card will be to record the name(s) of your guest. That signals just how important their names are to you and how different, professional if you will, their experience is going to be!
After the name(s) are recorded you can casually consult the card three or four times until you have them committed to memory and begin using them in the conversation. The first step to developing a rapport with someone is to use their names!
As the process unfolds you will be able to add notes about their likes and dislikes and any other information that is pertinent to the sale that can and will be used to develop the final selection and be the supporting document for the selection worksheet.
The card is “goldenrod” so it stands out and demands attention from the customer and it also is easy for the managers to see that you have and are using the tools required by our process.
It is impressive when someone thinks enough of what you say to write it down and this can and will leave a lasting impression on the guest. Everything we do is to favor or work to the advantage of the customer and to set ourselves apart from the competition.
There is a Process Map on the card that tells you what to do and in what order! If you examine the card you will see the heading; Compass Questions. These questions are designed to point you in the direction of a selection and much like a compass if you get lost you can use these questions to get you “back on track”.
The first section is titled Greeting and that is when you weave in the first four Compass Questions. They are asked casually as you begin the process of developing rapport and starting down the road to a selection.
The Compass Questions are suggestions but the ultimate “phraseology” of the question is up to you. Often times the first question:
…….you can also ask;
“Are you looking for a new or a used?”
“Exactly how do you want this equipped?”
“If you tell me how you use it I can save you some time.”
“Is this one for you?”
These questions begin to paint a picture as to what type of vehicle will best serve your guest and it all happened within a minute or two in a smooth and professional manner in the showroom or wherever you met the guest.
New or Used:
There is a difference between new and used in our process. Since the factory can make an almost limitless supply and many combinations of any vehicle your guest will not be relying on our inventory to stimulate a selection.
We work with the new vehicle guest in the showroom presenting mostly “generic” product information as we position ourselves to create the demo drive while the used cars offer a much more significant challenge.
The use of Compass questions continues in front of a representative model on the showroom floor to help you uncover the motivating factors surrounding the sale.
(This begins to uncover and open up discussion about the trade.)
(This helps you determine what kind of product presentation to complete).
(Explains their past service experiences)
New Car Demo:
There is no Evidence Manual for new vehicles so the demo drive is created by developing a level of excitement as you present the features and options in any given model before you excuse yourself from the guest, get the keys and a plate before heading out onto the lot.
Pull the vehicle to the door and set the stage for the demo drive; back the vehicle in to a space, leave it running, close the driver side door and open the passenger side door(s) and head to the showroom.
Invite the guests to occupy the passenger seats and begin the drive. The professional follows a demonstration route that highlights the ride quality and advantages of the particular vehicle. The professional ensures that all people involved in the selection of the vehicle drive the vehicle before ever getting to numbers.
The Used Process:
After you have properly greeted a guest, furnished your business card and have recorded their name(s) on the Yellow Card take the next step, asking:
“Are you interested in a new or a used vehicle?”
Your response will set the stage for the Used Car Up! We have several “stories” to tell that will set the dealership apart from the competition and will ultimately seal the deal with most customers. Your response:
“Excellent! I will be happy to help you with that. I am glad you came in today!”
Immediately you will lead the customer out into the inventory as you run two “30 second commercials” while you weave in the qualifiers. The qualifiers simply help eliminate most of the non-relevant inventory quickening the selection and increasing your chances of delivering a car today!
“One of the reasons our dealership has been so successful in the used car business for all these years is due to our pricing policy! Our cars are clearly marked with a price 24 hours a day, seven days a week so you can shop even when we are not here!”
As you and your guest continue to peruse the inventory you ask a few more product related qualifiers and then go into the second “commercial”:
“Another reason you are going to be glad you came to us is our safety inspection policy. Our policy is so strict that only 20% of the vehicles traded in actually make it to the front row because of the safety inspection. The 80% that fail, are wholesaled, at auction usually, to other dealers with lower standards. Only the best of the best make to our front row!”
Slotting the Car:
At the first sign of interest on any vehicle the salesperson will jump right in, start the car and pull it out into the lane. This is called “slotting” and that is the reason we key up the inventory every morning. While you have the car in the lane you reach over, open the passenger side door and ask the customer to get in, open the glove box and pull out the evidence manual.
This begins the demonstration drive! Every third demo turns into a sale! Over 80% of used car customers will ultimately buy the first car they drove! There are even more statistics to sell you on the all-important demo drive but suffice it to say without a demo drive you have NOTHING!
Asking the customer to take a drive gets you a “NO” over 50% of the time so that technique will be better used by the losers. We will use the “curiosity” technique.
“Mr. Customer, hop in here, open the glove box and pull out the folder please. This is called the Evidence Manual. In there you will find all kinds of information on this vehicle. Could you please close the door?”
That technique will get you a demo drive over 90% of the time! It will NOT work if you do NOT know what you are doing. To master this technique it requires practice, over and over again so by the time you go “live” in front of a customer you actually know and look like you know what you are doing.
The Evidence Manual:
You will find, in every retail used vehicle, the following documents will be in a folder, clear plastic, stored in the glove box:
No other dealership, certainly no one in our market, is so forthcoming with information like this. As you review the folder begin by having the customer read the IMVP statement. It will require no explanation on the part of the salesperson.
Next you simply ask the customer if they are familiar with Car fax. Essentially you explain that the history of the vehicle is one of the most important things to team Chevrolet.
You will then ask the customer to look at the vAuto Market report. Explain:
“You can see the highlighted car is the vehicle we are driving now. All of the other vehicles are considered to be competitive but look closely at the mileage and the asking price.”
“You can see just how competitive we are. Our dealership sees no reason for you to have to go 40, 50 or 100 miles just to save a little money when you can get the best value right here and right now!”
The final document you will review will be the Kelly Blue Book. You will again demonstrate the superior pricing advantage of our dealership.
On the Demo Drive:
In a new or used car, the drive itself pretty much goes down the same way including the questions we ask:
10) Who else might want to see this?
11) Do you like this one enough to own it?
The Sold Row:
All demo drives end up in one of two places, the Sold Row or back out into the inventory. This is called the Fork-in-the-Road! There is no better place to be in our sales process!
When we ask the 11th Compass Question; “Do you like this one enough to own it?” There is really only one of three directions their answer can take you:
Let’s take on each response:
Customer; “I love it!”
Salesperson; “Then park it right here, this is the Sold Row, this is where I park cars that are sold!”
Immediately upon parking in the Sold Row position the customer in front of the window sticker (new or used), produce the yellow card and begin to confirm the major equipment and/or option groups with the customer; WRITE IT DOWN!
Then you tear the Sold/Hold off of the information card, hand it to the customer saying:
“Place this on your new vehicle!”
When the customer places this on the windshield you now have reached the point of sale!
Customer: “I hate it!”
Salesperson: “No problem! What didn’t you like about it and I will see if we can correct for it.”
This customer will be taken right back into the inventory to correct for the selection before going forward.
Customer: “I am not sure.”
Salesperson: “I am not surprised to hear you say that. Most of my customers that felt the way you do found that driving a different model will help finalize your decision.”
No matter what the customers reaction is to the Fork-in-the-Road is you have a direction to go. Most amateurs will give up at the first sign of disagreement and let the customer leave because they are out of ideas, techniques, time and talent!
As you progress through the Team Chevrolet Professional Way training program it is like adding tools to your tool box so you will never run out of tools or techniques in front of a customer!
The fifth Compass Question tips us off to the trade:
5)“What type of vehicle is this one replacing?”
Trade or no trade what’s the difference? The process hinges on this question. Depending on the condition we execute one of the following:
Why the difference? When there is a trade involved we need to involve the manager in order to complete an appraisal so we, in the interest of time, we set that process in motion and “kill” time productively with the Service Walk Process.
Why would I take the customer to the Service Drive if they already said they want the car? What if the customer already uses our Service Department? These are all good questions.
The Service Walk is a transitional process to take you from being a Product Specialist, Tour Guide and Ambassador of Goodwill to becoming a closer all in one simple move! The Service Walk subtly completes this transformation.
“You are standing in one of the best service facilities in Upstate New York! It is why I work here! I think they have thought of everything. You drive right into the lane, safe from the elements and you are met by a Service Advisor that is Factory Trained in dealing with your needs.”
That begins the Service Walk. This process starts to give the customer more than price to consider when purchasing a vehicle. If it only comes down to price then the only way to win is discounting and that will not pay your bills!
We continue the Service Walk:
“We have all the latest diagnostic equipment which some pieces can cost more than a starter home! The true secret to our success is education! We spend more money sending our technicians to the factory for training and education than we do on equipment! Some of these guys have what amounts to a PHD in your car!”
“Isn’t this the type of service you will want?”
Service Manager Trial Close:
Before you continue on you will introduce your customer(s) to the Service Manager whenever he is available in the following manner:
“Mr. and Mrs. Customer I would like to introduce you to (Service Manager’s name) he is one of the professionals that will be managing your service and maintenance experience.”
“This is Mr. and Mrs. Customer they are buying a new car today!”
This will let you know right on the spot if there is anything left undone regarding the selection.
No one can say no to that question! In fact this continues the “yes” momentum you have been working on since you met the customer! Now a simple “follow me” and you are on your way to the Service Waiting area to offer every customer refreshments.
“I am going to have a coffee would you join me with a beverage?”
Offering refreshments is polite, relaxing and sets the stage for the close!
Closing Stations or personal offices are a place to finalize deals. In a Closing Station there is no clutter, messy paperwork, personal belongings, pictures, old deals, etc… We are creating a no distraction environment that will pay dividends every time we are closing a deal.
When you enter a Closing Station you will bring the Yellow Card, a Product Brochure (New) or the Evidence Manual (Used) and nothing else. All the supplies you need are in the desk drawer.
Operator Trial Close:
A “trial close” is trying to determine if you have a clear shot at your target; a closing opportunity!
With the customer(s) comfortably seated in the Closing Station you casually pick up the phone, dial the Operator and say:
“Could you please hold my calls, I am with Mr. and Mrs. Customer and they are buying a car right now.”
This will give you the opportunity to measure their reaction and, if need be, address any issues or concerns they might have.
Take out your cell phone and exaggerate the motion of turning it off while saying:
“I don’t want us to be interrupted and these things have a habit of going off at the wrong time and I do not want you to think I am rude.”
This technique, often times, results in the customer turning off their cell phone also.
The Selection Worksheet:
This is the single most important tool you have! This helps you transition from seller to closer, helps finalize the selection and allows you to close on the deal.
Most dealerships try to collect all manner of “unearned” information from the minute they meet the guest! They ask for phone numbers BEFORE they even know the person’s name! This creates an extreme amount of discomfort and, when compared to our process, puts us head and shoulders above the competition.
The completed Yellow Card will be the supporting document for the Selection Worksheet. All of the information necessary was gathered during the selection process.
We begin by installing the Stock Number on the first line in the upper left hand section by saying:
“The stock # of the vehicle you are buying is….”
The next line, Source, allows us to gather a potential closing lever that may come in handy later in the process.
“By the way, how did you first think of coming to Team?”
This reminds the guest as to why. Perhaps they were referred or work with someone that purchased her or dozens of other reasons. No matter what we want to take the time to discover the motivating factors.
Install your name, the date and then go about the business of collecting two telephone numbers and the email address.
This is all done casually and with no pressure on you or the guest!
This is where you identify all of the basics of the selection but also get the opportunity to uncover any further objections that you might not have been aware of.
You identify and confirm:
“Okay, we selected a new, Chevy, Malibu, sedan in Black Granite with neutral cloth interior……could you please do me a favor?”
You will hand the Yellow Card to the customer and involve them in the process by asking them to read aloud the VIN:
“Please read that out loud to me, that is the vehicle identification number.”
That VIN is like a fingerprint! It is unique and exists on only one vehicle on the planet, the one they just selected! There is no doubt the selection you just made is the vehicle they want when they read that VIN out loud to you.
The equipment section is most often ignored completely or executed poorly by most salespeople. This is your chance to finalize the selection by listing and discussing each option.
Using the Yellow Card you will fully list each item that they said was important:
That is an example of how to write these significant options while you discuss them:
“You said the 5.3 was the engine of choice because of the bad towing experience you had with the 4.8 Liter on your last truck right?”
“The factory installed trailer tow package that you wanted comes with oil and transmission cooler along with the wiring for a trailer brake. You said that was a must-have too right?”
List, describe and gain the customer’s agreement to each and every important item on the list. You are building value far beyond the test drive alone. When you ask a customer to spend money, lots of money, you must justify what they get in return by selling each and every feature and option on that vehicle.
You conclude by saying:
“This is the way you want your next vehicle equipped isn’t it?”
The selection process is now complete!
Step Four & Five:
Everything you have done, up to this point, has been designed to aid the customer in beginning, refining and finalizing a selection and we are about to go for the first close.
Team has a price on every vehicle, new or used, and you must take the time to write it down on the Yellow Card including, on used cars, the KBB (Kelly Blue Book) price.
Over 97% of the customers we sell to will finance or lease their vehicle and that means only 3% will actually negotiate over price alone. Most customers will engage us on payment, down payment and term.
So when we write the selling price we avoid dollar signs ($) and commas and decimal points because it just might make the customer focus on the wrong thing!
“As you know the selling price is _______. And as you also know we have discounted that by down to _________!”
Immediately after we write the price(s) we ask:
“When would you like to take delivery?”
That was the close! Simple, non-confrontational and very effective! The customer is put in a position to say Now or Not Now and we can then follow up the Not Now with the two most effective questions a salesperson can ask; why and why not?
The Not Now is not an objection as much as a statement and you now have the opportunity to explore fully what might be stopping the sale. It could be as simple as the customer stating that until they know the payment they cannot commit to the deal. No problem!
Until you know what is stopping the sale you cannot possibly make a sale so hang in there, be a great detective and figure it out.
Finally we collect the important information!
“Since we are doing business now how exactly would you like to title this vehicle?”
Determine their full, legal name! James not Jim, etc… Be very formal through this step because it locks up the sale!
“I will need your license and registration so I can deliver the car to you right now.”
“I understand and I am sure we can work that out for you. We can place the order now for delivery at a later date can’t we?”
It is our intention to gather as much information about the “sale stopper” as possible before we go to the Desk to develop a price and closing strategy.
If for any reason the customer refuses to allow you to go forward in any part of the process there is a simple technique at your disposal called the “Information Technique”?
“Before you go anywhere let me get you some information that might help us both.”
This technique allows you to go to the desk to “huddle” with the Desk Manager to develop a strategy to put the process back on track!
If you have a no-trade situation you will be heading directly to the Desk but if there is a trade you have a few more details to handle. Begin by producing the “Buyers Report”.
“Mr. Customer in order for me to get you the most money for your trade from our Buyer I need to ask you some questions. Some are obvious but some are not but all of them will help get you the top dollar. May I ask you some questions?”
The first, obvious, section is the year, make, body style, equipment, etc… The following are the unusual or unique questions we ask:
“Have you done anything to increase the value of your trade like adding an aftermarket alarm system, rustproofing or paint sealant?”
If the customer responds with a “no” to those questions act slightly let down or disappointed then move on to the next question:
“Did you at least invest in an extended warranty of some kind?”
“Would you be willing to personally recommend this vehicle to one of our customers if they were interested in purchasing it?”
“Are there any comments or information I can pass on to the Buyer?”
That is how a professional handles a trade in for their customer. This makes you look like the advocate, their “buddy” or friend not “one of them” likes all the other salespeople they will come in contact with during the purchase process.
Now, Trade or No Trade you are ready to head to the Desk!
To the Manager:
Before we leave the customer’s side we need to have a good reason, one that benefits the customer. One of two conditions exists at this point in the process; a trade or no trade situation, either way once you leave the customer’s side the clock starts running, doubt can set in, distractions can take place and excuses might begin and the customer wants to leave.
However if you give them a reason, a benefit or some reason to anticipate your return they will most likely be focused in on that. Two examples:
Checking the Availability:
“Before we go any further I would like to do one thing; I need to check the availability of this vehicle. What I mean to say is that I want to make sure it wasn’t already sold or traded away to some other dealership and while I am back there I will research some figures.”
This can create some doubt in the customer’s mind as to whether or not they can even buy the vehicle let alone fight about the price! Supply and demand dictates the final price! Taking something away from someone or even suggesting they might not be able to buy it increases the desire for it!
Going to see the Buyer:
“I am going to take this information to our Buyer. He is very thorough so he will probably want to come out and talk with you himself. I will be right back!”
This technique builds excitement for the customer!
As we approach the Desk we have several things with us:
The Desk Manager is your silent partner. Silent in that he has not been involved in the sale at all so he trusts that you have executed the Selection Process flawlessly up to this point. He is your partner in that if you succeed he succeeds and he loses if you lose!
At the Desk you will be asked several questions but this is NOT the time to start “spewing” information. Simply listen to and answer the questions so the Desk Manager can assume control over the sale:
The answer to the first question tells us if you have control or not and it also lets the Desk Manager know if the customer is actually here as opposed to working over the telephone.
The answer to the second question points to the customer’s state of mind. If we left them the right way all should be well.
The answer to the third question tells the Desk Manager we are going forward because our policy is simple:
“If a customer receives a proper demo drive and selects a vehicle then they deserve a price!”
The Sales Manager will ask to see your paperwork. The quality of the paperwork points to the thoroughness of the selection process and a great deal can be determined without one word being exchanged between the manager and the salesperson.
The Sales Interview consists of the salesperson sharing the customer’s answers to the Compass Questions it might go something like this:
“They asked for a Cruze specifically. It needs to be automatic and must have a sunroof, those two are deal breakers. The wife is the primary driver, back and forth to work and as a grocery-getter on the weekends. They will drive between 12 and 15 thousand miles per year. This is not replacing anything but their other car is a Ford Focus, bought new at the local Ford dealership. Service is pretty bad there in their opinion so they use the Quick Oil and shop for coupons for regular maintenance. The Cruze is the right model. No one else needs to see it, they like it enough to own it. The car will be titled in both names and they plan on driving it home tonight if the financing is favorable.”
That is how it should flow; a simple recitation of the facts (that matter) the manager has a good picture of the selection, the process and the treatment the customer has received up to this point.
The Sales Manager must decide to either issue a MENU or to go with NO DESK MENU. In almost all but the most extreme cases the manager will issue a MENU.
The simple truth of the matter is that the dealership that issues the most prices (Menus) sells the most cars!
There are only two types of menus; a no-trade situation or a deal that has a trade. Let us examine, in detail, the no-trade situation which only happens approximately 20% of the time
When there is no trade there are far less “targets” for the customer to shoot at other than price so our menu creates a “target rich environment” to protect the selling price on every vehicle. The fact of the matter is that less than three percent of all vehicles sold are paid for with cash so our menu is very, very consumer friendly.
You will complete the menu in your own handwriting based on the information that the Desk Manager shares with you.
The Desk will have you take credit for the discount.
Tax will be calculated on the sale price and installed on the worksheet directly below the sale price.
The DMV fees will be installed directly beneath the tax and the total with then be calculated and installed.
On the left hand section of the worksheet (see sample) the 20% will be calculated and shown as C.O.D. installed directly below that there will be a 48 month payment estimate and below that a 54 month estimate.
That completes theSales Interview and you will head back out to your customer with a great deal of enthusiasm! Remember; you left their side to make sure the car wasn’t already sold or traded to another dealership.
“Great news! That vehicle is available! While I was checking on that I calculated some figures I would like to share with you.”
Before you show them the worksheet, keep it folded, share our philosophy with your guest:
“We recommend two things to all of our customers; a high down payment and short term financing for the obvious benefits. The more money you put down the less you take to finance and the shorter the term the less interest you will pay,. In fact, what I am about to show you will save you thousands of dollars over a standard proposal.”
I hope some of you find this helpful.