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Customer: “Do you think they’ll paint the back bumper and put two new tires on it?”
Salesperson: (Treats the question as an objection and takes path of least resistance) – “I’ll go ask.”
The Salesperson has pretty much validated the request as doable. At this point, to not fulfill the request gives the appearance of being uncooperative. Of course, the Salesperson wants the deal and feels the customer’s request will not keep management from putting it to bed. After all, they do this all the time, right?
The following are immediately inherited:
• Increase in dealer’s expense, which lowers gross
• Carry “post-sale” reconditioning luggage — and it gets heavy!
• Consumption of Salesperson’s time over the next day(s)
• Provide a loaner car (hard to sell it if it’s not there — don’t forget to re-detail it!)
• Take chance that Customer may not be happy with the recon job (here we go again!)
Customer: “Do you think they’ll paint the back bumper and put two new tires on it?”
Salesperson: “I don’t blame you for asking, yet please know every vehicle we have is priced according to its precise mileage and condition. I’d be happy to get an estimate for you and we can simply add it to your investment, or you might drive it a bit and then decide if it’s still important to you. Which way would you prefer to go?”
Assuming positive outcome for a moment, expect the following benefits:
• Customer feel they've received an attractive deal with zero room for giveaways
• Protects the gross
• Salesperson’s productivity over the next few days has not been impacted
• Avoid dealing with the customers discontent with the reconditioning work
• Management is proud of Salesperson☺
• Great for Salesperson’s confidence
Role-playing is also a great method to help Salespeople stay poised and in control. Remember, some Customers will still demand accommodations. However, keep in mind it’s just a question, not necessarily an objection.
A sample of this concept is available in the new version (coming soon) of the Sales Management & Leadership module of eAutotraining. I invite your call should you ever want to discuss other gross enhancing ideas, I'd love to help! Feel free to contact Richard directly at 888.300.4629.
RELATED: How NOT to Ask For the Business (Some Humor Intended) by Richard Keeney
Richard Keeney, Co-Founder
The Mar-Kee Group
The Mar-Kee Group is the leading provider of Sales, Service & Management Training Solutions to Automotive, Boat & RV Dealerships.
Photo credit: FreeImages.com/Mike Johnson
The T.O. strategy has been around for quite some time, yet at some dealerships it’s not an “all the time” thing. Some salespeople view it as a friction point with management. Some handle it very well. They are grateful for the opportunity to get additional support as a final effort to close a sale.
It is important to communicate to salespeople that management needs to have the option of speaking with customers 100% of the time before they leave. They also need to work with their people to smooth out the transition to management.
When you say option, it may be a good idea to explain that management needs to leverage their time and won’t always opt to do the T.O.
Otherwise you will have those who think (and say) that the 100% philosophy is what is demanded yet not followed through on.
Below are great tips to use in an occasional sales meeting. Salespeople need to understand all of the benefits so they do it for their reasons, not just because you said so.
• T.O. stands for “Turn-Over” and “Total Opportunity”
• Should always be done (attempted)
• A second face can work wonders
• Makes a great impression on those not “closing” at this time
• Increases the chance of a return visit
• Provides customers with another contact should the Salesperson not be available later
• Partner with another sales team member as a backup plan
• Great gesture of appreciation for customer
• Customers will sometimes tell others what they won’t tell you
• Someone with a fresh approach and open mind-set may help the situation
• Common ground with customers can occur in many cases
• Some customers won’t close until final word from an authority figure
• Should always be done with class and professionalism
• Forget the ego - Get help often!
• If it closes easily - You have done your job
• Needs to be done in a timely manner
• Minimize ‘fire alarm” T. O.'s
• Say “Hold on just a second” – “I have an idea” or “I just thought of something.”
• Do not take customers to the command center (sales desk) without permission
• Even if another salesperson closes and you split - a half deal is better than no deal
• The T.O. is not only for the end of the visit
• Do it first for your reasons, and yes, it is also a responsibility
A sample of this concept is available in the new version of the Sales Management & Leadership module of eAutotraining. I invite your call. Should you ever want to discuss other sales gross enhancing ideas, I'd love to help! Feel free to contact Richard directly at 888.300.4629.
1996 was the year we rolled the dice. Thank goodness we didn’t know all that we would be up against, which we now know was a blessing, or we may never have powered forward.
The first time David and I walked into our newly leased empty building, he remembers the first thing I said, and it echoed…”How long did we lease this place for?”
I want to give a quick mention of our background. David was the corporate recruiter and trainer for a seven franchise dealer group, and I was the general manager of the Honda store. We had many discussions for a year or so regarding the possibility of starting a training company.
Well, the dealership owner informed me one day that he had sold the Honda store and if I didn’t mind, would I keep everything together, produce in the interim, keep everyone’s spirits up, oh, and please liquidate the pre-owned inventory as quickly as I could, and while doing so please be a good steward of his money.
I’m not the most educated guy in the world, but I am loyal and had a good bit of pride in what we had built over the previous years. Stay I did, and 90 days later I did the walk-through of the store with the new dealer and management team. What a blessing in disguise. Here I sit writing about The Mar-Kee Group’s 20 year anniversary!
I’ll never forget the statement the dealer’s son made in the walk-through of the facility. He stated that the first thing they were going to do was get rid of that leasing crap we had been doing. We had gone from 10% lease penetration, to 49.8% with an average of a 30 month term, and loving the short cycle return business. Anyway, the next day we opened the new, vacant office of The Mar-Kee Group.
David and I spent the next few years building the Success - One Idea at a Time program. This became a 64 VHS tape, 244 brief video sales training library, and we also began doing a good bit of in-dealership sales and management training.
In 2005, much earlier than dealers were ready to make the paradigm shift, we began building and offering the online program, eAutotraining.
I am incredibly proud of my partner, David Martin, and his accomplishments with over 10 NADA speaking appearances, and a great many Australian Key Note appearances. He has delivered our message in an extraordinary fashion and we are both proud of what we have provided to so many front line salespeople, who too often are left to survive and thrive on their own merits.
From my humble beginnings as a salesperson for three years, and then given the opportunity to perform at every variable management position over a period of nineteen years, to then go on to partner in building a training company where so many have given their trust and put their confidence in, well, I do take some pride in that.
First and foremost, we were not generic trainers trying to figure out the car business. We were car guys, with torn tee shirts, getting into the training business. One thing about car people, they know if you know or not, if you’ve paid your dues. They know immediately if you have real solutions for the things that take place every day in the dealership world. With that in mind, our business approach delivers the messages in brief segments, incorporates role play, and provides printed course materials along with testing.
Another way that we have been able to remain relevant is the fact that we never stop revising and adding the most up-to-date information for our valued clients. Also part of the successful business partnership is mutual respect and the balance we bring to the table.
In closing, I will say that a lot has transpired over the 20 year journey….from VHS, to DVD, to online training. A few times we, along with the rest of the world, have weathered some economic storms, yet keep coming out on the other side, powering through and staying excited about helping others put “The Art of Selling” back into the dealership.
The Mar-Kee Group
The Mar-Kee Group is proud to celebrate 20 years of outstanding Sales, Service, and Management Training.
Your objectives in the interviewing and screening process are plentiful. The old school “hit them hard, right between the eyes and see if they can take it” approach may not be the best method in today’s climate.
The kind of representation needed today may not match up perfectly with the type of super-strong closer you may have sought out decades ago. Sure, having the ability to close a deal is important, and of course you want good salesmanship, yet the average buyer and hiring methods may have changed a good bit. Therefore, the type of candidate you need has probably changed as well. Fortunately, many dealerships have transitioned to an even more professional screening and recruiting process which includes the list of pre-determined interview questions.
Customers today must feel safe. They expect a salesperson to be very knowledgeable about products and services. This helps the customer feel they have made a great choice in vehicle and dealership. It isn’t complicated. Be great focusing more on creating a buyers’ environment as opposed to a sellers’ environment.
Please don’t think I’m getting weak in my old age, I just believe too many customers today will disconnect if there is the slightest sense of a stereotypical salesperson present.
What type of candidate meshes well with today’s consumer?
♦ Good communicator
♦ Technologically savvy
♦ Allegiance to the organization
♦ Non-threatening appearance and overall demeanor
♦ Ability to think well on their feet
Below is a snippet of our sample interview form. These questions and how you go about going through them with a candidate will go a long way in obtaining insight into the real person and their sincerity.
You get the picture. You are in the best position to assess whether your process of interviewing candidates could stand an overhaul or some level of tweaking. This part of the manager’s job is simply too important for anyone to wing it.
First off, I’m not painting all salespeople with a wide brush here. Face it, it may be human nature for some to lack the conviction when they have a good bit of doubt about the anticipated customer's reaction to a proposal.
I'm not insinuating that most salespeople are lacking conviction when serving the proposal to customers. I am recommending that management discuss this with the team, that they must get their heads in the game at proposal time. They certainly need to be reminded that they are counted on to remain very assumptive so they can be influential on the customer's response to the proposal.
I don’t know if you read the blog on The Mar-Kee Group's website, “Get Mentally Fixed Before Serving the Proposal by Richard Keeney”, regarding how many customers can “get into the helmet” of a salesperson, with all the discouraging remarks and price positioning statements during the visit. I urge you to read this blog and share it with your team. To lighten this up a bit, I wanted to share a variety of “tongue in cheek” versions of comments a salesperson might make serving the proposal, when they don’t think it will close, and fear the customer will attack!
Find the humor. Then be on a serious mission to make sure all salespeople are giving customers a chance to feel good enough to close!
Here are a few ways that DO NOT work:
Try saying this:
“Great news, I think you’re going to like this. Fair market price on your new vehicle equipped just like you selected is $_______. They’re going to pay you $_______ for yours, just like it sits and that brings us to a difference of only $______ plus of course the taxes and fees. Ok the proposal right here and we’ll get the rest of the paperwork started.”
This is another good argument for having the salesperson role-play the proposal with management at the desk to ensure they are ready for the event. They will always do better the second time. It may be expensive assuming that the salesperson has the right frame of mind for the results you seek.
Role Play: The Ultimate Sales Tool
Desk managers everywhere have experienced salespeople who would prefer them to just “OK” the customer's offer and put the deal to bed.
Face it, when the salesperson is ready to close the deal, they most likely have already overcome a good bit to get the deal to this point. The last thing they want to do is risk changing the mood and intentions of a customer who just made an offer to purchase under their terms.
Many salespeople fear if they make another pass at raising the customer, the deal could go sideways. This could cause the customer to completely disconnect. (Ouch!)
There are others on the team who make you proud because they are always encouraging you to write another counter in order to gain additional gross. This practice is also more convincing to the customer; conveying the feeling that they’ve worked themselves a great deal. If we surrender, or accept an offer too quick, the buyer may reconsider their commitment, thinking maybe they left some money on the table.
Just like when delivering the initial proposal, salespeople need to project the final raise as "good news". That again is where monitoring the salesperson's readiness while desking the deal and coaching them for maximum effectiveness before returning to the customer comes into play.
Here’s a hypothetical example.
Scenario: If you need another five hundred in the deal, whether from selling price or five less than the customer requested for the trade, remind the salesperson of the importance of how they deliver the message, and to conclude with a strong closing statement.
The more "OK" the salesperson is, the more "OK" the buyer is likely to be. When delivered as "good news" and the posture of the closer is confident and assumptive, the better the chance the buyer will go with the flow and proceed with the commitment.
Will everyone simply sign up with little or no rebuttal? Of course not. However, many will go with the flow and "OK" the deal.
The best tool of leadership is to lead by example. Seize every opportunity to use this same strategy in front of the salesperson when performing a T.O.
A sample of this concept is available in the new version (coming soon) of the Sales Management & Leadership module of eAutotraining. To discuss any management and leadership issues, feel free to contact Richard directly at 888.300.4629.
RELATED: The Best "Last Two" Questions to Ask BEFORE Getting the Proposal
Richard Keeney, Co-Founder
The Mar-Kee Group
The Mar-Kee Group is the leading provider of Automotive, Boat & RV Sales, Service & Management Training Solutions.
Photo credit: By Jcomp - Freepik.com
Customers looking to buy a new or pre-owned vehicle will always be looking to get the best deal. It’s hardwired in most of us to attempt negotiations. Where you end up, if you get the deal, and how good the customer feels about it is dependent on the salesperson knowing something acceptable and convincing to say next.
Whether you use this up front (before the initial proposal) or in response to a request for additional concessions, it’s one of the best ways to “pass the test” when a customer wants to make sure they aren’t leaving money on the table. Mastering the art of replying with the best acceptable responses to price objections has never been more important than today.
Train your team on this strategy and continue to discuss until all have this down to an art form where it’s simply a conversation taking place. Understand that if some are not prepared to handle price objections professionally, they will continue to react instead of respond, losing deal momentum and selling you on cutting the deal more!
Many times, the opportunity to sell a customer originated from their internet research, where they discovered you had a vehicle they want and at an acceptable price. However, this will not keep most of them from wanting an additional discount. It’s the old psychological reality of, “If this is what they are asking, then I want to start the deal from there.”
When a customer sees something in writing, it tends to be a bit more convincing. A visual backup validates things as more factual, as opposed to a verbal response only. We recommend the following script be on a professional document and are happy to provide one customized for your dealership.
(See script and visual tool below.)
Utilize the original MSRP as you begin your conversations with a customer and while presenting the vehicle. This falls right into the concept of “Theory of Contrast”. This is another opportunity for you to be pro-active in eliminating or minimizing some of the customer’s intentions of getting a lower price. Obviously, the objective here is for them to feel even better about their investment and to lessen the chance they have additional illusions of “savingsdeur”.
Example discussion: “Mr/Mrs __________, the original MSRP, or price of your vehicle when it was new was $36,800, and at $36,800 it was a great value. Let me share what the original owner received for $36,800, and what you’ll be getting even though your investment is only $24,900.”
Most customers need some assurance that they are indeed saving a significant amount of money looking at Pre-owned, which tends to validate the wisdom in their purchase strategy.
As mentioned above, we are very motivated to help your dealership customize these strategies into your own words and professional documents. As leaders in Automotive, Boat and RV sales training, The Mar-Kee Group takes every effort to ensure our clients and their employees are confident and empowered by the tools we offer. Ultimately, it means happier customers that return time and again to your dealership, increased overall sales, and boosted morale for your sales team. A win-win-win for everyone involved! Contact us with any questions or for more information on our sales training courses and strategies.
The Mar-Kee Group
26248 Equity Drive
Daphne, AL 36526
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