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We all do better after rehearsal. This is an absolute must when working with newer salespeople. To that we say, trust, yet verify. Start this strategy now and immediately improve this critical part of closing deals.
Some clients didn't realize they had some salespeople who were, let's say…less than effective when presenting the initial proposal. This could even give some managers the opportunity to praise others, which helps their confidence every time! Either way, they all feel like they have a better handle on something that they had taken for granted.
Remember…this is about development and building confidence. It should be dealt with in as positive a light as possible.
1. Eye contact?
3. Assumptive posture?
4. Do they ask for the business?
5. Words used, tone and body language?
6. Are they prepared to respond versus react when hit with the most common
7. Is your salesperson sold on the deal? Replace any fear with an assumptive
and courageous posture.
Need help with your role-playing training efforts? Call The Mar-Kee Group 888-300-4629.
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Some relief and resolution has arrived! Below is the revised “Customer Solutions Review” tool. We have provided a sample for you to review. I strongly recommend this as a “deal desking” strategy to help a salesperson (and management) develop a "fixed" mentality before serving the proposal to the customer.
The bottom line is, salespeople must guard against customers getting into their head too much. This can often cause salespeople to think about the math alone, and dwell on how far off the numbers are from all that the customer has shared (or dumped.)
The features and equipment enhancement summary (see below) is very important. When you stack up all the features and benefits that they will enjoy, you keep the needle toward the emotional part of the brain. This is also beneficial for management to embrace. Consider reviewing a completed form with the salesperson, helping them mentally prepare before going back with the proposal. As a manager taking a T.O., this will be a good ammunition for the cause as well. Remember, this can be utilized when desking new as well as for pre-owned deals.
· Cover and train this strategy in sales meetings
· Pick a few sample scenarios
· Begin filling these out on every deal, immediately, with or without a trade
· Discuss the experience and impact it is having
The Mar-Kee Group
The Mar-Kee Group is proud to celebrate 20 years of outstanding Sales, Service, and Management Training.
It is my belief that these two questions need to be asked every time before leaving the customer to get a proposal from management.
Next to the last question to ask the customer before getting up to go for desk assistance:
You have given the customer a chance to share the other equipment they may be considering. These are items they ask you to throw in if you want them to sign up. Often times it’s when you can least afford it; after you have already made previous deal concessions.
Maybe you really can afford to throw it in or at least share the cost with the customer. Why not nip this issue in the bud before it has a chance to cost you money, or even put the deal at risk? After you ask this question, and they said “no”, a few may still try later. However, this is when you simply state (with a smile of course),
Every desk manager has experienced salespeople who really need and want the deal. Some are hoping management will go along with the program and throw it in the deal. I also know there are many strong, non-bashful salespeople who don’t lay down and write up the offer. These people see it as hundred dollar bills they don’t want to give up unless of course, it’s already a Mini (I’m joking right? Not! ). They hold firm for the dealership because they run with extreme pride when desking their deals.
Let’s move on to question number two. Ask this final question before getting up and desking your deals:
Let me share my strong feelings for the precise wording here. First, I use the assumptive word “when”, not “if”. Next, the phrase “complete the rest of the paperwork, right now, correct?” (of course with an affirming head nod and a smile).
I mean, “do all the paperwork right now” isn’t walking on eggshells. “Do the paperwork right now” is no soft shoe, and if there’s anything else that needs to be flushed out, it’s about to surface. Any other potential obstacles or loose ends in the customer's mind is coming out now.
It’s not unusual for salespeople to ask “If we get the figures right could we earn your business today?”, or some version of this. I always want to avoid saying the same things other customers hear at other dealerships. With “earn your business today”, they can say “yes” with less commitment than the above alternative. Some say “yes” just to see what figures you can do, then ask for you to write it down on your exit visa, that’s your business card. And then, of course, they state they’ll “get back with you before they do anything.” The old joke used to be; “Ok, when you come back ask for “blue boy”; that’s me in the corner holding my breath waiting for you to come back.”
It sounds like we taught them how to ask the question, the less effective way. Don’t reprogram them after training them, because they will always ask the customer the same way you asked them.
Ok, one last thing.
If you require salespeople to fill out a needs assessment sheet with customers, then these two questions should be added to the very bottom, post demo, pre-desking.
If you would like to discuss this segment or any other issues important to you, give me a call. I’ll do my best to assist.
3 Strategies to Improve Vehicle Sales Gross IMMEDIATELY...
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.
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
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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.
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Many times, salespeople contact potential customers through email and then wait to get a response, if they ever get one at all. Though email is a convenient and important tool for businesses, the best way to develop and maintain customer relations is through brief, well thought out conversations on the phone.
Phone calls show customers you care and helps them connect on a more personal level. Taking the time to make these scheduled calls will go a long way in ensuring you will be on the customer’s radar when the time comes for another purchase.
There are many good reasons to contact customers throughout the year. These contacts can be made in a variety of ways—through phone calls, email and of course texting. Should you have a prospect that is in the decision making process, the phone call and text are by far the best method of communicating.
But having a plan before you call is just as important as the call itself. Your salespeople should be strategic and know what they are going to say prior to the call. Whether it is a check-up call, service call, or to answer questions the customer may have, knowing how to address issues or concerns is crucial. Make sure you have a planned response when leaving a voicemail too.
In today’s technology age, potential customers do their research first on the internet before going to the dealership. In most cases, they will call first to ask about a vehicle they have seen on the internet and obtain more details before stopping in to see it firsthand.
This is where having phone expertise is key. Addressing a customer’s questions and alleviating any possible concerns they may have (i.e. the mileage is too high or the model is older than they were looking for) is an important step to holding on to a potential sale.
Salespeople need to have a planned response to a question or concern before the call. For example, if an interested buyer was calling about a pre-owned vehicle you had on the lot and the miles on the vehicle made them uncomfortable, a good response to their objection would be:
“Well I appreciate your concern, but you may be pleased to know that our dealer’s pricing philosophy is to price every vehicle according to its precise mileage and condition. For example, if the miles were lower, this vehicle would certainly be priced higher. If you are more comfortable investing more to one with lower miles, I can investigate and see what other vehicles we have similar to this one and we’ll go from there. What I do recommend, since this one interested you, is to come see and maybe drive it, and in the meantime I’ll be looking into other options for you. What would be a good appointment time for you?”
Also, by providing them more options with lower miles, or whatever their preference may be, you are telling them you understand their needs and want to help them find the best car, RV or boat for them.
Therefore don’t volunteer too much information right away. Offer to show them the product in person and then give them the full details. A prospect seeing a vehicle, boat or RV in person will allow you to greatly increase the probability of closing the deal. The ability to see, touch, and drive it firsthand helps the customer imagine themselves owning it.
Another question that troubles some salespeople while on the phone, is when a customer asks if this is the best price, or says you have to work more on the price. Sometimes this is simply a test, they’re just doing their job and want assurance they don’t spend more than they absolutely have to.
One good response could be “We may have a little room, but the best thing you can do is come in to get a closer look, drive it, and let’s make certain it’s the right vehicle. If it is, then we will work hard to get you a fair proposal. When is a good time for you to come in?”
Many times, people will call in about a vehicle they are interested in, but exclude the fact they also have a vehicle they may want to trade in. By asking if they do, and that you are motivated to help them get the most money out of their trade, you are establishing trust and confidence in your service. People can be suspicious of dealerships because of the perception that the dealership is only in it for themselves. By assuring a potential customer you are looking out for their best interest and want to give them the best deal you can offer, it shows the customer you care about their needs and concerns.
You can also create some urgency when you express that their timing is perfect. Letting them know that your dealership needs pre-owned inventory more than ever and this will have a possible impact on the purchase price they receive.
The Mar-Kee Group offers many video tutorials to help salespeople make the most out of phone calls and other important sales topics. To watch a demo video on Ultimate Phone Expertise, click here.
The Mar-Kee Group offers comprehensive sales training programs for both automotive, boat and RV. Find out how our training can help your dealership!
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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
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Daphne, AL 36526
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