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:

“Is there any additional equipment you want me to factor into your proposal?”

You have given the customer a chance to share the other things they may be considering, that often times they try to get you to throw in and eat the cost of if you want them to sign up. Often times it’s when you can least afford it, after you have already made some deal concessions.

Maybe you really can afford to throw it in or at least share the cost with the customer, yet why not nip this issue in the bud before it has a chance to cost you money, or even put the deal at risk altogether? After you asked this question, and they said “no” to any additional equipment prior to the initial proposal, they may still try anyway. However, this is when you simply state (with a smile of course);

“That’s precisely why I asked earlier, because at this point there really isn’t the room in this transaction, yet I’d be happy to get you a price on that, or would you just like to take care of that later on your own.  Maybe after you’ve enjoyed the vehicle for a while, you can then decide if it’s still important to you.

As a desk manager, most of you have experienced a salesperson who really needs and wants the deal.  They think that all you have to do is throw it in the deal, and just hope you will go along with the program. I also know there are many strong, non-bashful salespeople who don’t lay down and quickly write that offer up and bring it management. 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! ). Plenty hold firm for the dealership because they run with extreme pride. They don’t want to appear less than strong when desking their deals.

Let’s move on to question number two.  Ask this final question before getting up to go for desk assistance:

“When the figures are agreeable, we are prepared to complete the rest of the paperwork right now, correct?”

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), we are not leaving much room for a gray area regarding the response from the customer.

I mean, “do all the paperwork right now” isn’t walking on eggshells at all.  “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 customers mind is coming out now, as opposed to the disappointing surprises we get when not quite as crystal clear regarding customer intentions, when a salesperson asks “do business today.

It’s not unusual for people in a closing or even using a trial closing question, for the salesperson to use “If we get the figures right could we earn your business today?”, or some version of this. Well, I always want to avoid saying the same things other sales teams say, it simply reminds them that their on your turf, and groups us in with all other salespeople.

Besides, “earn your business today has become expected of salesperson to say in an automotive environment, and 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.”

One of the first things most desk managers ask salespeople when they bring a deal to the desk is “are they here to do business today?”  It sounds like we taught them how to ask the question, the less effective way. Therefore, if you agree with either or both questions presented here, we suggest you train it, discuss the reasons why and when desking their deal you ask these questions precisely as you would like them to ask all customers. Don’t reprogram them after training them, because they will always ask others as you ask them. So much of what you want is determined at the desk, on a deal by deal basis.

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.