Friday, December 28, 2007

Car Sales Assistant 2008 Release Date

Car Sales Assistant 2008 should be up and running during the first week of January, 2008. All I have left to do are these things:

1) Add graphs (about 3 hours of work)
2) Write the manual (about 3 hours of work)
3) Make some tutorials (about 2 hours of work)
4) Add import functions for your CSV files and earlier versions of CSA (will not be done by Jan 1st but will be in the first update)
5) Add copy protection (hey--I'm a car salesperson too--I know how we are! ;-) About 10 minutes of work.
6) Build an install program (about 10 minutes of work)
7) A little more testing (about 1-10 hours of work)
8) Come up with a price (about 30 seconds of work)
9) Upload to my site (about 10 minutes of work)
10) Change my site to have links to the new program, links to buy the new program, screen-shots, etc. (about 2-3 hours of work)

Now don't forget that I am also a full time car salesperson and that I have a wife and 2 kids and really like playing on my XBOX 360 especially Call of Duty 4, Mass Effect, Rock Band (my singing stinks), Half-Life Orange Box and Sponge Bob (hey--it's my daughter's game) so I have to work those 20 some odd hours into the next few days... I think I will, though.

I'm probably going to price the program for either $89.99 per copy or $99.99 per copy (I think it's worth $10-$20 more than CSA 2007 especially with all the powerful new features...) and $39.99-$49.99 for an upgrade for previous purchasers (half off).

Also, if you want to make a few extra bucks--I'm going to offer an affiliate selling know what? I'll put info about that into a future post. My XBOX 360 is calling for me.


The Importance of the Test Drive

In a past post, I have made a statement that you can sell a car without a test drive. This is very true. If someone walks in and says, "I'll take that car--here's a check--where do I sign?" then it would be very stupid to take them on a test drive--they may change their mind!

OK--here's another statement. The test drive is one of the 3 most important steps to the sale. The other two are a good greeting and building rapport. But you know what? You can actually use the test drive to build rapport so all of a sudden, it is in the top 2 most important steps. Tell you what--you can do a bad greeting--the people can hate you immediately but if you take them on a test drive, you can save yourself and build rapport and they will forget all about the bad greeting.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this: The test drive is the important step of the sale. Phew--said it.

People have claimed that if you do a proper demonstration and test drive, people might buy on the spot 50% of the time. This may be true but I'll make this statement. If you do a proper test drive and use to build more rapport--you WILL sell 50%of the people you talk to.

Here are some cool things to do and remember on a test drive.

1) Get them talking about themselves, their families, their hobbies, their grand kids, etc. In other words, get to know them.

2) Ask them how they feel about the car they are driving. Don't ask them what they think about the car. People buy for emotional reasons (feelings) and justify the purchase later by logic (what they think.)

3) Ask them how it compares to the car they are going to trade in (especially if it is an old beater--do not do this if they are going from a Cadillac to a Chrysler!)

4) Some people say to always drive first. I actually like to give the customer that option. "Would you like me to drive first so you can get a feel for the car before driving it?"

5) Drive with the customers unless you think that this would make them uncomfortable. Once again, I sometimes like to give the option (depends on the customer), "Would you like to drive it buy yourself or would you like me to go with you?" If they answer, "It doesn't matter" then offer this to them, "I'll tell you what--I'll go with you just in case you have any questions." Oh yeah--if you drive with them, they can't conspire against you while on the drive. You know what I mean: When we get back, you tell them that we want to think about it over night.

6) Sit in the back if there are more than 2 people unless the mother/father wants to sit in back with the kids. It helps them forget that you are there.

7) If you see them enjoying the ride and they are talking about positive things between them, give a mmm hmmmm once in a while to agree but besides that, keep your mouth shut.

8) If the kids start selling the car for you, keep your mouth shut. I used this technique on the first car I sold. Luckily I read this tip in a book the night before!

9) Take a designated route so they can find you if you break down.

10) Make sure the car has gas and is clean! Nothing will kill a sale faster...

11) Talk about features and benefits only for the things that they care about. I had a boss in Tennessee that told me to tell the customer about EVERY feature and benefit. Wow--you cannot make a bigger mistake! I once saw a guy (obviously trained by him) explaining fuel injection to an old lady who was looking to buy a Cadillac. I saw the look of confusion and boredom on her face and needless to say, she didn't buy.

12) And finally--use the test drive for a trial close. As you are pulling back into the lot say, "Jim--looks like we found the perfect car for you--go ahead and park it into the sold row so no one else will try to buy your car." If they park it in the sold row, they have agreed to buy the car. If they give an objection, over come it and keep selling. Oh yeah--where is the sold row? Answer: anywhere you want it to be.

It's been a little slow. I had a lady the other day come in inquiring about a Malibu. The price was about $5000 over her limit. She made very clear that she wasn't there to buy today and I believed her (I've sold a lot of people who have said that in the past--but I really believed her.) She was about to leave and since it has been a little slow--I almost let her. All of a sudden the salesman in me said, "Why not try to switch her to an Impala? We have $2500 in rebates on it..." I mentioned the car to her and she said she wasn't interested in an Impala. I almost let her leave again but the salesperson in me said...

Why not?

She said, "Because it is too big." OK--it is a pretty big car so I almost let her leave again. Hmmm--Christmas was coming and my daughter wanted about $5K worth of toys left so I asked her, "What do you mean by too big?"

She gave me the objection on a silver platter. "I don't think it will fit in my garage."

You know what? I didn't almost let her leave at this point. We got in the car and drove it to her house and guess what--it fit. I got to know her on the test drive and built some great rapport. I found out we live in the same city, have similar political views and that my kids were the same ages as her grand kids.

We got back--I tried the trial close. She reminded me that she was just there to gather her facts so I didn't push her. We came in, I gave her a good price (she's shopping me against Fords by the way and we have a better car at a lesser price) and even though I didn't sell her, I dramatically increased my odds of selling her. She really liked the Impala and if I would have let her leave at the Malibu price point--I would have had a 0% chance of selling. You know what? I give it a 50/50 chance of her getting the Impala and that fits within the statement above about the closing ratio.

My goal in 2008 is to try to do a good test drive with 75% of the people I talk to. I think it is a realistic goal--I will try for 100% of course but will really try for 75%. By the way--Car Sales Assistant 2007 (and 2008 by the way--almost ready to hit the streets!) tracks your test drive ratios so you can set goals and hit them.

Happy new year everyone--be safe!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I would just like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please take the time to think about what is important to you and your family. I know that we in the car business spend a lot of time away from our families in the crusade to sell more cars and I personally am amazed at how fast my kids are growing when I am away from them 55-65 hours a week selling cars (and then spend another 10-20 a week programming and maintaining my software business) but I hope it is for a good and noble cause.

Well, be happy, be safe, be merry and most importantly, be thankful for your family.

Oh yeah--give the gift of good follow-up software designed especially for car salespeople--like--hmmm...oh yeah--how about Car Sales Assistant?

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How to "Spot Deliver" Cars

When I sold cars in Tennessee, we spot delivered everything--which means we sold them the car right after they said yes.

When I moved back to Michigan, I saw a delivery log. I saw salespeople scheduling deliveries a couple of days after they customers said yes.

What is the problem with that? Well...

1) You give the people time to shop you.
2) You give the people time to listen to the "little birdies"--you all know what I'm talking about. Friends, neighbors, family members and co-workers whispering into their ears, "Man--you're not getting a good deal! Go see my friend at this other dealership."
3) You risk the chance of them seeing a low-ball ad in the paper.

You get the picture.

I try to spot 100% of the people I sell. Here are some techniques that I use.

1) "Would you mind doing the paperwork right now? We're not that busy and I know we'll be a lot busier tomorrow and I don't want you to have to wait. Plus--it will really help me out." That last line is important because if you've done your job right, you will have built rapport and they people will want to help you out.

2) If someone wants me to do a dealer trade for them, I will either get a huge deposit and let the customer assume that it is non-refundable or I will try to switch them. Is having a red one really all that important to you? I'll save you a couple of bucks if you take the blue one because I'd have to pay a driver to go get it anyways and at least this way, you can start enjoying your car today.

3) Assume that they will take it today. Don't give them the option to do it tomorrow. I work with a girl that had a guy who wanted to buy a car. I could tell that he wanted it right now since he was asking her opinion on features of it with a huge smile on his face. She said to him, "Great! Do you want to do the paperwork right now or do you want to do it tomorrow?" He answered, "Lets do it tomorrow--that will give me time to think about it." Wow! She created an objection! I took her to the side and told her to do #1 above. She did and he hooked right up. So, to assume that they will do it right now, get the paperwork started and if they give an objection, overcome it and keep on trucking.

My gut feeling is that it's always better to lose a few bucks to spot a deal rather than let someone have a couple of days on a full boat--what's that old saying? A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.

My kids can't want until Christmas. Happy holidays, everyone.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Want to sell cars in Michigan?

Lets forget the high unemployment rate, the fact that all of our houses have lost 20-30% in value in the last 5 years, that factories are closing down, that our football team (the Lions) started out great and now are back to their normal caliber--this is what really sucks about selling cars in Michigan!

We are expecting a foot of snow in the next 12 hours and you know what--snow is pretty, it covers up garbage nicely but when you sell cars in Michigan, you have to "snow broom" off every car. Key-up every car, start it (hope that it starts--if not, get the jump box! and hope that it has gas which it probably won't), move the car, let the plow truck guy plow, move the car back, repeat in next row and it is an all day affair.

I am from Michigan and I know what it is like to see snow, but I moved to Tennessee for about 7 years and if there was the threat of snow, everything shut down (including the schools) and people bought every loaf of bread they could find and every gallon of milk they could cram into their car. When I moved back to Michigan in March of 2003, it snowed about 5" the first day. I didn't have a dealership winter coat so I wore dress pants, dress shoes and a leather jacket. Someone handed me a snow broom (kind of like a big squeegie) and I said, "What the hell is this?" I found out over the next 10 hours.

Oh yeah--since we are commissioned salespeople, we don't get paid to do it. One time in 5 years--they bought us chicken--I think only after a few of us threatened to quit.

Oh yeah--there are about 10 of us selling cars. On average, 3 will show up 2 hours late (after we all already get started "moving snow", 1 will catch whatever customer he/she can (even if they can't buy) and milk that customer for the whole day, 1 is pregnant, 1 is plowing (by the way--they pay him to drive in a nice warm truck while we get blasted with the snow and the wind for free), 1 will disappear so what does that leave--an the magic number is... 3 of us to do the entire lot!

Oh yeah--the managers always dress up in their boots and sweatshirts and walk out with us but that is just their "token help." That only lasts long enough for the boss to see them out their "leading the team." Speaking of the boss--one time he cracked his windows about 2 inches and muttered something to us about how much he appreciated the work as he pulled by in his nice, warm demo. Maybe that was the day we got the chicken. Probably not--you only get the 2" crack in the window OR the chicken--you can't have both.

Oh yeah--they told us to dress warm tomorrow--oh shit.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How to Handle a Phone Up

I'll make a statement here. If you learn how to handle phone ups, you could probably do nothing else and out-sell everyone in the dealership. Odds are that the other salespeople hate answering the phone or use bad techniques so you could be a huge hero if you follow these steps.

First of all, what is your objective to answering an incoming phone call? It is not to build value, answer questions about payments or price (or anything else of that matter) it is simply to set an appointment. As a matter of fact, if you give someone a price over the phone, they will shop that price 100% of the time and you will probably never see them and if you do, it will be a mini deal. I don't know about you but I hate mini deals with a passion! To sell a $30,000 vehicle and make $50-$100 is a joke. And you know the rest--the people who you make the least amount of money on will be your nightmares that will nickel and dime you to death and blast you on your CSI.

OK--so now that we know that setting an appointment is our goal, here is a simple breakdown of the process...

1) Answer the phone
2) Take control of the call so they can't ask you payment questions.
3) Give them a reason to come up and see you
4) Set appointment
5) Make sure they ask for you

Lets break those down a little...

1) Answer the Phone. Use a simple script like New car sales. This is Biff--how may I help you?

They will answer you usually with one of a few questions...

I need some information. How much is a new Tahoe?
I want to buy a Tahoe. What is my trade worth?
What is a payment on a Tahoe?
I saw your ad in the paper--can I get a Tahoe for $199 a month with no money down?
What are the rebates on the Tahoe?
What would my interest rate be on a Tahoe?

Which brings us to step 2...

Step 2: Gaining Control of the Call: Basically, you want to gain control of the call so you can lead them to the appointment and so they can't ask any price questions. If they do ask a price question, either range them big time or don't answer it. You gain control by asking either/or questions.

If they are calling about a Tahoe, ask them a couple of these questions...

Are you looking for a 4x4 or a 2 wheel drive?
Do you want one with basic equipment or are you looking for one that is loaded up?
Do you want a lighter color or a darker one?
Are you looking for a new one or a used one?

fter your customer answers these questions, give them a reason to put them on hold and then put them on hold. Here is a great line to use.

Let me check to see what we have in stock like what you're looking for. I'll also check to see what we have coming in. It will only take about 15 minutes. (without pausing) Are you calling from home or work? (home) What's your number there? (555-1212) And your name? (George). Tell you what, George--I see my lot-manager over there--let me check with him real fast. Do you mind if I put you on hold for a second? (Nope)

Put your customer on hold for a few seconds--check the inventory and them pick up the phone and...

Step 3: Give them a reason to come up and see you. George--I have some great news! I have 2 in just like what you're looking for. When can you come up and see them--are you available right now or later this afternoon?

The customer will usually attempt a little price question like, How much are they? I usually answer with something like, "I'm not sure yet. Tell you what--I'll pull the Tahoe up and have it waiting for you and I'll have all that info ready for you by the time you get here. Can you make it at 2:00 or would 3:00 be better?

The customer will usually try one more attempt like, It has to be low or I'm not going to buy it! You can say a couple of things like...

Well, the good news is that if it's too high the bank won't let you buy it anyways!
I'll make you this deal--come up and check it out and if I can't get it to fit your budget, I'll pay for your gas.
If it's too high I don't want to sell it to you anyways so I'll work real hard to get it worked out for you.
My manager told us this morning that he's going to do whatever it takes to sell some cars so believe me, we'll make it worth your while

Step 4: Set the appointment. Well, we already tried to do this in step 3 as part of the script. But here are some tips to setting appointments...

1) Give them choices--1:00 or 4:00
2) Narrow it down to a quarter hour--someone somewhere said that people keep quarter hour appointments better.
3) Have them write down the time
4) Make sure you mention the time about 3 times and say that you are setting that time especially for them in your calendar.

Step 5: Make sure they ask for you. George--do me a favor. Do you have a pen handy? (George gets pen) Here--write down my name and number. My name is Biff and that is spelled B I F F and my number is 555-5555. I have 1:15 set aside in my apppointment book just for you--please call me if you are going to be a little early or a little late so I can reschedule my day. When you walk in the new car showroom, I'm the second desk on the right--please make sure you ask for me when you get there and I'll have the Tahoe pulled up for you. Thanks and I'll see you at 1:15.

One more tip: Have the car pulled up for them because there is still a chance that they won't ask for you so you can see them walk to the car and you'll know it's them. Also ask what they will be driving so you can watch for them.

On a final note: If you get a phone up into the dealership and they show up, you will have between a 50%-75% chance of selling them. I sold one yesterday--our lot traffic stinks but I took 1 phone up and sold it and guess what--had a pretty good deal at that since gross on a phone up is higher than a fresh up.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Car Sales Assistant 2008 News

Car Sales Assistant 2008 will be done by the end of this month. I just wanted to let everyone know that if you purchase CSA 2007 between now and then, I will update you for free when it is done. I may actually raise my prices (haven't decided yet) so this would be a way to lock in the low price that is with CSA 2007.

Here are some new screenshots...

By the way--that is my daughter pretending to be a princess. Notice the contact history on the bottom right. It keeps track of all of your calls as well as letters you send out, postcards, newsletters, etc. Now customers and prospects share the same file so if you have a prospect that buys, just click the SOLD button on the left side.

Look at the quick links on the upper left--it will tell you how many calls you have to make today. Click the number and you will see everyone you need to call.

There is also a running total of what you have done for the month so you can reach your goals better.

Here is a customer address file. You can use the same customer for multiple cars. Notice all the cool stuff it keeps track of on the right hand side. Click anyone on the right and you will see their customer/prospect screen (like the first screenshot).

I am very excited to be almost done with CSA 2008 for a couple of reasons--I have been working on it for a very long time and my fingers are tired from programming and because it has been written from the ground up and offers new technologies for you, the user.

Please visit to download and purchase this program when done.

Great News Call

Here's a simple way to get unsold prospects to call you back and to separate the lookers from the buyers after they leave your dealership.

As soon as they leave, call their home number and leave this message on their answering machine, "Biff--I have some great news for you. Please call me back as soon as you get this message."

If they call you back, there are serious!

So--what great news do you have for them?

1) You can lower their payment $5-$10 per month.
2) You got them another couple hundred for their trade.

So--they call you back and say, "I just got your message. What's the great news?"

You answer, "I was just talking to my used car manager and we got another couple of hundred dollars for your car. I think he really wants it."

They might says something like, "Yeah--but I want another two thousand for it."

"Well, do me a favor. Bring it up here and let me let him get another look at it--it just really seems like he wants it. Can you bring it back right now or later this evening?" Proceed with setting the appointment.

If they come up, you stand a 50% chance of closing them (about the average closing ratio for be-backs) so if you have 10 great news calls and 4 come back, you will probably sell 2 extra cars.

Do a great news call for everyone that leaves the dealership, except maybe the people that are $10,000 in the hold, and you will sell more cars.

How to Prospect

I once read a book about selling that made a startling claim. It said, "Give me two people. I will train one on how to sell cars but not prospect and I will train the other on how to prospect and not sell cars. The one trained on prospecting will sell three times the amount of cars as the other." I would probably agree with this statement because of a couple of reasons...

1) People usually know what they want when they hit the lot and really don't need to be sold and
2) The hardest thing to do in selling cars is to get more people coming up; asking for you.
3) Also, if someone comes up and asks for you--you probably have a 70-80% chance of closing them but if you catch a "fresh up", you only have about an 18% chance of selling them.

So, the big questions remains--how do you get people up to the dealership and asking for you? Here are a few tips...

1) Collect email addresses for everyone you talk to and send them an email anytime you have a special sale. Make sure you have a way for them to "opt out" so you don't become a spammer. I use a similar system for my website and use a company called to handle my emails. It's costs me $19.99 per month and is worth every penny.

2) Send out a monthly newsletter or postcard. Tell the current rebates, have a recipe and offer $50-$100 cash for referrals.

3) Start a "shopping service." Call all of your customers and tell them that you are offering a new service only for your customers. Tell them that you are keeping track of the vehicles your customers will want in the future and that you will contact them when the deals are the best on that particular car.

4) "Would you takes"--what is a would you take? Take a business card and write this on the back, "I have a buyer for your car. Please stop by and see me." Write nothing more and nothing less. Put it on cars (in the door/window on the driver's side) that look like they would be in an equity situation such as a 4 year old Impala. Do not put it in anything that your customers will most likely have negative equity in such as any dodge or chrysler product ;-) If you put out 100 of these, you will probably get 20 people coming up and asking for you. They will always say the same thing, "I wanted to see what this was about." Here's what you say:

"I put that on your car because my used car manager is looking to buy some older cars like yours. Have you thought about selling it?'

"Well--how much will you give me for it?"

"I don't know--I'd have to get it appraised. Let me ask you this--if I buy it from you, what are you going to drive?"

Hopefully they will say something like, "I don't know--you have any good deals?" or "I was thinking about getting a new (whatever you sell.) If they just want to sell and not get anything, get it appraised and see if you can buy it. Maybe your used car manager will give you a spiff for getting it for him.

I used to put these out at the local Wal-Mart when I sold in Tennessee and sold quite a few cars from it. Please check to see if it is legal and make sure you avoid private property.

5) Here is something we never do! Carry business cards with you and give them to everyone one you meet. Tell them that you sell cars and that if they ever want a great deal to come and see you.

6) Put up a website and collect email addresses. Offer a once-a-month prize for people who enter the email address such as a $25 gas card.

If you do some of these, you will sell more cars.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Steps of a Sale

In my last article, I ranted and raved about how there is no specific time to close a customer. I mentioned how you always don't have to follow steps of a sale to sell a car but how following the steps will increase your odds of selling a car and help you make more money. Please don't think for a second that I don't think the steps are important--they are very important! Some are more important than others.

Step 0: Approaching your customers. Kinda weird to call this a step but it is. Most people think the meet and greet is the first step and I guess this is the meet part but I decided to be the first person ever to call it step 0! Here's what it boils down-to. You see a couple who pull up. They leave their door open as if to say, "Leave us alone" as they quickly walk to a car and try to gather the price. They see you coming and try to find the price on the sticker faster. They get nervous and rush towards their car and leave. So, my advice is this: walk in the general direction as if you are not looking at them--maybe at a 45 degree angle away from them. Don't look at them--pick out a vehicle close to them and walk up to it. Pull out a business card and write down the stock number as if that was the real reason you were out there. Start to walk away (they will be at ease at this point) and then turn to them and say, "Have you guys been helped yet?" when they will either say no or just looking which leads to the real meet and greet.

Step 1: Meet and Greet: Use a script. Don't use the bad script like, How can I help you? or Can I be of service? or Can I help you guys find anything? or Are you guys here to see someone? Instead, use Welcome to Marvelous Motors. My name is Biff and you are? Smile, look them in the eyes, offer and friendly hand shake. When they tell you their name, ask an either/or question like Is this your first time up here or have you been here before? That will also let you know if they are here to see another salesperson.

Step 2: Begin building Rapport. Actually you must build rapport all through the sales process but if you don't do it fast, you will have a lower chance of selling them since people always want to do business with a friend. Observe them to find things in common such as a bumper sticker on their car, a similar accent if you are from down south and so are they, a sports jacket they have on, their kids if you have kids at a similar age (people love talking about their kids), your glasses fogging up if theirs are also, etc. This may be the most important step of the selling process. If someone likes you, they will listen to you and believe you and most importantly, they will find a reason to purchase you. If they dislike you, they will make any excuse in the book to NOT buy from you .

NOTE: You have one chance to make a good first impression. Don't #%@$ it up!

More ways to build rapport. Since it is an important step, here are some more things you can do. Try to match the pace of the way your customers talk. If they talk slow, you talk slow. Smile a lot. Compliment them on their kids, car, clothes, etc. If they tell you they like a certain car, color, equipment group say, Good choice! Don't over say it, though. Mirror your customer--if they have their right hand in their pocket, do the same. If they push their glasses up, do the same. They will feel like you are their long lost brother or sister if you mirror them.

Step 3: Investigate by observing and asking questions. If possible, do this at your desk for 2 reasons. You can take notes easily and you can gain a little control by bringing them to your desk. Ask either/or questions to narrow down the vehicle and to gather information. Examples...

Do you want a car or a truck?
Are you looking for a light color or a darker color?
Who's the car for--you or someone else?
Who's going to drive it more--Jim or Judy?
Auto or stick?
Two wheel drive or four wheel drive?
Are you interested more in safety features or performance?
Are you using it for work or pleasure?

Step 4: Get the Vehicle for Them. I would probably say, "I think I have the perfect car for you. I'll be right back." Go get the car by yourself so you can make sure it's clean (unless it is very cold, I try to always run it through the dealership's car wash) and make sure it has gas in it (very important!) Also, if the car's driver information center shows the gas mileage and it shows only 7.5 miles per gallon, change it to a different setting! Cars always have a lower gas mileage until they have been driven a lot and broken in.

Step 5: Do a quick walk around. Show some features that they are interested in. I used to work for a dude that told me to show the customer every feature. Do not do that--you will only confuse the customer or make him think it is too much car for him. If they are interested in safety, show some cool safety features. If they are interested in styling (the biggest selling point by the way) then show them styling features.

Step 6: Test drive. I know some dealerships have a policy that you always drive with them and you always drive first, etc. It does help if you drive with them so you can answer questions and so they can't conspire against you (Judy--when we get back--tell them we have to think about it!) but I believe in asking someone if they want to drive it alone or if they want you to go with them. A couple of reasons--they might be nervous or they might be uncomfortable with you in the car with them. Now, if you have done a decent job of building rapport, they will usually say it's OK for you to drive with them. Make sure they can see alright (mirrors and seats adjusted) and show them where all the important stuff is. Drive with them.

Step 7: Build more rapport. I like to talk about things unrelated to the car while on the test drive and get to know the customers better and gather information to help me sell them. Not only that--I really like making friends in my job because I like people to like me because I like being liked and I like people to like me so I can sell them!

Step 8: Trial close. Test the water. "Jim--I think this is the perfect car for you and Judy. It has all the safety features you want and I can tell by the smiles on your faces that you really like it. Tell you what--park it in the sold row so no one else tries to sell your car." Where is the sold row? It's where ever you want it to be. I usually use the lane right next to the showroom. It doesn't really matter--just point to a spot and tell them that that's where it is. One of 2 things will happen...

Thing 1: They will park it in the sold row and you are just about 98% into closing your customer.
Thing 2: They give you an objection that you have to overcome. Perhaps you are on the wrong vehicle? Perhaps they don't like it? Ask questions and try to overcome.

Step 9: Ask them if they have a trade. If they do, have them show you their trade and do a silent appraisal on it. In other words, touch every blemish, dent, tear, ding, crack etc. and say hmmmm to lower their expectations on the trade. Get trade appraised.

Step 10: Present them with figures and use an either/or close. Judy, here's what the car is gonna run you. Is it just going to go in your name or is Jim going to be on the title too?

Step 11: Overcome objections and close them. Once again, if you did a good job building rapport and investigating, the test drive will be a moot point and you will probably close them.

Step 12: Spot deliver them. Don't set an appointment. It gives people too much time to find reasons to back out. Deliver them right now!

Step 13: You fill out the credit app and get the paperwork started.

Step 13.25: Buy your customers a drink!!!! I cannot over stress this step. I work with a bunch of cheapskates that will not spend $1.25 to buy a customer a soft drink. Do it even if they aren't buying because it relaxes them and more importantly, it obligates them to you!!!

Step 13.5: F&I: If there is a 2 hour wait to get into f&I, don't tell your customer it's only gonna be a few minutes. Under promise and over deliver.

Step 13.62: Get the car cleaned up and gassed.

Step 13.75: Sit there and talk to your customers about unrelated things to keep them smiling and happy. It will also make the time pass faster.

Step 14: Proper T/O to F&I: Jim and Judy? This is Biff, our business manager. He's going to do all of your paperwork and answer any questions you may have about your financing. Biff--do me a favor--they are going to keep this car for a while--would you mind letting them know about the extended service plan you have available?

Step 15: A Cool Tip: Have their new, clean car waiting for them in a nice, clean delivery area. When you walk out and show it to them, pull a clean rag from your pocket and wipe off any spots you see. If you don't see one, pretend you do and wipe the car. Makes it look nicer in their eyes.

Step 16: Have a special delivery. Give them a gift, introduce them to their own personal service advisor, go over all the features again, thank them, etc. Take their picture with a digital camera for step 18...

Step 17: Find out about their family. Who's next in your family to get a car? When and what?

Step 18: After they leave, enter their data into a cool program like Car Sales Assistant 2007 (or 2008--coming soon to a computer near you!) Enter everything you can remember about them--hobbies, buying motives, etc.

Step 19: Follow up with them (good follow up steps in a future article--it's getting late--time for bed...)

In a nutshell--those are the steps of the sale. I'm sure I added a few extra steps but try to follow them and you will sell more cars but please remember--if someone is ready to buy, skip to step 12 and sell them a car.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

When to Close a Customer

According to some people, a person will never buy a car until you have built rapport, done a demo, attempted a trial close, got a commitment to do business today and until finally, they agreed on the price. I disagree!

Granted, the above stuff will increase your chances of selling a car and they might increase your gross profit but you do not always have to do all of that to sell a car. If it was that simple, we would all be millionaires. Simply follow the steps above and sell everyone.

I have personally bought a car without driving it and I paid full price (before I got in the car business.) I live near Detroit and at the time, my Mom was living about 150 miles away. I needed a car and she told me about an '87 Olds Cutlass Ciera that a dealership was selling. I drove out there and saw the car, liked it and asked the price. They guy told me $2000. My mom told me to negotiate and I probably attempted a feeble one but the salesperson said, "I have 2 other people looking at the car and if you won't pay $2000, one of them will." I hooked up immediately. What is the moral of the story? I liked the car and it was in my price range. If they guy would have tried to talk me into driving it first, I may not have bought it. He got me at the perfect time (and I fell for one of the oldest closes in the book...) I just remembered--the air conditioning didn't work on the car and I never even asked about it! If I would have driven it, I probably would have noticed! Perhaps the salesperson didn't want me to drive it? Well, young and dumb...

Today is Sunday, I over-slept, it went from snowing yesterday, to freezing rain, to pure powerful rain to day and my five year old daughter took me to the mall today and showed me EVERYTHING she wanted for Christmas. She said she wanted a Nintendo Wii and I asked her what it was--she answered that she didn't know what it was. (How's that for a great brand?) I asked her why she wanted it and it was because all of her friends have one. Needless to say, I'm tired and have had my head kicked in by my daughter all day but I'm trying to make a point.

My first point is this: THERE IS NO SET TIME TO CLOSE A SALE!

A big problem with people is over-selling. Someone pretty-much says they will take a car and the salesperson finds it hard to believe and keeps selling. Some of the times, they will talk a person right out of buying.

We were playing softball a few months ago. We had bases loaded and one of our better hitters was up. He would up drawing a walk. The Umpire said, "Ball three--take your base." They guy looked at the ump and just stood there. I yelled, "You waiting for him to change his mind? Go to first!" Same thing in the car business. Sometimes people will hook up so easily that we can't believe that they are buying a car. We start asking ourselves they have good credit? Are they crazy? Did I hear them correctly?


Can you sell a car without a test-drive? I do it all the time--but I'm in Michigan where everyone leases and most go into the same car that they got out of.

Can you sell a car without following the steps of the sale? Yes--I have gone from step 1 to step 12 plenty of times. Hi--my name is Marv. Welcome to... (customer cuts me off.) I want to buy that car. Here is my credit information. Happens all the time.

Does someone have to agree to buy the car before they will take it? Nope. Matter of fact, if you ask them to buy the car, they will usually get nervous and feel like you are pressuring them. It's better to ask non-confrontational questions like, "Do you guys want a soft drink or a cup of coffee while I get your paperwork started?" If they aren't there to buy the car--the will immediately give you an objection. If they say that they want a cup of coffee then get the paperwork started--you just sold a car!

OK, managers and dealers, don't shoot me. I am not saying for a minute not to do a demo, trial close, get commitments, etc. Those are great techniques that will increase your odds of selling a car and help you hold gross. I'm just saying that they do not always have to be done.

Thanks for reading my ramblings!

P.S. Anyone have a nice, used Wii?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cold Calling Orphan Owners

Let me start out by stating something. I HATE COLD CALLING! I hate it with a passion. When I'm home from work, I don't want to be bothered--do you? I'm on the "Do Not Call List" and so are about 75% of the people out there. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!


Unless it is cold calling orphan owners that is.

An orphan owner is a customer who was previously sold at your dealership by someone who is no longer there. They actually need you to call them because if you don't, there is a good chance that they will buy someone else. If you do call them and they come up and visit you at the dealership, you will have a whopping 70-80% closing ratio with them! I know what you're thinking--you can always send out letters to them and yes, you will get some response but if you talk to them on the phone, your response rate will be even higher. You know what? Lets combine the two!

Step 1: Over come your fear of cold calling. Someone cannot beat you up over the phone and if they start yelling at you, just hang up on them in the middle of a sentence so they think they got cut off.

Step 2: Get a list of orphans from your manager. No one else will ask for them so there is a good chance that you will be given a big stack. Promise that you will call each one of them and your manager will do 2 things--he will think that that's great and he will take credit for getting you to do it!

Step 3: Have a game plan (we'll get to that in a second)

Step 4: Obey the rules of the "Do Not Call Registry" Check to see if they are on the list and if they are, you cannot call them (I think) unless they have done business with your dealership in the last 18 months. There is a $10K fine if you do and get busted. (My disclaimer: I am not giving any legal advice and I may be wrong with the above stuff so check with your lawyer to be sure...)

Step 5: Have a good script. Here is a bad scripts. Mr. Customer? I just wanted to see if you, or someone you know is in the market for a car. That is not a good script since 100% of the time, the person will answer "no." By the way--I never ask them, "Did I get you at a bad time?" or "Do you have a few minutes?" It's always a bad time to bother someone at home and people never have a few minutes for a salesperson! If they say it's not a bad time or that they do have a few minutes, they are probably being nice to you--at least before they hang up on you. So why ask? Just assume you're bothering them and move on.

Here is a good script: Mr. Customer? This is Biff from ABC Motors. The reason I'm calling is because you bought a Chevrolet Impala from us in the past and they person who sold it to you is no longer with us. I just wanted to give you this courtesy call to give you my name and number just in case you ever needed anything up here like service or anything else because it's always good to have someone to contact at a dealership. Do you have a pen and piece of paper handy?

Yes. (They get the pen and paper)

OK--my name is spelled B-I-F-F and my number is 555-1212. Please call me if you ever need anything or if anyone in the family needs a new car or truck, OK?


Thanks--have a good evening.

You know what happens next? They hang up and forget all about you which leads us to step 6...

Step 6: Send them a simple thank you letter. Dear Mr. Customer--I just wanted to thank you for talking to me on the phone today. Please contact me if you ever need to service your car or if you and your family ever need a good deal on a new one. I look forward to hearing from you!

Best regards,
Biff Jones

P.S. Here's a business card--please don't forget to call me if you ever need anything.

You know what? You have now reinforced your name with them and you now are building a relationship.

Step 7: Buy a good follow up program like Car Sales Assistant 2007. You'll need it.

Step 8: Call them back in a few weeks. Mr. Customer, this is Biff at ABC Motors. I talked to you on the phone the other day. I was just wondering--did you get my business card in the mail?


Great! I just needed a few minutes to update our records. Are you still driving the Chevrolet Impala?


OK. What other vehicles are there in your family?

Uh--my daughter also has a Pontiac G6 and my wife has a Corvette.

OK. Out of those, which one will you be replacing next?

My daughter's G6.

Pretty soon or down the road?

Her lease is up in 3 months.

OK. What will she be replacing it with?

Probably a Malibu.

OK. Do you mind if I call you in 2-3 months when the deals are great on Malibus?

Not at all.

Great--thanks and I promise that I will call you when the deals are great on Malibus. And if you daughter decides she wants one a little sooner, let me know. We have a lease pull ahead going on.

OK--I will.

Have a good night, Mr. Customer.

Step 9: Put all that information into Car Sales Assistant and set an appointment to call them in a couple of months.

Step 10: move on to the next orphan owner.

I will guarantee you this right now. Right now, there is a husband and wife sitting at their kitchen table talking about buying a car. They have probably never been contacted from a car salesperson after the sale so if you call them, they will say to themselves--Wow! What a coincidence!

Let me guarantee you something else right now. It is brutal out there--it is a dog eat dog world, the economy sucks, customers aren't as loyal as they used to be and there is always someone out there willing to cut your price and steal a deal from you. You need to do something extra to be very successful in this business. Not to pat myself on the back, but using my car sales assistant software is a great first step but calling orphan owners is a fantastic second step. It is very easy in car sales to be an underachiever and still make more money than you can ever believe but if you do a little extra like the steps above, you can be rich.

Thanks and I welcome responses to any of my posts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Car Sales Assistant 2008 Status

I just wanted to give you all a quick update on Car Sales Assistant 2008. I had a sick day today (bad sore throat and cough--hard to sell cars if you can't talk...) and got a lot done today.

There is a good chance that CSA 2008 will be done by the end of the month--definitely by the end of the year but who knows...probably sooner.

Here is a cool thing I added today--automated follow up letters after you create a customer or prospect. The program can now send letters if you get a phone up and they don't show up (of course, you'll have to have their address...) for example: Dear John, thanks for talking to me on the phone. I look forward to meeting you in person. Please call me at 555-5555 if you need to reschedule. This is an example of a phone up letter for someone who hasn't shown-up yet. If they do show up, the program is smart enough not to print the letter.

Here is another example: letters to unsold prospects. Thanks for stopping by... If they come back a buy, you don't want to send any more prospect letters to them--the program automatically deletes those letters that don't qualify anymore.

Or best yet--lets say you lease someone a car and generate a letter to hit 30 days before they are scheduled to turn in their lease. If they come in and buy before then, all you have to do is un-check "Vehicle Currently Owned" in their screen and the letter will not be generated.

Hope all of this makes sense--I'm hopped up on cold medicine and I do tend to type pretty fast.

The biggest change to csa 2008 from earlier versions are the fact that prospects and customers now share the same record--I get emails all the time... How do I convert a prospect into a customer? Now, all you do is check the SOLD button and they are now a sold customer. I'll admit--I made some bad decisions in earlier versions...

Please check back on from time to time for further updates.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

10 Tips on How to Handle Trade-Ins

Perhaps one of the hardest skills to learn in the car business is how to handle a customer's trade in. It is one thing that can make or break a sale so here are some thoughts and ideas I have on the subject.

1) Don't ever ask someone what they want for their trade. If you do, you'll back yourself into a corner 95% of the time when they hit you with what they owe one it, what their credit union told them to get for it or what they saw similar ones selling-for in the paper.

2) Do a walk around the trade with your customer. Ask them questions like how long they have been driving it, if it has ever been in an accident, etc. Also do what is called a "silent appraisal." Touch rust spots and dings and say, "hmmm" when you do so. Run your finger along scratches and scratch them with your finger nail. Look at the tire tread and measure it with a business card or pencil and say, "Hmmm." Put your finger in holes in the cloth. In other words, you are telling their customer subconsciously that their vehicle might not be as nice as they think it is--you are not really taking value away from it--it is really worth what it is worth. You are just lowering your customer's perception as to what they think it is worth.

3) Give your customer room to negotiate.

4) If they flip out after you tell them what their car is worth--don't jump right to If I could, would you! I saw a guy at our dealership lose a sale the other day by jumping too fast. He hit his customer at a certain price and the customer said he thought the car was worth more. The salesperson went right to, "Make me an offer." The customer responded with a low-ball offer, got mad, left, and bought at the competition.

5) Take a deep breath and justify how the figures were are some good examples.

a) I know your credit union said it was worth $10,000 but they base their figures off of their loan value guides. Our figures are obtained from what similar vehicles have sold for--in this area--in the last 30 days. Our figures are more accurate.

b) Our used car appraiser has been doing this for 15 years and you know what I've found out? He's usually pretty exact in his figures.

c) This is called the "Feel, Felt, Found" Close: You know what? I was in the same situation a few years ago so I know how you feel. I wanted $7000 for my car and it was only worth $5000. It almost kept me from trading I felt like my car should be worth more. You know what I found out? I found out that it was really only worth $7000 because they sold it a few weeks later and only made a few hundred dollars on it.

6) If they say they'll try to sell it themselves before they can trade, offer this: Mr. Customer, it takes us an average of 60 days to sell any used car. We spend tens-of-thousands of dollars in advertising each month, have 10 banks waiting to finance our customers and make sure every car is mechanically sound before we can sell it. No offense, but what chance do you have selling your car within 60 days on your own?

7) If they have a beater--tell them to sell it themselves if you feel that you can still get them to buy today. I have never seen that work for a car that they are buried-in.

8) Try to get your customer off of their trade and onto payments. Mr. Customer--quite frankly it really doesn't matter what yours is worth as long as your new car is affordable, right?

9) If they want the dreaded payoff, tell them this: Mr. Customer, your payoff will never have a bearing on what your car is worth. You owe $10,000 and your car is worth $8000 but let me ask you this--would you want $100 if your payoff was only $100? Of course not!

10) And finally--if the trade was a bad experience for a customer (and it usually is) try to talk them into leasing so they won't have to go through it again.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Crazy Closes

I'm a firm believer that sometimes saying something weird or stupid can help you sell cars. For example: when I was about 2 days into the car business and after getting absolutely no training, I bought a few sales books and I read in one of them that if someone's pupils get dilated, they are excited and ready to buy.

I had a customer who was just very difficult to close--I could tell that he was very nervous about making a decision so I decided to make the decision for him. He was wearing dark glasses and I couldn't see his eyes. I told him, "Mr. Customer, the other night, I was reading a book on how to sell cars and one thing I read was this: If someone's pupils are dilated, they are ready to buy.' Mr. Customer, do me a favor--take off your glasses." He did--I stared deeply into his eyes. "Mr. Customer," I said with a friendly smile, "your eyes are dilated--you're ready to buy. Sign here." He weakly smiled like all the pressure was off of him and signed the buyers-order and I sold the car.

Just a little quick story before I head off to learn about the new Chevrolet Malibu on a ride-and-drive.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Future Products from

A lot of people have been asking me about new versions of Car Sales Assistant. I'm very happy to announce that I am in fact working on a couple of new projects including a totally new version of CSA. It is being programmed 100% from the ground up and is taking advantage of Microsoft's new .NET platform which probably means more to me on a programming side than you on a user side.

Here is an early screenshot of the new CSA--I don't have a name for it yet but have been calling it CSA 2008 while programming it. Keep in mind that the final product will look a little different but this is very close.

On the upper left hand of the screen are QUICK LINKS such as Sales this Month, Sales Last Month, Hot Prospects, etc. It will show you the number of people who fit that criteria and you simply click the number to see the lists.

In the middle left, you can see a running total of your current month--money made, averages, etc.

On the bottom left is a QUICK SEARCH box--great if you see a car pull up--you remember selling the car but can't remember the customer's name--type the model and color in the box, click search and see who it is. I'm 40 years old and my memory isn't what it used to be so this works great for me!

If you have used previous versions of CSA, you'll remember that there were separate databases for sold customers and unsold prospects. Now they are both contained in the same database and simply checking SOLD determines if it is a customer or an unsold prospect.

Also, in earlier versions, keeping stats involved you typing in how many ups you had on any given day, demos, closing situations, sold, etc. Now those stats will be taken directly from the customer database to keep you from typing more.

Remember earlier versions of CSA? If you had the same customer buy multiple cars, you had to re-type the name, address, etc. for all the new records. Now there is a master database that contains all of the people you come into contact with. Now if you sell a person car #2, all you have to do is click on the master record and if there are changes to their address, it is automatically changed for all the records. Click on the master record and you will see a list of all the cars they have bought from you, all of their family members who have bought from you, all your contact (follow up) with them as well as family members who are in the market for a car since 20% of all families have someone in their household who will buy a car within the next year.

By the way--the picture is one of my daughter (the picture within the picture) who is now 5 and my 3 month old son--I was just amazed how much alike they looked when they were born so I snapped the picture of my son next to the picture of my daughter.

Back to my software...

I will be working on a dealership version of CSA 2008 that will have manager reports, orphan owners, csi tracking, etc.

We are also working on online versions of our software that will allow you to work with your data from any internet browser including the I-Phone, etc. We will charge a small monthly charge for the online versions instead of the one-time-fee of the ones that you install to your computer.

Please feel free to contact me at any time with any suggestions of things you would like to see in my next version--it's never too late to add things!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I Need to Talk to my Wife/Husband

This is a very common objection that may sometimes be an excuse. I'm married and I would never buy a car without talking about it with my wife first but isn't it true that sometimes you sell a car to a husband or spouse without the other-half being there? Perhaps they had already discussed the purchase or perhaps one can make a decision without the other.

The purpose of this article is to help you determine if the person really needs to talk to his wife or if it is an excuse. The word-track below works wonders--give it a try sometime.

CUSTOMER: I need to talk to my wife first.
YOU: Jim, when you talk to your wife, are you going to talk about the car, the price or me?
CUSTOMER: The price.
YOU: What do you think she'll say about the price?
CUSTOMER: She'll probably say it's too high.
YOU: What price do you think she'll like?
CUSTOMER: $30 less a month.
YOU: (Isolate the objection): Do you think there'll be anything else that you'll talk about?
YOU: Sounds like she's on a budget like my wife. Jim, do you think if we fiddle around with the numbers a little and get it to fit within her budget, she'll go ahead and take the car?

You then overcome the objection as normal. Now, I'm not stupid--I have been selling cars for a while and know that most of the time, the husband will still want to talk to the wife but will you admit that this might help you sell a few more cars here and there? Also, will you admit that if the car is within the budget the husband will have a better chance of closing the wife?

Other tips to consider:

1) Offer to let the husband take the car to his wife so she can see it. Make sure you remind him that he is obligated in no way to buy the car to take the pressure off.
2) Do not ever say, "Let me call my wife and see if I can sell it to you." I know they used that line in the movie "Suckers" and I heard my boss in Tennessee use it a few times but insulting a customer NEVER WORKS!
3) I never try to pressure a person to buy without spousal support by saying things like, "Come on--you know it's easier to get forgiveness than permission." Also never works.
4) Do say something like this, "I've been selling cars for a long time and sometimes people say that they need to talk to their wife because something is bothering them like the price, the car itself or something I said I did. I just wanted to make sure--none of those things are keeping you from the car, are they?"

You can also use #4 if they say they want to go to lunch, study things, think about things, talk to their banker, talk to their priest, talk to their dog, etc.

All in all, the theme of this post is do not ever insult your customer. Hope this helps and I promise it will help you sell more cars here and there by increasing your odds across the board.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The "Gas Savings" Close

Want an easy technique that will help you sell more cars? If so, read on!

Right now, gas is about $100 a barrel which means it is $3.10 a gallon at the pump across the street. To me, the price of gas is not the shock that it was a couple of years ago when it first hit $3.00 a gallon--we've gotten pretty used to it but you know what? It is still expensive and still a concern for a lot of people. It is also a great opportunity to help close people.

By the way--remember that math you learned in 3rd grade? Remember how you asked yourself if you would ever have to use it when you grew up? Well, you will in the next few minutes.

Lets say you have a customer who is coming out of a SUV and going into a car and lets say you are $30 per month away from putting a deal together.

I've heard some people say, "You'll save money on gas." True statement but not powerful. Instead of telling the customer that they will save money on gas, show them how they will save money. When using this technique, write the math out on a scrap piece of paper using your calculator (practice it ahead of time so you don't make mistakes.) It makes it seem spontaneous and adds to the power of this close. I taught everyone at work this closing technique and one guy made a spreadsheet and plugged in the numbers but to me, that is too--well, designed and if I was a customer, I would feel that it was a technique being used against me.

OK--back to business.

Step 0: Isolate and re-phrase the objection. Besides being only $30 away from enjoying your new car, is there anything else keeping you from taking it home today? No. OK--it sounds like you're on a budget like me and everyone else. Am I right? Yes. If we can fiddle with the numbers and figure out a way to get it within your budget will that work for you? Yes. Cool!
Step 1: Ask the customer how many miles they drive a month. 1000
Step 2: How many miles per gallon do you get? (If they don't answer, provide the answer for them) 15
Step 3: Do the math in front of them. Hmmmm--let's see. 1000 divided by 15 is 66. OK. You're using 66 gallons of gas a month driving your SUV. 66 times $3.10 per gallon is $204.60. It's costing you $204.60 per month to drive your SUV.
Step 4: Do the same math for your more gas-efficient car. Our car gets 23 miles per gallon so 1000 divided by 23 is 43 gallons. 43 times $3.10 is $133.30. So, our car will only cost you $133.30 per month to drive.
Step 4: Let it sink in for about 5 seconds and do the final math. Subtract our cost from their cost. $204.60 minus $133.30 is $71.30. If you get this car, you will save $71.30 per month.
Step 5: Close them. You know what? Even after taking care of the $30 that was keeping you from getting this new car, you will now have an extra $40 to put in your pocket each month. Sounds like we got this into your budget so let's go ahead and get the paperwork started. Would you like a cold drink or a cup of coffee while I get the ball rolling?

Very powerful close. I once worked at a dealership where I overheard another salesperson (1 month in the business) who was about to let a customer walk over $30 a month. The manager had already stripped the deal and he told the salesperson to go ahead and "flush them." I said, "Hey--let me have a crack at her--I don't want half-of the deal--I just want to see if I can close them." He let me--I did the gas close and they hooked right up without having to discount another dime. The salesperson still make a $100 mini (enough to pay the cable bill after all) and was very happy to have another unit.

Don't for all your software needs--at least if you want to sell more cars!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Difference Between an Objection, a Concern and an Excuse

I like to listen to other salespeople because 1 of 2 things always happen. I either learn what to say or do or I learn what not to say or do!

An example: I once was listening to a salesperson trying to sell a truck. He told the customer the price and the customer said, "That's high!"

The salesperson, without missing a beat said, "If I could knock off a $1000 would you take it?"

Whoa! The customer never said he wasn't taking the truck! He just said the price was high. Hell yeah it's high--so is a gallon of gas but we are definite be-backs at the gas pump and trucks cost a lot to produce.

Now, I honestly don't remember if that salesperson wound up selling the truck but I do know one thing--if he did, it was probably a $50 mini deal (we didn't get paid that well in Tennessee...) If he would have known the difference between an objection and a concern, then he would have at least made an honest commission of a few hundred dollars from selling the truck, not the insult that the average mini-deal is.

An objection is something that will keep someone from purchasing your product.
A concern is something that may or may not keep someone from purchasing your product.
An excuse is something your customer says to hide the real objection--that thing that is keeping him from buying your product.

Want a tip? If someone starts a sentence with "I'm not buying the truck because..." then they are about to lay an objection on you. For example, "I'm not buying the truck because the price is too high." If someone says, "The price is too high" then they haven't really objected--at least not yet--because they haven't told you that they aren't buying.

How do you handle an objection? I like to use these basic steps:

1) State it back to them to make sure you heard it correctly. Are you saying you're not going to buy the truck because it is too expensive?

2) I like to isolate it next: Besides the price being too high, is there anything else keeping you from buying the truck?

NOTE: I know you should never use the word "buy" you should use "own" but we're talking salesperson-to-salesperson right now and you know what I mean...

3) I try to re-phrase the objection to make it easier to overcome. By price, are you talking about the cost or payment?

4) I then try to overcome the objection. It sounds to me like you're on a budget like me and the rest of the world--am I right? If I could fiddle around with the numbers and maybe help out your budget, is there anything else keeping you from taking this truck home right now?"

It may not always work but you will increase your chances of selling a car if you use the steps above. In future posts, I will have specific objections and how to overcome them so please check back from time to time!

OK, Marv--what about concerns? Easy--you can either pretend you didn't hear them or you can agree with them.

Marv--that price is high. Here's how you do technique one...
Did you get that? I hope so.

Here's how to do technique 2. Marv--that price is high. (You) Yup--sure is. Hey, do you want to title it in just your name or do you want your wife on it also?

or even...

Yes, the price is high but isn't everything now-a-days? But when all the advancements in truck technology now-a-days and the 100,000 mile warranty, it will give you many years of use. So, do you want a cup of coffee while I get your paperwork started or a cold drink?

By the way--I will go into the closing techniques in later posts (the drink close and the title close) so make sure you come back once in a while!

Here's a fun one...You tell someone that their trade is worth $5000 and they want their payoff which is $9500. You: Jim, they appraised your car for $5000. Do you want a cold drink or a cup of coffee while...

(They butt-in): Man--that's low! (A concern)
(You): It may seem low but you have to understand that your car is 8 years old and has 87,000 miles on it and we have to fix that dent before we can sell it. What happened anyways?
(Them): I hit a deer. Marv--I need my payoff or I can't trade. (now an objection! Whoops!)
(You): Jim--a payoff has no bearing on what a car is worth. If you owed $100 dollars on your car, would you expect to only get a hundred bucks for it?
(Them): No...

I might even lay a little feel-felt-found on them! I know how you feel. I felt the same way the last time I traded--my car was worth $5000 and I owed $10,500 on it. I had to roll the extra $5500 into my lease but I found that after it was all set and done, I was happy with my new car and glad to get rid of the old one (True story by the way...)

OK--now for the big one--the evil excuse--probably the toughest one to handle because you don't want to pop out and call your customer a liar.

I need to check with my dog before I can buy.

First of all, don't ever come back with, "I'll tell you what--let me call my dog and see if I can sell you the car!" You will do nothing but piss off the customer and you will not sell them!

I play a lot of poker and at this point, I lay my cards on the table.

Mr. Customer, I have been selling cars for a long time and I have had a lot of people tell me that exact same thing and you know what I've learned? I've learned that sometimes people say that they need to check with their dog but that really they don't because something is bothering them and keeping them from buying a car from me. Sometimes it is the car itself, something I said or did or it is the price. May I ask if one of those things are the real reason you won't buy the car from me?

If they answer the question, you have the real objection and you can then isolate and overcome it.

I love when a customer pops an excuse on me--it tells me that they might really be interested in the car! I also love when they think they are being so slick and that I have never heard that excuse before. I need to sleep on it! or the ever popular, I never buy at the first place I stop at. Or how about one I heard a lot in the deep south, I need to talk to my banker first.

No matter what they say, use the technique--sometimes an excuse can be a real concern and sometimes people really want to talk to their dog first but if you can week out the ones who are just making excuses, you will sell more cars.

Please visit my website at for the best follow-up software designed especially for car salespeople. Thanks and I look forward to sharing more techniques with you in the future.

How to Sell More Cars

My name is Marv and I sell cars for a living as well as run a website called that specializes in software specifically for car salespeople. Our main product is Car Sales Assistant 2007, a follow up software program that I designed and programmed for my own use in the car business as well as a product that I sell to car salespeople all over the world. If you want, visit my site and download a free 14 day trial and see if it will work for you! If you like it, I only sell it for $79.99 per copy. Well, enough of the advertisement--down to business.

I have decided to share my thoughts on the selling game--especially how it concerns the car salesperson. Of course, a lot of these techniques that I am going to share are universal and can be used in other sales-related fields.

A little history about me. I have been selling cars for almost 12 years. I currently sell new Chevrolets in what has to be the worst economy in the universe--that being the state of Michigan. I actually got my start in Tennessee and being a yankee from the North, most people would look at me as if I had the plague when I tried to sell them anything.

When you are done reading this article, you will have had more training than I had in my first year in the car business. My training consisted of, "Here's how you fill out a buyer's order. You write down the sticker price and if they don't take it, you say If I could sell it for $1000 less, would you take it today? If they say no, say What if I could sell it for $2000 less? If they say no, What about $3000 less? If they say no, do a T.O. to me and catch another one. Oh yeah--you need to build value first so tell them everything about the car. I want you to tell them every feature. Huh? You don't know all the features--then go outside and drive one of each car. The keys are hanging on the wall."

No shit--that was my training. Even with that, I sold 2 cars my first day but I'll be honest--they were both lay-downs and I was very enthusiastic and enthusiasm is very catchy.

Having an inquisitive mind, I like to learn things. I am a self-taught computer programmer so I figured I could teach myself how to sell cars. There are a couple of good books on selling cars especially Joe Girard's How to Sell Anything to Anybody but as good as it is, it was written in the 70's when they didn't even have MSRP prices on the cars! There are also some good sales trainers that sell their products--you know the kind--the fill-in-the-blank workbooks that have scripts that sound too good to be true but besides that, there really isn't much for car salespeople out there. So, I bought a few generic books on selling (my collection has probably reached around 50 books since then) and got to reading.

I started getting better and better and sooner or later, I was consistently in the top 3 or 4 in sales in the dealership. In the late 90's, I decided that the follow-up card that the F&I printed out wasn't good enough for me so I wrote what became Car Salesperson's Assistant 1.0 (I later changed the name to Car Sales Assistant and abbreviate it as CSA. Someone at the dealership saw it and said, "Marv--you should sell this program." I took his advice, put up my website, sent a few emails to dealerships (OK--I didn't know about spam back then) and started selling a couple of copies here and there.

Eight years later and here I am. I was #1 in sales last year at my dealership and most of it I can attribute to the use of my follow up software as well as the techniques I will share with you if you choose to check back from time to time. Please contact me through my website if you ever have any comments--I would love to hear them.