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?