Saturday, April 26, 2008

Trial Closes

A trial close is simply a technique that we use to see if a customer is ready to buy. You can compare it to taking their temperature to see if they are "hot" for the car or "cold."

Here are a couple of good trial closes in no particular order.

The Sold Line Trial Close: When you are pulling back into the lot after a test drive (hopefully the customer is driving) say, "Jim--it looks like we found the perfect car for you. Do me a favor and park this car in the sold line so no one else tries to sell your car."

One of two things will happen...

1) They will pull it into the sold line which means they want to buy the car or
2) They will give you an objection or excuse that you will have to overcome to sell the car.

Where is the sold line? Wherever you want it to be. I tell them to park next to our service department. It really doesn't matter as long as they think it is the sold line.

The Either/Or Trial Close: Ask an either/or question regarding their paper work like, "Do you guys want to title the car in one name or two?" They will either give you an answer which means they want to title the car (they are buying it) or an objection.

The "Do you have time to do the paperwork right now?" trial close: Very simple...head into it with an overview of the features that they wanted and then say, "Jim--sounds like we found the perfect car for you. Do you have time to do the paperwork right now?" If they say yes, get the paperwork started! If they say no say, "When do you want to do it?" They will either give you a different time or an objection.

NOTE: Your goal should be to "spot deliver" everything so if they say that they will do the paperwork but do it tomorrow, you must talk them into doing it today. Why? There's a lot of dealerships between today and tomorrow and a lot of "little birdies" like they neighbor that might say, "You're not getting a good deal...see my friend at Biff Motors--he'll get you a better one."

How do you talk them into doing it today? Use what I call the "it would help me out" close. Hopefully you have done a good job with your customer and bought them some drinks to obligate them so you have earned the right to say, "Jim--would you mind doing the paperwork right now? We're not that busy and I know we already have a lot of deliveries set up for tomorrow. It would also really help me out." Who's not going to want to help you out if you do a great job? Right--no one!

Hopefully these few tips can help you sell cars--they have helped me out. It puts people under a lot of pressure if you try to grind a "yes" out of them when asking them if they will "buy right now if terms are agreeable" (a very weak close by the way) but easier to ask them to park in the "sold line"--they both accomplish the same thing but the sold line is a lot less pressured from your end.

Good luck selling!

Marv Chomer

Friday, April 18, 2008

Question Your Way to a Sale

The person who asks the questions will control the sale. Also, you should never really ask a question unless you are prepared for the answer. For example, I would never think of asking a dude if he wanted to buy the new Camaro because we don't have them to sell yet!

OK--back to the main premise of this article. He or she who asks the questions controls the sales process.

Here is an example:

Customer: What is the price of this car?
You: $22,995
Customer: What kind of interest rates do you have?
You: We have 4.9%
Customer: What would my payment be?
You: Probably $450 to $500.
Customer: Do you have a business card? I need to think about it.


Notice who asked all the questions and notice who answered them and lost a sale... you!

OK--maybe it doesn't really happen that way but you know what? It does if you let the customer ask all the questions.

OK--in this article, we will talk about different types of questions and what you can do with them.

The first type is called ANSWERING A QUESTION WITH A QUESTION. The power of this technique is to ask the question back at your customer to regain control of the sales process.

Customer: Does this car come in red?
You: Would you like a red car?

Customer: What is the warranty on this car?
You: Is the warranty important to you?

OK--you get the picture. If you are far enough in the sales process, you can attempt a closing attempt after asking the question back.

Customer: Does the car come in red?
You: Would you like it in red?
Customer: Yes
You: Great! Sounds like I have the perfect car for you. Lets go inside and get the paperwork started so you can start enjoying your new, red car.

Very powerful stuff.

Next type of question is the EITHER/OR QUESTION or MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION. There are reasons to use these type of questions.

  • To set appointments. Would you like to come by in the morning or afternoon?
  • To gain information: Would you like a lighter color or a darker one?
  • To close a customer: Do you want just your name on the paperwork or do you want your wife on it also?
  • To lead a customer towards a vehicle that you have in inventory: Do you want this car or that one?
OK--we're doing great! The next type of question is the YES QUESTION. The main purpose of this question is to get the customer agreeing with you and to build value in a vehicle.

  • Isn't this a great driving car? Yes!
  • Aren't those seats comfortable? Yes!
  • And didn't you say that you loved the new black-granite color? Yes!
  • (If they keep saying yes--attempt a close!) Sounds like we found the perfect car for you...
NOTE: When asking the questions, nod your head while getting them to say yes--it gets them into a "yes frame of mind" where it is easier for them to say yes to the car. It's fun because sooner or later, they will start nodding with you.

OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS: Can have any number of answers. They are dangerous for you if used improperly.

Dangerous Example: (You) What color do you want?
Customer: Red
You: Uh--we don't have any red.
Customer: Never mind--give me your business card. I was just looking anyways.

Non-Dangerous One:
(You) Where did you guys plan on taking your first vacation with your new van?

CLOSED ENDED QUESTIONS: Have only 1-3 (or so) possible answers.

Example: Do you like lighter colors or darker ones?
Customer: Lighter ones (We have no white in stock..)
You: Like what--silver or beige?
Customer: Yeah--I kinda like silver...

You can see where this is leading. You are asking the questions and controlling the sale.

Sorry about the short article--Time to watch the replay of the Tigers game--I hope they already won!

Marv Chomer

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to Memorize 20 Objects In Order

OK--I'm going to teach you something here that is awesome. I'm going to teach you how to memorize 20 objects. You will be able to name them in order, backwards or even have someone pick a number from 1-20 and you will be able to tell what the object is.

I learned this about ten years ago and paid about $200 to learn it. The cool thing about this technique is that you can be a computer dork like me and use this as a cheap attempt to impress girls at a bar and maybe get a few free drinks out of it.

OK--how does this work? You can repeat the 20 objects over and over again but instead, we'll do it by memory association. Think of the brain as if it were a file cabinet. If you want to remember what a rose smells like, your brain goes to the specific spot where a rose resides and says, "It smells like a rose!"

OK--20 things that you will need to memorize to use this skill. These 20 things never change and they are always in the same numerical spot. Read the descriptions after each thing to help you memorize them and visualize them in your mind. Concentrate hard!

1) A Tree (notice how a tree goes straight up like a "1"--I think the tree is 1 foot tall! Maybe it has 1 big branch)
2) An electrical outlet (There are 2 plugs and each has 2 holes to plug things in)
3) A stool (3 legs on the stool, 3 feet tall)
4) A car (4 wheel drive, 4 door, 4 wheels--you get the picture)
5) A glove (5 fingers--picture OJ's glove if it helps)
6) A gun (6 shooter!)
7) Dice (throw me a lucky seven!)
8) Skate (8 Skate! Figure 8...)
9) Cat (9 lives)
10) Bowling pins (10 pins, 10 frames, the bowling ball weighs 10 pounds)
11) Football goal post (Looks like an 11. Kick it from the 11 yard line)
12) Eggs (A dozen eggs)
13) A Witch (13 is unlucky--think of an unlucky evil witch)
14) A Diamond Ring (14 carat--I think it costs $14 grand!)
15) Payday! (We get paid on the 15th in the car business, right? My gross was $15K by the way...)
16) Birthday Cake (a nice sweet birthday cake for your sweet 16th birthday! It has 16 candles, by the way...)
17) Magazine (Seventeen--the magazine that all the 17 year olds like to read...)
18) Semi Truck (A big 18-wheeler--hauls 18 tons worth of stuff!)
19) Golf (see you on the "19th hole" for a few 19 oz beers! They cost $19 each but you're buying...)
20) Cigarettes (20 smokes in a pack, if you smoke them, you might live to be 20!)

OK--now I don't expect you to walk into a bar and say, "Hey--19 is golf! Cool, ain't it?"

No--here's what I expect you to do.

Go up to someone you know and say, "Hey--I'm gonna show you something real cool. Give me 20 objects--they can be anything. Write 1-20 on a piece of paper and give me 20 objects, one at a time and write it next to the number. I'll then tell you what they are in order."

When they give you the first object, associate it with a tree. For example, let's say that the object is a house. Imagine something violent, crazy, sexual (hey, it's in your mind) what I'm saying, the more outrageous the better!) So, for house and tree, I imagine the tree in my front yard. The wind picks it up and crashes it through my plate glass windows--leaves flying all over the place!)

Object 2: A Dog! OK--I imagine a dog licking an electrical outlet and zapping his tongue and his fur frying in that sicking burnt hair smell.

Object 3: A can of pop. I imagine someone taking a stool and smashing a can of pop and it sprays all over the place.

Object 4: A buffalo. I imagine a car riding with a herd of buffalo and smashing into one of them and the buffalo caves in the hood and causes the air bags to deploy.

OK--hopefully by now, you get the picture. Now, when you are done with all the items, do this:

1) (think about the tree--oh yeah--the wind blew it through the plate glass window in my HOUSE)
2) (electrical outlet...that stupid dog licked it and zapped himself DOG)
3) I remember the stool smashing the can of POP)
4) I remember the car smashing into the BUFFALO...

OK--pick a number. THREE. The stool smashes the POP. Pretty cool, isn't it?

You can use this to remember just about anything--grocery lists, names (give them an association like JOHN becoming a TOILET and smashing through a car window for example.

Like I said, this cost me $200 to learn in a class but it's cool--I still remember the 20 things 10 years later and this becomes so easy with practice that you will freak people out with your skills.

Hate to sound greedy, but if you like this technique, please check out my follow up software at

Marv Chomer

p.s. After you try this, please respond to this post and share with all of us your results!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Most Important Thing to Sell More Cars

If I had to pick one thing that we all could do to sell more cars, what would it be?

Let me tell you a story. Almost 20 years ago, I was using an Amiga Computer as my main computer. It was built by Commodore and followed the popular Commodore 64 computer. I was a die-hard Commodore user that started with the Vic-20 back in the early 80's. I swore that I would never get an "IBM Compatible" as they were called back then until I saw that a game called "Railroad Tycoon" was coming out for the PC only. I love video games and had to have that game so I decided to buy a PC. Back then, they were a 286 processor and moved about as fast as molasses in the winter. Where to buy one, then? Hmmm.

I had a friend of mine who worked at a local appliance store and he told me he could sell me one. I went up there and bought the computer that my friend recommended to me. I didn't question anything--the features, the options, the price... anything! Now, as I look back, I realize that I probably paid too much and probably didn't get a computer with all the stuff that I would have like to have gotten (it didn't have enough memory--I think it had 512K of memory (not Megabytes mind you--kilobytes) and didn't include a mouse (had to pay extra) and didn't even have a good sound or video card. To make matters worse, everything was hard-wired on the motherboard and it was damn hard to add stuff to it.

What is the moral of this story? Be someone's friend and they will buy off of you no questions asked. If you can't be their friend, at least get them to like you. How can you get people to like you? Here are some tips.

  • Find something in common with your customer. It could be a sports team, where you live, where you went on vacation, kids the same age, etc. Focus on their things, though--not yours. When I sold cars in Tennessee, I sold a lot of Saturn employees and most of them were from Michigan so I had instant rapport. Conversely, if I meet someone from Tennessee now that I live in Michigan again, I bring up the fact that my wife is from there and that I lived there for seven years.
  • Ask them a lot of questions. People like talking about themselves--not you.
  • If married, focus on the wife--ask her most of the questions. Wives hate being left out--ask mine!
  • Learn to have a great sense of humor! Very, very important. It my not show in this blog, but I like to think I'm a very funny guy. If you can make someone laugh, you will win them over. Don't crack jokes about race, religion, politics, gender, etc. Do crack jokes about yourself. When I sold cars in Tennessee, I made myself the butt of many "yankee" jokes and believe me, it helped!
  • Try not to use a lot of high pressure tactics. Use subtle tactics instead. Now, don't get me wrong--I have pressured the hell out of people and sold them cars but that was only as a last ditched attempt when I knew they were leaving and that I would never have another chance with them.
  • Sincerely thank them for coming up to see you--even if they buy or if they don't. Getting people in front of you is 99% of selling and you really should be thankful when you have a live soul in front of you.
  • Damn it--don't be cheap! Buy your customers a drink! And I don't mean a cup of water from the faucet or coffee but a soda or juice from a machine that costs you money. Let them know that you are taking care of it and have them see you take the money our of your pocket as you walk away to buy it. Not only will they appreciate it but it will obligate them to buy from you!
  • Find something to like about your customer. They could be the biggest mooch and treat you like dirt but I'm sure there is something.
  • If they mention that they were in "the war or the service," sincerely thank them for their service to our country and ask them a few questions about it. "Oh yeah? What branch of the service? When?"
Just a few small tips to help you sell more cars tonight. I'm about the watch the Tiger's game (I have it DVR'd) but I'm sure they will lose again.

Marv Chomer

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sales Books that I Recommend

People are always asking me what books I would recommend for car salespeople, especially new ones so I'm going to share some with you. I personally own all of these books and they have all helped me in one way or another.

Very, very highly recommended. Tells how to close certain people like doctors, lawyers, factory workers, etc. I had the tape set (that I loaned to someone and never got back). This guy started as a security guard in a huge real estate development company and ran the place a few years later. Probably the best sales book you can have in your arsenal.

This book is a classic. Zig Ziglar sold cookware from door to door (imagine doing that in this day and age!) and has probably heard every objection in the world. He is a great story teller and tells how his wife kept on closing him to buy the home that she wanted that was (if memory serves me correctly) $30K over his budget. A must-have in your collection.

A nice, thick book that has techniques for every aspect of selling. He arranges everything in easy to read lists so you can say, "Hey--how do I prospect?" and then find the chapter and see something like "12.5 Ways to Prospect." An easy read and a good one.

I actually own a couple books by Roger Dawson. Read this book and you will increase your gross, no questions asked! This one was probably my favorite Dawson books but I loaned it to a girl in Tennessee and never got it back. I think I've lost half a dozen books that I loaned to budding salespeople over the years.

Speaking of Roger Dawson, here is another great book by him. A little personal history. I was spending years "talking" about writing Car Sales Assistant and two things made me get off my butt and program it. One was a friend of mine named Mike George who told me that "successful people do things while unsuccessful people talk about doing things." The other was reading this book.

Want to learn how to sell cars? Learn from the best car salesperson in history. He sold 13,001 cars in his career and actually sold them in my home state of Michigan. Pretty cool stuff. He wanted to get in the car business because he was broke with no other options (sound familiar?) so he talked a manager into hiring him as long as he took no floor traffic. Well, he ripped a couple of pages from a phone book and got to cold calling people and a few years later, was averaging in a day what most of us average in a month. Great book!

Please feel free to check them out. Click on the title and you can read what others have said about these great books.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

CSA 2008 Update is Up and Running!

Hi, Everyone. I just uploaded the new build to CSA 2008. Here are some of the new features.

  • Email support! You can now email individual customers by clicking on their email address or send mass emails to all of your customers, or any customers that you search-for. For example, if you want to send an email to every customer who bought a "Cobalt" for example, do a search first and then email them all messages.
  • Support to import from CSA 3.0, CSA 4.0 and CSA 2007. All you do is browse to your CSA files and click import and you will be all set.
  • I changed LOG A CUSTOMER to LOG AN "UP". Also, there is now a search screen that pops up so you can see if you already have the customer in your master record. A lot easier to use now.
  • You know the MONTHLY PROGRESS thing on the left hand of the main screen? It, by default, shows your month-to-date in sales but you can change it to any 2 dates now such as 1/1/08 to 12/31/08 to show your year to date if you prefer. I had a dealership that purchased my software that had weird months so I did it for them and thought it would be a great feature for everyone else.
  • Added new tutorials.
Download the newest version here. Also, if you already have CSA 2008, you can update by following the instructions on these tutorials.

If you find any problems with any of it, please contact me via my website


Monday, April 7, 2008

How to Have Perfect CSI (Well...most of the time)

Take the Detroit Tigers...

...Please take them!

Just kidding. Take the Detroit Tigers. They have the second highest pay in the league. They have a pitcher who threw a no-hitter last year, they have a future all-star catcher who is about to get hit 2500 (if he hasn't done it yet) and they have a coach who still wears cleats (and one time smoked a carton of cigarettes by himself during a rain out.)

What don't they have? A good score right now. As of today they are 0 and 6 and about to play Boston who will probably cream them.

Why am I bringing this up? Because of CSI--your score. You could sell 30 cars a month and have a terrible CSI and odds are that your manager will look at your score instead of your sales. Why? Because they probably get paid on it! One thing is for sure--dealerships get spiffs from the auto companies and they usually depend on having good CSI scores. Also, it's bragging rights for dealers (my guys are .05 ahead of you! Hahahaha) and the white color executives at the manufacturer like to pore over numbers and say how good they are doing, even if their sales are tanking. I can hear it now... "Hey--we lost 23% in sales last year" "Yeah--but our 'top box' is now 82.665 percent!" "Good job! Keep up the good work."


Well, we have to live with it so I'm going to tell you my secrets to having perfect CSI (well, most of the time.) I have perfected these techniques over the years and normally have the highest CSI in the dealership. There was a point, last year, where I was actually at the bottom of the barrel but I was very stressed out at the time and hated the car business. Well, I'm back to almost loving the car business (if the American Axle strike would end and we would stock up on inventory I would love it again) and my CSI is back to 100% completely satisfied.

OK--so in no particular order, here is what I personally do to maintain perfect CSI (well, most of the time.)

I have a sample CSI that I show my customer after they do their paperwork. Here is what I tell them. "Biff, here is a copy of a survey that you are going to receive from GM in about 2-3 weeks. I need two favors from you. Favor one, please fill it out and send it in and favor two, please put that you are completely satisfied." I then point to the completely satisfied section. "It's kind of like my report card--completely satisfied is the only score that helps me pass. Any other score, including very satisfied, fails me. Pretty strict, isn't it?" Usually the customer agrees with me. Then I add, "I would never ask you to lie for me but please just do me this favor. This survey is very important to me and the dealership. Could you please help me out and put completely satisfied? But if you can't, don't lie for me. Just please call me first and let me know what's bothering you so I'll at least have the chance to make you happy. OK?"

I know it's a long speech but it works to set up the customer.

The day they buy, I send them a post card that is all colorful thanking them for their business and reminding them to call me if they have any questions about their car.

The day after they buy, I call them to see if they had any questions about their car. By then, they sometimes have the post card and actually thank me for sending it.

14 days after the sale, I send them a letter reminding them about the CSI and asking them for referrals.

A couple of days later, I call and ask them if they received the CSI in the mail yet. If not I say, "Do me a favor--call me the moment you get it. I'm trying to track how long these take to get to my customers because some have said that haven't received it yet." Who is going to say no to a favor?

If they say yes, "Did you fill it out yet?" If not, remind them to "take care of you" and put completely satisfied. If they say that they filled it out say, "Did you take care of me?"

OK--back to the guy 2 paragraphs up who promised to call you when he gets it, ask him to bring it up to the dealership. "Hey--can you bring it by? Some of my customers have said that it is different and I'd like to have a recent copy to check out--it would really help me out." I love that phrase, by the way. Practice it... It would really help me out. People like helping others.

OK--a couple of observations here.

  • If you treat your customers like dirt, they will blast you on your CSI.
  • If you make any promise to a customer, no matter how minor, and you don't keep your promise, they will blast you on your CSI.
  • If your customer has any problem with their car between purchase-date and CSI-date, they will probably blast you on your CSI. Unless, of course, your service department does a fantastic job taking care of them.
  • If you kept out any lack of features that your customer wants and they find out, they will definitely blast you on your CSI.
  • If you don't call them to thank them (or at least send a thank you card) they will most likely blast you on your CSI.
  • If your F&I treats them bad, they will blast you on your CSI (even though it wasn't your fault...)
OK--I know what you may be thinking. What is the use of manipulating my customers with letters, post cards, etc. just to get them to say they are completely satisfied? Well, I really believe that the big whigs don't care if a customer is completely satisfied--they just care if they put completely satisfied on the survey.

So--you're in a war and your job is to take the machine gun nest. A good leader will not tell you step by step how to take it out but give you a nudge in the right direction and say, "Do what you have to do but I need that machine gun nest taken out."

CSI is the same way. The big whigs don't care how you do it--they just want it done.

By the way, Detroit Tigers, I don't care how you do it--just start winning! This is getting embarrassing!

Marv Chomer

p.s. If this article helps you in any way, please pay it forward and check out my Car Sales Assistant 2008 software that will help you sell more cars!

CSA 2008 News

I've decided to take a week off of work so that gives me more time with my family and it gives me more time to work on CSA 2008. I've already added import functions so users of CSA 3, 4 and 2007 can convert their data and that seems to work bug free (at least on my computer.)

I am also adding email support as we speak. I've already added a function where you can click on an email in the customer screen and send an email to your customer. I will also be working on sending mass emails to your customers (like if you are having a sale.) Right now, the email is only text based but I will be adding HTML email in the future. Also, you have to have an email with SMTP sending to use the email (most emails qualify but some free ones like Yahoo won't unless you upgrade to their premium email.) I believe GMAIL allows SMTP sending--basically, if you can send email with outlook express or microsoft mail, you should be fine.

Also, my website was down because I forgot to re-new it but after jumping through many, many bureaucratic hoops, I finally have it back up.

On a somber note, what the hell is happening with the Detroit Tigers? Man--0 and 6!

Best regards as always,
Marv Chomer

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Got Killed with Kindness (Very Funny Story!)

I was at work the other day and a customer came in. Another salesperson we'll call "J" caught the guy and sat down and started asking him questions to investigate.

The customer said that he had his girlfriend's truck and wanted to know what it was worth. She was thinking about getting a "loaded up Tahoe." "J", doing the right thing, started talking about the Tahoe. "When you say 'loaded up', what are you referring to? There are many definitions of 'loaded up.'"

The customer started yelling at "J"--he yelled, "I don't care about the f**king Tahoe--I just want to know what her f**king truck is worth."

OK--a little selling here. If someone isn't there to buy, no matter what you give them for their trade, they are not going to do business.

More selling here: win the battle, lose the war.

But since the guy wasn't there to buy and since it was a given fact that he was a jerk, "J" decided to win the battle BIG TIME. He told the customer, "Sir, I am just here doing my job and part of my job is to ask these questions and if that isn't good enough for you, then I'm not going to deal with you."

The customer said, "I'm f**king out of here." He got up and stormed out of the dealership.

Right before he made it to the door, "J" decided to kill him with kindness. "Sir, I just want to let you know, I really like your hair-style."

The guy turned around--steaming. He was probably in his mid 50's with gray jacked-up hair. "What?!?!?"

"J" smiled and said, "I really mean it. That is a wonderful hair style."

"F**k you, you fat ass!" yelled the customer.

"What a wonderful jacket you have, sir. I really like it." (it was just an old bowling wind breaker)

"F**k you!" The man went out the door.

"Have a wonderful Easter and a blessed Good Friday," said "J"--following him out the door.

"I'm never buying from here," yelled the man. (He never was going to anyways.)

"Good luck, sir, I hope you find what you are looking for. I'm sure someone will give you what you want for her truck. That is a wonderful truck. God bless you."

The guy was absolutely steaming. He hopped in his truck and pulled out as "J", with a big pleasant smile, waved at the guy. Hahahahahaha.

In this career that we have where we constantly have to put up with assholes, it was wonderful to see that happen. "J" absolutely killed the guy with kindness and the guy couldn't have been more pissed since it probably went against what normally happens when this jerk-off acted that way. Now, if "J" would have gotten into a shouting match, then they guy would have won but in my humble opinion, "J" won the battle, the way and won his way into our laughs!