Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Car Sales Assistant Store Coming

Well, to better serve you, my customer (or perhaps a future customer) I have taken the plunge and hooked up for a new service to maintain my store that I sell my products on. It will be at store.carsalesassistant.com and will be up in a few days.

I was using paypal, then I switched to a cart system called Zen Cart and I feel that both were confusing to me and to people who wanted to purchase my software. So, I have hooked up with a company that specializes in shopping carts--it cost me around $200 to set up and will cost me $30 per month but I think it will be well worth it.

Here is something cool that you will be able to do once it is up. You will be able to sign up as an affiliate of mine and if you direct your buddies to my website and if they purchase some of my stuff, you will get paid $$$. I get a ton of referrals and believe in rewarding people who send me business.

Thanks for your patience over the next few days. You can still purchase right now but it (quite frankly) is very confusing.

Best regards,

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why do People Buy?

Why do people buy cars? OK--it's late, I didn't sell a single car in the 13.5 hours that I "sold cars" today (a misnomer since I didn't sell anything!) and I'm trying to stay awake watching the Tigers play the Rangers (and dozing off while doing-so) so what I'm trying to say to you is I will give some of the reasons that people buy cars but please forgive me if I leave something out.

OK--once again for all of you people who aren't bored to shit yet--why do people buy? Tell you what--since I am so tired, bored, sleepy, buzzed, high, drunk, stupid or whatever qualifies...I'll put it into a nutshell...

People buy for emotional reasons.

OK--but wait. I just saw a commercial for GM that states that people want better gas mileage, want fewer fill ups, want to save at the pump, etc. That sounds pretty logical, not emotional.

OK--don't get me wrong. Some people will buy for logical reasons but I want to talk about most people--you know--the ones you will sell cars to most of the time.

People buy for emotional reasons and justify their purchase with logical reasons.

OK--prime example. I had a customer once get a new car and bury $5000 in negative. Why? Because she wanted to save money on gas. OK. To spend $5000 in negative equity to save money in gas--what is wrong with this story? Well, it turns out she just got divorced and her ex just bought a new car and she wanted to "one-up" him. Why did she mention "saving gas?" Well, to justify her purchase. The emotional reason she bought was to "show him up" but she didn't admit that to me--I just got it via conversation. Of course, I brought up gas mileage when I sold her the car but I also focused on how cool she would look in it and how her ex would be jealous, etc.

I once knew a dude who went to look at cars. The salesperson (deducting that this guy didn't have a love live) asked him, "Do you have a girl friend?" They guy said no. "Well, if you buy this car--you will!"

Wow! I hope that dude is still selling cars and I'll bet he is making a killing!

I see people trying to talk people into buying cars for logical reasons. "This car gets X miles per gallon. " or "This car has ABS brakes."

OK--lets break it down. Would "This car gets X miles per gallon" convince you into buying a car?

Me neither.

What if the salesperson said, "This car gets X miles per gallon so you will have more money to take that nice vacation in Florida that you were talking about?"

What would convince you to want ABS brakes? Because they are there or because they can prevent your loved-ones from getting hurt in a car accident?

OK--bed time but let me finish with this. Focus on the emotional reasons that people buy. Talk to them about how they deserve a new car because they work so hard--talk about how their friends are going to be jealous--talk about how happy they will be taking the car on that trip to Florida--what ever gets them to smile and be emotional (smiling is the by-product of an emotion of being happy by the way.)

Good night, good luck, Go Tigers, God Bless and Rock and Roll!

Why Contact Relationship Works

I am a full time car salesperson but I am also a software developer who sells Car Sales Assistant 2008, a follow up program designed especially for car salespeople. Therefore, I think I am pretty qualfied to share a few tidbits with you.

I don't know if you have noticed a change in the car business, but I sure have. GM just dropped a bombshell on us Chevrolet salespeople in Michigan by basically killing leases. What does this mean? Well, people will still buy cars but for us where I live, it is going to be a little bit tougher.

Thank God that I have developed some pretty good techniques for customer relationship building. Since there will be fewer and fewer fresh ups until people get used to not leasing, it is now more important than ever to develop relationships with your current customer base. Also, it is important to have a good system and (shameless plug coming) I would recommend my software. You can download it here and check it out for a free trial.

OK--shameless plugs aside, what do you do with a CRM program once you get it?

  • Call every customer you have sold about every 90 days. Some people say every 30 days but I think that is too much--if someone called me every 30 days, I would feel pestered and dread the call. Now, if your manager says every 30 days, do it!
  • Why call every 90 (or 30) days? Because odds are that sooner or later, someone in their direct family will be in the market for a car.
  • What if they aren't? Odds are that they have a friend in the market for a car.
  • Send a birthday card!!!! CSA 2008 makes it easy. Our dealership generates a computer printed letter and you know what? It looks like it's computer generated. Get a nice birthday card! I didn't get a single card in the mail this year (my birthday is June 21st if you want to send me one next year) but guess what--if someone would have sent me one, I would have really appreciated it and if that someone was in the sales or service business, I would have found a way to do business with them or at least find a family member or friend to do business with them! (Very important.)
  • If someone leaves without buying, call them and thank them sincerely for stopping by. I have never gotten a thanks for stopping by call but would kinda feel obligated to at least consider someone who takes the time to do that.
  • Send a letter thanking them for stopping by with a business card in it. You know what else? Make it hand written so it looks like you take the time because you care!
  • If they buy somewhere else, thank them and ask them to give you another shot next time around.
OK-I know I ramble. Back to the title of this article. Why Contact Relationship Works. It works because not many people do it effectively! If you do it, you will stand up in crowd and sell more cars.

Some personal success stories recently.

  • I called an orphan owner about 10 months ago and called every other month and talked to her. Guess what? She brought her son up and he bought a car from me a week ago today.
  • I called someone who bought somewhere else and said, "I just wanted to thank you for calling me and letting me know. Most people will not do that and I really do appreciate it." You know what? I'm sure no one else has ever thanked her for buying somewhere else. Maybe I'll get another shot from her.
  • I had a guy who wanted to lease a car for $230 per month. Well, leasing is done but I still kept in touch with him. You know what else? He is coming up on friday to purchase a certified used car.
What is boils down to, if your economy is rough like ours is, there is nothing else going on so what else can you do to kill the time?

  • Call people. Let them know to tell their family and friends about you.
  • Let them know that to you, they are more than a sale but a friend.
  • Ask them what kind of car they want next time around so you can "keep and eye on the programs and contact them when it is the right time to get their next car."
Rambling done. That's how I write. Thanks for reading this blog!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How to Handle a "Special Finance" Customer

First of all, a definition: Special Finance: a customer with bad credit who cannot get financed through conventional methods and who has a large chance of having their next vehicle get repossessed. If they ever get approved, their interest rate is going to be sky-high and it will probably not be their dream vehicle.

OK--here are some techniques to handle this large and growing customer type.

1) Never tell them they are approved over the phone. If you do that, they usually get the attitude that they can now buy whatever they want from whomever they want.

2) If they tell you they have money to put down, ask if they really have it. For example, I had someone once tell me to "figure it with $2000 down." I turned around and asked, "Do you have $2000 to put down right now?" They said, "Uh--no, but I will in 6 weeks when I get my tax return." Your job is to sell them a car RIGHT NOW, not 6 weeks from now.

I love when a Special Finance Manager gets someone "approved" but it is not a deal that can be structured with your particular customer. "Hey--I got your guy approved but he needs $8000 down." Uh, no. That is a B.S. call--that is the banks way of saying "No." Now granted, some special finance customers can come up with that kind of money but we are talking about a small, small percentile of them. That is also like a salesperson saying, "I sold that guy a Corvette. He said he'll take it if the payment is $250 per month. I sold him--he just can't buy." Uh, no. You did not sell anyone anything. The deal has to be structured where...

a) The customer accepts it
b) Your manager accepts it
c) Your customer buys it (busting bugs, burning that all so expensive gas!)

3) If you get them approved before they come up, find out what vehicles you can sell them with the money they have down and more importantly, WITH THE PAYMENT THEY WANT! If you have a 2003 Trailblazer that is $300 and they want to be at $300, why would you try to sell them a 2005 Trailblazer at $500? Makes no sense whatsoever!

I used to work with a guy--probably the best used car salesperson that I had ever met. He told me he would get the leads online, get the people approved and have the car they could buy ready for them--all cleaned up and looking shiny. When they pulled up he would say, "This is your car and this is your payment." He also told me (and I believed every word) that he averaged around $5000 front end gross a pop and that he rarely ever made less than $15K per month. Anytime I saw the guy, he was on the phone working customers, working customers in person and working the finance guy on his customers--except the few times I saw him in the lunch room eating a lunch that he brought (I never once saw him leave for lunch.) Super hard worker--I wish I had 1/2 the work ethic that he has!

OK--now for the big thing. What if they people don't want one of the cars you have "picked out" for them? What if they want a Suburban (for some reason, people with bad credit always want the high-dollar vehicles) and you can only get them approved on a Blazer?

I like to call it the "Shot at the Doctor's Office Close."

Here's how it goes.

"Mr. Customer, I understand that you want a Suburban. I can get you worked out on a Blazer."

Customer: "The Blazer's too small. I want a Suburban."

You: "I just want you to understand that they will not approve you on a Suburban at this time. What I would recommend is getting the Blazer--they will approve you on it and it's a great opportunity for you."

Customer: "How's that?"

You: "It's kinda like going to the Doctor's office to get a shot. It hurts for a bit but in the long run, it keeps you healthy. Getting this Blazer is like getting the shot. It will hurt for a while but in the long run it will make you healthier because if you pay it perfect, you will help reestablish your credit. It's actually a great opportunity for you and quite frankly, I think it will be a mistake to look a gift horse in the mouth."

Then I like to add: "You will pay it perfect, right?" If they say "yes" then they just agreed to buy the Blazer.

This works really well if the payment is higher than they want to pay. "They higher payment is like getting a shot..." You get the picture.

Well, everyone, good luck and good night! I'm gonna hit the sack and have sweet dreams of my recent vacation to Mackinac Island and the surrounding area. Here is a nice picture with some soft colors that I took yesterday at dusk.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Nice Vacation "Up North"

One of the coolest things about living in Michigan, besides the "cool" economy and the "cool" way that everyone is getting rid of leases is being able to go "up north." By up north, I mean in our beautiful upper penninsula.

Right now, we are staying in St. Ignace which is right over the Mackinac Bridge (a 5-mile long bridge--one of the largest suspension bridges in the world.) This was my first time crossing the bridge. It is overwhelming to say the least! You first see it from miles away and you are instantly shocked at how big it is. I even felt a moment of deja vu as if I had seen this view before, perhaps in a dream. You go over and see Lake Michigan on the left and Lake Huron on the right. The water is blue in the middle--as blue as the ocean (and these are fresh water oceans in their own right) and green on the edges. Sailboats smoothly criss-cross at a leisurely gait and the air smells great--as if filtered by the lakes themselves. Absolutely stunning!

Here is a picture of my daughter Melissa--miles away from the bridge overlooking Lake Michigan.

It's kinda neat here. Even though my brain tells me that it's Michigan, my mouth speaks otherwise. For example, I saw a guy last night at a bonfire with a Detroit Tigers hat on. I said, "Wow--a Tigers fan," and then realized that I was still in Michigan and there were still Tigers fans here, regardless of our record and chances at a playoff berth.

They have a bonfire every night here--people sit there, kids roast marshmallows, adults drink a few beers under the beautiful night sky--not a bit of pollution--light or otherwise.

A couple of funny things I saw--one mother kept telling her kids "only one roasted marshmallow because they charing causes cancer." I think I heard the word "cancer" come out of her mouth about five times. This morning at the continental breakfast, I watched one of their kids drop his jelly-covered bagel and it fell jelly-down on the floor. He picked it up and kept eating. "He dropped that on the ground, jelly-side-down," I told his dad. His dad smiled and said, "You need to learn to quit worrying about things," as he winked at me. Wow--a little protest against his wife who was easily at the other end of the worrying-spectrum? Perhaps so!

My one year old son being a one year old--sleeping, crawling around and nothing much else. Now my daughter on the other hand--she has probably made around 5 friends (all her "best friends" she keeps telling me.) Last night, her and a girl bounced around the campfire singing Hannah Montana songs and pretending they were making food out of the sand.

I met another guy who told me that they have a hunting camp about 1.5 hours from here. "We killed a bear," he told me. "I had a guy cook up the neck meat and it was very good." Count me out!

So you can put a face to the words of this blog, here I am also over looking the Mackinac Bridge. I'm trying to explain to my six-year-old daughter how to take the picture as she snaps it.

All in all, it feels very good to get away. The car business is getting very stressful in Michigan with our sour economy and the fact that most of our customers lease and leasing is going away. Might be the time to switch over to selling used cars! Oh well.

I'll try to get some more pictures tonight--maybe the stars (hope it's clear) and maybe the bridge with all the lights on.