10 Tips for Car Dealership Salespeople


1. There is no cookie cutter template.

This may be the most important tip out there. If you stopped reading after this, you would still have gained some important knowledge. No two customers are alike. The same method that helped you close your previous deal, may not help you to close the next one, in fact it could even have the opposite effect. A good salesperson needs to be able to read their customer and be able to think on their feet to adapt to a customers buying style. Some people need a hard push over the edge to buy and others need gentle hand holding. Never try to use a cookie cutter approach to all customers, you’ll lose as many deals as you gain that way.


2. Always be honest with customers.

As the old adage goes, honesty is the best policy. This is particularly true in the dealership business. It can be very tempting for a salesperson for a salesperson to slightly bend the truth to close a deal. At best, this can lose referrals for the dealership and get them some bad reviews. At worst, this can result in a lawsuit for the dealership.

On the flip side of this, one of the best things a salesperson can say is “I don’t know”. Salespeople have a tendency to attempt to be experts on every car on the lot, when, especially on larger lots, this is nearly impossible. Saying “I don’t know” protects a salesperson from giving out false info and builds trust between the salespeople and the customers. Of course there’s another part of saying “I don’t know, and that is finding the right answer.


3. Don’t make assumptions about a buyer.

Just don’t do it. There is nothing about how a customer dresses or does their hair that can tell you their credit score or how much they make. Don’t miss out on selling an $80,000 car (and getting that commission) because you assumed the customer couldn’t afford that. Let the bank or their wallet make that decision, but never make it yourself.


4. Go on the test drive.

Inside a dealership, there is more of a feeling of sales pressure. Use the time on the drive to point out some key features of the vehicle. More than that though, use the time on the drive to get to know the customer and let them get to know you. Doing this will build trust between you and your customers.

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5. Don’t just wait for customers to come to you.

Don’t just sit on the lot waiting for that golden ready to buy customer to walk on to your lot. Be proactive. Call your previous customers and ask them for referrals. Call customers who stopped by to “just look”. The point is, if the customers aren’t coming to you, you can certainly go to them.


6. Perfect your greeting.

A standard greeting in most retail establishments  is “How can I help you today?” More often than not, when a customer hears that on a car lot, their response is something to the effect of “I’m just looking today.” Instead, try starting out with some kind of personal introduction. “Hi my name is Jeffrey, what’s yours?” Every interaction with the customer should be one that nurtures the relationship and builds trust.


7. Don’t try to sell the customer on a car they don’t want.

For some buyers, price is the only thing that matters in a purchase. For these buyers, you can recommend a car purely based on price, and it will work for them. For most buyers however, a number of factors decide which car to buy. Fuel mileage, sportiness, image, features and more can influence which car they want. Ask the customer what features they are looking for and get a feel for their price range. Then come up with a few options on your lot. Don’t try to force a car on them that they’re really not interested in. If they end up with a car they’re unhappy with, you can forget about referrals or repeat business. Or worse they can walk away from the dealership without buying a car at all. On the other hand, you may end up selling them a more expensive car because it more closely matches what they want.


8. Be the last person they see as they leave.

Leave a good last impression. After your customer has finished up in the financing office and they have the keys in their hand, meet with the customer one more time. Show them some features of their car, hand them a few business cards, and wish them well. Leave a good impression on them. Even if they leave without buying, leave them with a positive impression of you and a business card.


9. Know the cars on your lot.

Whether your lot is big or small, know what vehicles are on your lot. This is especially important on a used lot. You will need to be able to intelligently and quickly match a customer to a car. Don’t waste a customers time by hunting around the back lot. Know what you have and direct the customer to it.


10. Be happy.

Smile. No really, smile. Smile through the entire interaction. Be happy and positive. This will ease the process for the buyer. Customers generally have a distaste for car buying. Your smile and enthusiasm will ease their mind and help comfort them along their way.

September 2, 2014 - Written by

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