Home > Personal Selling > Engaging the prospect in auto sales.

Engaging the prospect in auto sales.

Here is the scenario... you work as a sales person at an automobile dealership. A prospective buyer drives up and starts looking around at the different vehicles. What next steps do you recommend with the goal being to engage the prospect in meaningful dialogue? - by Community Mailbox
I'm assuming that, in your scenario, the prospect has gotten out of his vehicle and is walking the lot. Here's my advice in that situation:

1. Don't approach the prospect too quickly. Let the prospect settle into the environment. Allow him to look at window stickers and meander a bit. Few people like to be accosted by a salesperson at a car dealership.

2. If possible, approach the prsopect face-to-face, not to the prospect's back.

3. The opening line should be designed to get a response from the prospect that can be leveraged into building a relationship with him. Relationships can be built quickly, and must be in car sales. You want to avoid getting the "I'm just looking" response. To do that, you can use any of the following:

- A non-business opening (a comment or question about the weather, the prospect's child, the sports-team jersey he/she is wearing, etc.).

- An open-ended question (such as "What brings you by XYZ Motors today?"' or, "It looks like you're checking out the new Chevy Malibu; How much do you know about it?", or, "What do you think of the new Chevy Malibu?").

- A personal introduction. (such as "My name is Skip Anderson...welcome...what's your name?").

- A leading question (such as "Man-oh-man, the weather is beautiful today, isn't it?)

- A sincere smile is an asset. So is an engaging vocal tone.

- Remember, different prospects have different personal preferences for speed of speech, volume of speech, and quantity of verbal communication. Monitor your rate of speech, volume, and quantity of words spoken as you begin to determine your prospects' preferences. You want your communication style to be in the "sweet spot" of the prospects' personal preferences.

At all costs, avoid "Can I help you?" and related questions, because you're likely to get a response of "no!".

Engaging a prospect is a real skill (especially at a auto dealership where many prospects have their self-defense mechanism fully employed). - by Skip Anderson
That's easy. You ask him/her what brought them into your dealership today? Listen without interruption. This will give you a sense of his motivation. You might even ask - why your dealership, but do this discretely in the conversations somewhere.

Then ask him to wave a magic wand. What would he buy if he could buy anything? Have him explain all the details and then ask how come he wants those things or that car. This will give you a sense of what he really wants. Once you know what someone really wants, you can structure your presentation to give it to him. Don't frett that he may want some exotic car - that's not what he wants. He wants what that exotic car will do for him. So in your presentation show him how he can get the same experience with something on your lot. Remember it's about him and not what you thing he should have. - by Sam Manfer
Greeting them with your name, welcoming them to the dealership and asking their names are first steps. If it is a couple, acknowledge both of them by giving both a business card. Make sure and talk to both, until you determine who the car is for. Otherwise, you might turn the buyer off before they even look at cars. Focus more on open-ended questions about what they want, rather than small talk. You can and should find ways to build a relationship by doing this. Trust, integrity, good questions, attentive listening and sincene interest in helping the customer will go a long way toward moving the sale to the next stage. - by GerryMyers
Then ask him to wave a magic wand. What would he buy if he could buy anything?
I've said this before. A key to a successful sales interview is to talk the way people actually talk--not the way you think salespeople are supposed to talk. A lot of people have trouble with that for some reason.

I've been around...been to a few rodeos and a picnic or two. I can't remember the last time I was ever asked to wave a magic wand.

People on this thread say build relationships which is great advice. The best relationship is human being to human being.

Is there anything wrong with starting off with "Hello."?

Then ask a question in the form of a statement: "You're looking at the Malibu(?)

That's called Acknowledgement. It shows Interest.

THEN follow his reply with an intelligent statement or question that applies to what he/she says, not with what you think you are supposed to be saying.

Use a creative questioning mode--not a reactive questioning mode. It makes you listen. And--you're supposed to listen. - by Ace Coldiron
Instead of answering the question directly I would like to make a suggestion about what not to do;

DO ASK as your first question;

Can I help you?
- by Gold Calling
Greeting them with your name, welcoming them to the dealership and asking their names are first steps. If it is a couple, acknowledge both of them by giving both a business card. Make sure and talk to both, until you determine who the car is for. Otherwise, you might turn the buyer off before they even look at cars. Focus more on open-ended questions about what they want, rather than small talk.
The topic of customer engagement is one which I am passionate about!

I absolutely agree with you, Gerry, about talking to both people if the prospect is a pair.

I would like to make the argument that business cards don't engage prospects, especially on a car lot...people engage other people. I recommend putting the business cards away, look the prospect in the eye, and engage-away!

I'm curious, Gerry, why would you recommend against what you call "small talk?" People make small talk around the water cooler at work. They make small talk with their friends. They make small talk with their family around the dinner table. What's wrong with small talk? (I happen to believe that appropriate small talk is fantastic, because prospects are people first and prospects second).

Skip - by Skip Anderson
Instead of answering the question directly I would like to make a suggestion about what not to do;

DO ASK as your first question;

Can I help you?
Steven, please clarify...

are you saying DO ASK "can I help you" or DO NOT ASK "can I help you?"

Thanks Gold. - by Skip Anderson
Skip
Nothing is wrong with small talk, but in all your examles they are friends and collegues. The car salesman is neither. My focus is primarily working with companies to market and sell more successfully to women, including a lot of work in the automotive industry. That's why I bought in the fact the salesman needed to talk to both if it is a couple. If the woman is alone, she is probably very busy as most women are today with their job and family responsibilitiies and initial small talk might make her more anxious about time, etc. Nothing wrong with adding some personal touches as the process moves along. In fact, I encourage that. If she is looking at a SUV and mentions she takes a lot of kids to soccer games, the salesperson can easily pick up on that. I would look for opportunities to build the relationship with small talk around what she is saying rather than in the beginning.




















V
U an - by GerryMyers
DO NOT ASK "can I help you?"
Yah, there is a typo there, the phone must have rang Skip!

As a method of beginning dialogue in retail I beleive this to be the worst way to start, as the easy answer is NO THANK YOU.

Since I have never worked retail, other than at the Fair/Circus, I defer to your great judgment on how to begin the engagement. - by Gold Calling
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