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10 Retail Lessons From a Car Salesman

Car salesmen are some of the best in the business. Each day they use effective sales techniques and provide their clients with excellent customer service. Below are 10 lessons you can learn from car salesmen and how you can apply their techniques in your store.

1. Warm Welcome
Whenever customers stop by a car dealership, their browsing means they will potentially drive away with a new or used car. In order to encourage browsing, the car salesman treats customers like they own the place. A genuine greeting and general excitement to see them will make consumers feel great and give them a top-notch first impression.

Your Store: Each time a customer walks through your doors, give a warm, genuine greeting. By taking this cue from the car salesman, you can ensure every customer feels like a priority. A bell jingle or another subtle sound notifying you when someone enters your store can help you be aware of customers’ presence.

 2. Listening
One of the most important skills a car salesman or woman must have is the ability to listen to the wants and needs of a customer. If a customer specifically asks for a car with a leather interior and good gas mileage, showing them a gas-guzzling SUV with cloth interior will send them to another dealership. It’s vital the associate knows what cars are on-site and has a good idea which vehicle will make the customer happy.

Your Store: Sales associates should know your inventory completely, what items are carried and which items are in stock. If an item is out of stock, offer a substitute or special order.

3. Test-Drive
When customers are interested in a car, the salesperson takes them out for a test drive, allowing them to experience what owning the vehicle would be like. Messing with the stereo, using the navigation and cruising a few miles down the highway allow the customer to visualize that car as their own. If there is a feature about the vehicle they dislike, then the salesperson should have a backup option ready to go by taking note of the things they disliked and replacing them with the things they want.

Your Store: You can allow your customers to test-drive products, as well. Display product out on the salesfloor, and you give your customer the chance to experience the product out of the box.

By using a model home, having appliances unpacked or displaying items in use — such as lit light fixtures or faucets with flowing water — your store gives customers the opportunity to try the product before they place it in their home.

4. Ample Information
Purchasing a car is a huge decision and a costly one. Customers want to know information up front, such as payment options, warranty information, additional features available and service options.

Your Store: Inform your customers the added value your store provides up front. Highlight your payment plans and repair services that can’t be found elsewhere. A unique service your store offers may be the deciding factor for a customer considering a purchase.

5. Social Cues
A common mistake car salesmen make is showing their desperation to make a sale. Anxious body language is easy to perceive and a customer is likely to steer clear of that person or the dealership. If they are ready to talk numbers, the sale is within reach. If they ask for more time, sometimes it’s best to give customers space and follow up a few days later.

Your Store: Customers may not have days to consider a purchase, but if someone wants more time to think about it, allow him or her that courtesy. Customers who feel pressured to buy are likely to walk out and might not return. Graciously let them go, and remind them you will be there when they return.

6. Keep in Touch
When customers leave the dealership, with or without a new vehicle, the salesperson follows up with them in order to secure a deal sometime in the future. Often, a salesperson will follow up via email and a phone call.

Your Store: Whenever you gain a new customer, add them to your email list. Then you will be able to keep in contact about sales, coupons and events. If you have customers who come back often, learn their names and greet them when they return. Loyal shoppers are among the best advocates for growing your customer base.

7. Negotiation
Car sales are notorious for price haggling. With lots of money on the line, people are less likely to purchase if they feel they could find a better deal elsewhere. In order to make a sale, dealerships must be willing to come down in price a bit to match the competition.

Your Store: Explain the added value that your store provides that can’t be found elsewhere. Consider implementing a price-matching policy to show that you are confident your prices are competitive in the market place.

8. Congratulations!
Once a car salesperson sells a customer a new vehicle, the salesman congratulate his customer on the new purchase!

Your Store: When shopping, there is usually some form of gratification that comes with a purchase. Let customers know if the product is popular or compliment their choice when ringing them out. Do not overdo this step, but remind them they made the right choice.

9. New and Shiny Products
Although the customer has already purchased the vehicle, the dealership wants to ensure the entire process was memorable and he or she is happy with the car. The car should be spotless and ready to be flaunted. The salesperson will let the new owner sit in the vehicle and go over the final details of the purchase. Additionally, the salesman should make it clear he will be available if the customer has any questions or future vehicle purchases.

Your Store: Thank customers for their business and let them know you look forward to seeing them when they return. Get contact information from customers with larger purchases and follow up to see if they need anything.

10. Beyond the Sales
When the customers have their keys in hand and are ready to drive out of the dealership, they should be reminded that when they chose to buy from XYZ dealership, they gained a group who will be there to answer questions and help in any way with the new vehicle. The dealership might set up future service visits to ensure the car is maintained and the owners return to their dealership.

Your Store: Remind customers that if they need anything they can come to your store for advice and honest opinions. Showing them tips and tricks, letting them know about upcoming sales and keeping them in the loop about events and new products at your store will remind them they’re valued customers.

About Renee Changnon

Renee Changnon is the retail outreach coordinator for NRHA. She meets with retailers in their stores and at industry events and introduces them to the services NRHA provides. Renee previously worked as a member of the NRHA communications team. She earned a degree in visual journalism from Illinois State University, where she served as the features editor for the school newspaper. After college, she implemented marketing and promotions initiatives at Jimmy John’s franchise locations across the country. She enjoys exploring books with her book club, Netflix marathons and hosting goat yoga at her apartment complex. Renee Changnon 317-275-9442 rchangnon@nrha.org

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