Calling All Car Salespeople: My Two Cents On Bumping Up Your Sales Game

Image of Bowl Full of CarsWhat comes to mind when you hear or read  “car salesman?”

Do you get creeped out?

Did you click the Back button on your browser (you probably didn’t read this line if you did).

Are you a car salesperson?

Well, whatever the case: relax. This isn’t an article bashing car salespeople or their industry.

I won’t even bore you with tales of my stint in the auto sales industry moons ago.

This serves as my two pennies about how to make the entire experience a touch more palatable. It’s more of a focus on bumping up the car salesman’s game. So I went car shopping recently and want to share my thoughts on the experience the way any online marketer would: through an article :)

Here we go…

Improving the overall sales experience

1. Follow-up. When a customer tells you exactly what they’re looking for, and you don’t have it, jot down their contact information. Then pick up the phone to call or email them like you said you would when the vehicle comes in (a recent sales rep did this right for me – go you, John).

2. If a customer tells you exactly what they want – give it to them. Give it your all and get your finance guy to work wonders. Deliver the vehicle your client wants; not the vehicle you want to sell them.

3. Split a commission to make the sale. Find another dealer who has the perfect car for your client and call them up to make buddies with a rep and hammer out a deal. This is in the event you can’t source what they want within your dealership(s).

4. Let buyers get to know you. Ask management if you can shoot video reviews of the cars. You be the star. Romance the camera. Talk to us like we’re friends.

Just get me past the creepy, icky feeling that I’m going to be met by some shifty sales dude relying heavily on sensationalism and phantom discounts.

5. Host a podcast on a blog you create. Oh, your boss says he won’t let you film out on the blacktop? Fine. Go personal with your branding and invite people to get to know you as a professional. You’ll just so happen to mention you sell cars at So-and-So Dealership.

6. Start a blog, use Twitter and create a Facebook profile to talk about your industry; talk about the vehicle brand(s) you represent; share why you’re the only salesperson I should consult.

Show me pictures on those social outposts. Use sexy language. Invite your previous buyers to link up with you to openly share their love of the vehicle you sold them. You’ve built up enough trust to collect testimonials, haven’t you?

7. Condense the finer points of your car knowledge into a guide. Give it away on your site (use an email opt-in). Have little brochures of it printed for handouts. By showing people you’re helpful, at zero cost or commitment, you’re already in sales stealth mode.

8. BE OPEN AND HONEST.  Show people you’re an open person online anywhere you can connect with them. Let them see you’re their new-car-hero not some commission shark.

9. Ask politely for referrals.  If the buyer tells you they can’t think of anyone simply ask, “C’mon, Bob and Mary. You’re telling me there’s nobody you’d love to text right now to share the news about your car?

10. Contact previous buyers. Ask them if they’re happy with their purchase. Find out if they aren’t. Ask why and then work hard to solve their problems and ease their pains. Be their hero.

Another nice touch? Send your buyers a holiday or birthday card with a personal, hand-written note. Joe did it and it earned himself a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Your input

What has your experience been with the car sales (or purchase) industry?

What points can you add to the list above to make it complete? I’d love to read your thoughts on this in the comments.

Photo: koyaanisgatsi

4 Responses to Calling All Car Salespeople: My Two Cents On Bumping Up Your Sales Game
  1. Sarah Russell
    August 31, 2011 | 10:43 am

    My last car buying experience was as a 21 year old woman shopping at discount car lots – and the experience went *exactly* how you would have expected.

    Nevermind that I had come in with stacks of research in hand about the kind of car I wanted or that I had prepped extensively on how to negotiate effectively in the face of car sales tricks, the clear message I got was, “Look at this cute girl thinking she knows something about business… Why isn’t she home in the kitchen?!”

    So basically, any car dealer who treats women with respect and doesn’t try to manipulate people (negotiating is one thing, manipulative sales tricks are another!) would have my business in a heart beat! :)

    • Jon
      September 11, 2011 | 8:54 am

      Exactly how I would have expected? – sooo sorry :) It’s sad how we have to wish for a sales rep who isn’t manipulative or condescending. They’d benefit more from educating the buyer or at least listening twice as much as they pitch. Well, you’re a stronger person for your experience now anyway!

  2. Murray Lunn
    September 1, 2011 | 11:21 am

    I’ve had the unfortunate experience of buying multiple used cars to have them die just months after leaving the lot – my experience with car salespeople has been utterly shocking to say the least.

    If I could ask for anything it’s true honesty but I doubt I’m going to get it half the time.

    Car salespeople are always holding back and I can tell it because their body language is easy to read. Unfortunately, they hold a power position especially if you need a car immediately because of work – it’s annoying because you’ve realized you’ve lost the advantage in the ‘fight’ or sales.

    I just wish car salespeople would give a better report on the quality of the car such as what things they needed to do in order to get it up and running after purchasing it. Carfax in a lot of ways but that can only go so far because if it’s been traded around a lot.

    • Jon
      September 11, 2011 | 8:56 am

      Oh man the death of a car just months after purchase is such a bite in the ass. The bad habits most of us see practiced on the car lot are passed down from managers/trainers to front line sales reps. It’s sad. The auto sales industry needs a fresh perspective and overall clean-up. Integration with inbound marketing online, blogs, and a turn away from the “us vs. them” mentality make a good start.

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