To be successful at selling vehicles, you must be able to quickly understand the emotions churning inside your potential clients’ minds. Having empathy for your clients and their situations is critical. You have to become skillful at synchronizing what you say with a wide variety of client emotions. How well you do this makes a powerful impact on your income.
It’s sad but true, many people put off making vehicle decisions until they absolutely have to. They wait until their old vehicle is in such a state that it either isn’t going to last much longer or will cost them dearly in repairs. Perhaps they weren’t prepared to make a vehicle investment at this time, but for whatever reason, the need has become urgent.
In some cases, your potential clients may have been forced into talking with you by someone else (a spouse, a parent, a boss) who thinks they need a new vehicle more than the clients themselves do. You may work with people who are suffering pain from major upheavals that have taken place in their lives that have caused them to downsize from a vehicle they love to something more affordable. Whatever the situation is, you will have to adjust your demeanor, your words and how you present yourself and your inventory.
I teach selling skills. Yet, if I taught you all the strategies and all the words to say, and failed to teach you the importance of having empathy for your clients, I’d be doing you and them a disservice. To be successful in this business you must know a lot about how to sell and about your products. But, even more important, you must truly care about people, if you plan to make this business a lifelong career.
Start right now by asking yourself, "How do I feel about how they feel?" If your attitude is, "I couldn't care less," don't be surprised if they don’t care about doing business with you. You can’t fake concern. If you’re not truly empathetic to your clients’ needs, your attitude will show through and the clients will pick up on it. They may not even be consciously aware of it, but something will tell them you’re in it for the money and they’ll raise walls of sales resistance about making a decision today.
If I were talking with a wife and husband who are having their first child, I'd be a little more concerned with relating to her than him. Even though he’ll be excited about the future and have vehicle safety concerns, she’ll be more likely (as mothers are) to be concerned about the ease of getting the child in and out of the vehicle…whether or not there’s room for a stroller and the other paraphernalia that is transported with small children. Both may be very concerned with economy because we all know that babies are expensive.
Now let's look at another situation. Perhaps your potential clients were recently in a situation where their vehicle broke down and caused them to miss out on a road trip or job interview. Now, they’re talking with you to see that it doesn’t happen again. With these folks, focus on the security that a reliable vehicle can provide. One or both of them might be upset or angry about being in this situation. You’ll have to tread lightly with this couple until you get them focused on the solution rather than the problem.
The key to success in any selling situation is to leave your opinions, your personal situation, your history outside the door, unless you have faced a similar situation where you can speak from the heart. Start asking questions as soon as you establish rapport so you can understand why they are talking with you. What are they thinking? What do they think they need versus what your experience tells you they need? Why do they think that? There's an underlying reason that they’re ready and willing to talk with you right now. Until you know that reason, you can't start feeling their feelings and relating to them properly in order to serve their needs.
Although some situations are touchy to work with, they're more likely to give you the opportunity to render great service to someone who really needs it. You're working with people who make buying decisions emotionally, not logically. You must first work with their emotions, then help them see the logic in following the plan you recommend.
As an automotive professional, you have more than a job; you have an absolute obligation to do everything in your power to feel like your clients feel and respond to their feelings appropriately.