Control The Process and Make The Sale
Control The Process and Make The Sale

I get this question a lot from salespeople, “Why do you say we have to be in control if people already know what they want?”

Because 86% don’t buy what they said they wanted and too often, salespeople assume their prospects won’t slow down and let them do their job just because they come on the lot and say, “We know we want a white X-40 SUV with 3rd row seating – do you have one and how much is it?”

Since selling is a process, if you’re going to sell a lot of cars and make a lot of money, then you’re going to have to learn how to control every step of the process, which includes slowing things down and learning how to direct the conversation.

Don’t misunderstand me though, ‘control’ isn’t a power struggle and you aren’t trying to win an argument or push them to the sale. I just mean keeping the sale and the conversation on track and headed in the right direction.

This subject takes up a lot of discussion in our classes, but here are a couple of quick tips:

  1. Be prepared! “winging it” doesn’t work well in sales. You don’t have time to think about what to say or do next. Each response to a question or to an objection has to be a reflex response you develop through a ton of practice.
  2. Give them what they want! Saying “No!” or stalling a customer is bad luck for the sale.
Example: They ask you about trade value or best pricing up-front. Don’t say, “We have to find the exact car first.” And don’t head inside to do a write up. Instead say, “Not a problem, I’ll get that for you right away, my manager should be through in just a few minutes, so let’s go ahead and take the one you like best for a quick spin and by the time we get back, he should be ready for us – who wants to drive first Betty, you or Bob?”
  • Did you agree to do what they asked? Absolutely.
  • Did you explain why you couldn’t do it immediately? Yes.
  • Did you offer a logical plan of action until you could get price or trade information for them? Yes.
  • Are they upset? No.
  • Did you regain control? Yes.
  • Are they now focused on pricing or the car? The car.

The person asking the questions controls the conversation. If it’s them asking questions, they’re in control. If it’s you, you’re in control. Learn the process to bypass price and other pricing questions and learn how to steer the conversation to another topic by asking the right questions.

Don’t Lose Control with Interruptions!

You’re trying to explain to a customer why they should spend $37,000 for a vehicle and in the middle of your presentation you say, “Excuse me for a second, I have a phone call.”

If you take that call, what happens to the like, interest and desire you were building? Did it just increase or decrease? When their interest and desire drops, is that good luck or bad luck? Exactly – when you are distracted, you lose sales.

What happens when you’re trying to work three customers at the same time? Same thing – instead of splitting a deal with someone else, you’ll take forced shortcuts and usually lose two sales while you’re trying to make all three. I’m amazed at how many salespeople don’t catch on to the fact that half of something is better than all of nothing.

On my best Saturday morning in sales, I had my name on the board seven times and made two grand before noon. Yes, I split all but one of them, and six other salespeople got the benefit of me having seven people on the lot all at the same time. Sure, I could have tried to handle them all at once or had them come back and maybe I would have ended up selling half of them, but that could have been sales suicide. Unfortunately, some salespeople commit sales suicide day after day and never catch on. No distractions when you’re with a customer.

To Keep the Sale on Track – Pay Attention!

In class we talk about communication skills because they’re obviously critical in sales. So how do people communicate?

If you said we talk, you’d be correct. However, our words make up only 7% of our communication.

If you added how we talk, you’d be even more correct. Tone and inflection make up 38% of effective communication.

If you also added body language, you’d be right, because 55% of our communication is through our body language.

We communicate with our words, our tone and inflection and with our body language. It’s what you see and how people say the words that determine the real meaning of their communication. If you’re going to do much selling, you’re going to have to learn to communicate more effectively yourself, and learn how to hear and see what your customers really mean, regardless of what they’re saying.

To sell more, you need to focus 100% of your attention on your customers. You have to know exactly where you are in the sale, and through their words, tone, inflection and body language, you have to determine when to move forward, when to slow down, and when to close the sale.

To communicate more effectively with them, practice and improve your words, how you say them, and watch your body language as you’re talking to your customer.

Remember, you aren’t just watching and listening to them to know when to close. They’re also watching and listening to you to decide if they like you, trust you and feel comfortable enough to buy from you right now – today!

Help salespeople sell more with Joe Verde’s book, “Earn Over $100,000 Selling Cars – Every Year.” Go to to get a free PDF or order a free soft cover book.