What do people think, in general, about the automotive industry and the agents that service that industry — trustworthy or not trustworthy?
As agents and consultants, it is important that we understand the newest technique for building trust, in a “not-so-well-trusted” automotive industry. This technique addresses how clients and prospects process information in their head, how they learn and how they buy our F&I services. It also applies to how our teammates learn and how they process information.
A little-known secret for agents to increase F&I numbers and customer satisfaction is to communicate more effectively, thus building trust faster and adjusting to your clients and prospects ears, eyes, and feelings.
Knowing whether your client or teammate relates to the world with pictures in their head (visual), or through words they hear and say to themselves or out loud (auditory), or a combination of both visual and auditory that causes an emotion, feeling or gut response (kinesthetic) — helps you service and sell your clients and teammates in their preferred language and learning style.
Note that this is how people “prefer” to learn and how they prefer to buy! As you change your communication style to match with a person’s style of learning (or buying), you manage that person better and communicate more effectively. Many F&I agents still take a TO in the dealership and close deals — most of us do all the time — and this technique helps you sell our clients guests and manage our own teammates.
You Don’t Sell Products Or Services. You Teach People How To Buy Them.
Here’s a great exercise: Talk to three people you know. Ask them a question that forces them to ponder their answer for a second or two before speaking. Take note of where their eyes go before they respond.
- 35% of the population relates to their world visually through images in their mind. They will divert their gaze to their upper left as they think and recall the information in their mind.
- 25% of the population processes their world through words and hearing. They keep their eyes level when pondering something while diverting them to the left or right.
- 40% use both visual and auditory cues — and rely on their gut feeling. Their eyes will go down as they search their mind for the answer to a question.
Everyone uses all three all the time. But most people have a tendency to use the one that is the most comfortable for them — especially during an unexpected change to a new F&I agency supplying their products and services. It is at that moment during the sales cycle that agents and agency owners need to be sensitive to the learning style that the current client or prospect uses the most.
You might recognize this strategy as neurolinguistic programming, also known as NLP: “Neuro” is the brain. “Linguistic” is speech. “Programming” is input and output — how we learn and how we express ourselves to others. It is the learning part that is important because it is also how we buy and how we like to be managed.
As we recognize how others receive and process information, we better match our communication style to theirs. This results in building trust faster, managing our current accounts and prospects more effectively and increasing agency profits.
Now, how does that happen? Simple! People like to do business with people they like and trust — and NLP builds trust faster.
Speak Your Client’s Language.
People relate to their world visually (pictures), auditorily (listening to sounds and speaking words) or kinesthetically (feelings and emotions).
As we’re speaking our client’s language, we put them at ease faster, build trust more rapidly, and in general have clearer communications with them. We understand them better and they in turn understand us. Switch your communication to match how others learn and buy and, bang! You are in their head.
Using NLP as an agent helps you increase your rapport with a person in one-third the time. Rapport equals trust.
Visual people, as they talk, will make “see” statements:
- “I see what you’re saying.”
- “I’d like to show you the menu.”
- “Look at this GAP brochure.”
- “I saw how that works.”
Auditory learners will make “hear” statements:
- “I hear what you’re saying.”
- “I’d like to hear more about that.”
- “Let me ask you a question and you can tell what the warranty covers.”
- “Other guests tell me it is the best coverage, they call and say thank you when wheels are covered.”
Kinesthetic learners make “touch” statements:
- “I feel that way too.”
- “Can I get a brochure?”
- “I’d like to get a better handle on what that covers.”
- “I’ll train your F&I staff giving you a progress report.”
As an agent, be sure to match your communication style with the people you communicate with. For example, you sit down with a new dealer prospect. If he or she says, “I’d like to talk about your margins,” the use of the word “talk” signals an auditory learner.
An efficient response to this type of auditory guest would be, “Great, let’s sit down and talk about it for a few minutes. I’d be glad to explain how the margins work. People have been saying the greatest things about these products. You’ll love what I have to say.”
The “appearance” of your clients and prospects is another cue. Being that visual and kinesthetic learners focus on visual elements, they tend to present themselves as more “buttoned down” and dress sharper with more attention to visual details, being that they spend more time and effort on their dress and how they visually appear to others. Auditory guests may not be at all concerned about their physical grooming.
Whichever type of learner sits before you, your goal is to adjust your style of communication to match with the person you’re communicating with. As your clients and prospects tend to think in their natural mode, match their style with an adapted technique — they respond stronger and quicker, you’ll gain their trust faster, and you will communicate with them with more intent and meaning.
Finally, by practicing NLP with your company teammates you’ll hear and see your way toward your ultimate goal, which is to build trust faster. As they continue using your F&I agency products and services, that trust should lead to great referrals.
You do not have to get it exactly right. Remember, most people are a mix of at least two of the three strengths we discussed. So just raise your awareness of how they talk to you, and chances are good you’ll know how to make others feel understood and valued.
It is easy to discover why they’ll always see you as a professional, speak highly of you, and feel comfortable doing business with you and your F&I agency.
As CEO of Paul Webb Training LLC, Artison has provided training and consulting to leading private and publicly owned corporations.