Caring is the act of displaying kindness and concern for others. It's also an action that is missing in far too many sales environments. The goal of anyone selling is to get something sold. The question, however, is how do we reach that goal?
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people, than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”— Dale Carnegie
If our focus is on the money, then the needs of the customer become secondary. Caring more about the customer's wants and needs is the key to better results that also lead to more loyal customers.
Be Genuine and Be a Great Listener
Genuine is the keyword. Being honest means that you are curious about what challenges or issues buying this new vehicle will pose to your customer. Many times, the customer is not even aware of the challenges. The way to uncover these is to ask questions that engage the customer and move them to talk and describe how they will use it and how it fits into their lifestyle. The more the customer is talking, the more authentic you are perceived. The customer will know immediately by your response if you have been listening, and more importantly, whether you are understanding them. When a customer feels their viewpoint has been heard and understood, it provides a level of trust that is unmatched by any other effort. Trust leads to more profits than techniques, tricks, or tension ever can.
Tell a Story
Telling a story about a past customer's “caring” experience transports your customer into the situation without selling them. The benefits the last customer experienced does the selling for you. Positive experiences cause the customer to feel that this could indeed happen to them. Selling becomes secondary, and experiencing becomes primary. Introducing and wrapping up the story by intentionally using the word “care” makes this a powerful tool to help customers. “This is an account of how we took care of a recent customer that had an unexpected issue. Our goal is to take great care of you today and the entire time you own this vehicle. We don't want you to have a great buying experience; we want you to have a great ownership experience.”
Personalize Your Efforts
You can only personalize your actions after you have learned a lot from your customer. That demands they do most of the talking, while you use strategic questions and provide a listening ear. Responding after you receive a “no” to your product with “that surprises me... especially in your situation” will make them curious as to why you think that. The amount and specifics of the information you share next will make all the difference in the world. If you provide a clear reminder of the exposure to expense and risk their situation unveiled, they know they have been heard and understood. And they are glad to listen to what your answers are in regard to these risks.
Genuinely caring about your customer is the most effective manner to help more customers buy the products they need. It will lead to more consistent selling and will lower any second-guessing that we call chargebacks. It's the way we want to be “sold” when we are buying and our customers’ preferred method. Caring is a great closer.
Rick McCormick is the national account development manager for Reahard & Associates, which provides customized F&I training for dealerships throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has more than 20 years of auto retail and finance experience.