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Assuming The Sale – My Favorite Close

July 1, 2011
It is easy to make our lives difficult. When we get a customer, we take them through the sales process like every other customer, whatever steps that might include. We have years of experience doing this, so we know what kind of pitfalls we could run into in almost every situation. The pitfall we run into most is the one that brings up all those pitfalls we are trying to avoid.
Here are a couple of examples of what I mean.
Pitfall 1: “Phone call 5-liner”
We take an incoming sales call. The customer tells us they saw a car online that they are interested in and wants to know if you still have it. We tell them that we have that one plus a few more just like it. So far, so good. Then some salepeople ask them if it is OK if we get them pre-approved on it using a little basic info and we go for a “5-liner” over the phone. Credit was not an issue until it was brought up over the phone by the sales person. It is more difficult to get to the next step unless you simply take that next step.   Set the appointment. You’ll have plenty of time to find out if they qualify when they are at the store.
Pitfall 2: “Trade-in Value”
OK, so we have our customer in front of us. They have selected a vehicle that will work for them. We know, from our experience that the customer is not going to be happy with the offer we are going to give them on their trade-in. So, before going to the desk, we ask them what they want for their trade. They respond with “$150,000.” We just stepped into the pitfall. Does it really matter what the customer was hoping for? The value is the value. Get the appraisal, present the numbers and move forward with the process until the customer stops you.
I still remember as a rookie salesperson, presenting numbers on a new 1991 Isuzu Rodeo at full MSRP minus the trade (with $500 room from the used car manager) plus tax, title, license, etc. and waiting for the customer’s response to the price. I stared at the customer. He stared at me. Remembering that my manager told me “The first one to open their mouth loses.” I didn’t say a word. The minute that passed felt like 10 minutes before the customer finally said, “OK?” He was waiting for me to complete the order. I was waiting for him to negotiate. That is the day I learned to assume the sale and complete the order.
Each step to the sale can have pitfalls. It is important for us to address the objections our customers present to us. It is even more important that we NOT raise objections that don’t exist with our customers simply because we have seen them come up with other customers. Always assume things are ok and move forward with your process until the customer stops you. When they do, address their concerns and keep moving. Don’t talk yourself out of a deal.
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