Building a Customer Profile

Knowledge is Power

But that knowledge can also corrupt your attitude if you ask the wrong questions.
Some questions are better off NOT asked.

Here is a list of questions that you should NEVER ask during the profile building step.

  • How much can you put down?
  • How much can you pay per month?
  • How is your credit score?
  • How much do you owe on your car?

Asking these questions is inviting your customer to LIE to you. Asking these questions will only shortcut the process. Short-cut your process and you will shortcut your paycheck. You are better off with a positive attitude and no information than with a negative attitude and all the information.

What do we want to accomplish during the Profile Building Step in the sales process?

  • Determine what they want to accomplish during their visit
  • Investigate the customer’s deal “hot buttons” (Price, Trade Value, Rate)
  • Determine what is important about their new vehicle (wants and needs)
  • Transition to an appraisal of their vehicle

Examples of Great Profile Building Questions

  • Are you driving a Toyota Now? What Year and Model?
  • How many miles do you have on it? How long have you owned it?
  • Did you buy it as New, Used, or a Demo?
  • What are your payments?
    If paid off, what were they when you had payments?
  • How did you get them so low?
  • Has it been worth your present payment?
  • What was the asking price when you bought it?
  • Would you purchase that car again?
  • What have you liked most about your present vehicle?
  • What have you liked least about your present vehicle?
  • What is most important to you in a vehicle?
  • Who else is this vehicle important to?
  • How have your needs changed since your last purchase?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish today?
  • What do you want your new vehicle to do that your present vehicle doesn’t?
  • Are you looking for:
    • something in a lighter, medium, or darker color?
      a 2 door, 4 doors, Truck or Van?
      any specific equipment like Leather, Sunroof, or Alloy Wheels?
    • Automatic or Manual Transmission?
  • What other vehicles are you considering at this time?

Effective Listening Skills

  • Maintain Eye Contact
  • Take Notes
  • Ask Probing Questions
  • Re-Phrase and Repeat
  • Recap what is important to the Buyer

Benefits of Building a Profile

  • Shows that you are interested in why the customer is here Builds Credibility
  • Establishes Trust
  • Decreases anxiety and tension
  • Allows you to tailor your presentation
  • Structure negotiations
  • Assists in selecting the right vehicle for the buyer
  • Allows you to control the process without confrontation
  • Shows that you are different in the market place
  • Creates Excitement and Urgency

Profile Goals

The Goals of the “Building a Profile” step in the process is to determine the “How, What, Where and Why” of the Car Deal. In the traditional sales process, this is the step where salespeople are taught to ask “Qualifying” Questions.

Qualifying Questions

The following questions are examples of traditional qualifying questions:

  • How much can you put down?
  • How much can you pay per month?
  • How much do you owe on your trade?
  • What is your credit like?

Those qualifying questions are confrontational and financial in nature and will put your buyer off and you will not get usable information.

In today’s world, the customer comes to a car dealership for one thing: Information. A buyer is looking for information about a vehicle or vehicles, information about pricing and payments, information about the dealership.

During the Profile Building step, you will want to talk to the customer about why they are at the dealership. Ask Friendly and information-based questions. These questions should be deliberate questions about the vehicle they are buying, the vehicle that they are selling, and about what is important to the buyer.

Effective Listening Skills

Use your effective listening skills to ensure that the buyer knows that you are genuinely interested in why he/she is there and to gain important information about their purchase.

Benefits of Building a Profile

People are creatures of habit and will repeat behaviors. If you can find out what made them buy their last vehicle, it will help you with the purchase of their next vehicle. By asking the questions that are on the preceding pages you are far more likely to gain credibility and earn the trust of the buyer.

You will notice that many of the questions include options. It is always easier for people to choose then decide. Always give the customer the ability to choose and you will get an answer more quickly and without confrontation. You will also be able to put yourself in a better selling situation, let’s take a look at a good example: Are you looking for something in a Lighter, Medium or Darker Color?

It is always easier for people to choose then decide. Always give the customer the ability to choose and you will get an answer more quickly and without confrontation.

If your customer is looking for a white car, he/she will usually answer “Lighter”. That will give you an opportunity to show the customer more vehicles… Silver, Beige even a Light Green or Blue might work. It opens up the opportunity for the customer to do more shopping on the lot and allow him/her to save face if you don’t have exactly what they are looking for (the white car).