The Need for Automotive Sales Presentations
Why we sell
Making a presentation is why most of us are in the business of selling. We love to talk, don’t we? So sometimes we load up on product knowledge, only to deliver it in the form of a data dump, and customers may be overwhelmed. We also tend to focus solely on the car. But there is more to selling than just the product.
Relationship between Price and Value
Studies indicate that until a customer perceives that the value of a product or service is equal to, or exceeds the price, they will not buy.
Unfortunately, most dealerships work to reduce the price during negotiations in order to achieve the proper relationship between price and value. This process not on reduces your chances of selling a car; it also reduces your ability to retain gross profit! Don’t believe it?
Research indicates that 38% of the time sales consultants invite negotiations by either implying that the “sticker” is just a starting point, or they flat out offer a discount before they’re even asked. What this says about the way they think is that the value of what they are offering isn’t worth the price.
The Paradigm Shift – A New Point of View
Almost every manufacturer is building a fairly decent product these days. When there isn’t much difference between your products and that of the next dealership, you’d better be offering more value in other areas. Today’s dealerships need to get away from focusing solely on product and more on the value in other areas.
The Four Value Builders
We teach salespeople to focus on four key value building components – You, The Dealership, the Manufacturer and the Product. According to research, today’s customer’s needs are best addressed by focusing our selling efforts along the following strategic lines:
- 40% Building trust
- 30% Identifying needs
- 20% Presenting solutions
- 10% Confirming and closing
Slow Down to Speed Up
Traditional car salesmen spend their time with the customer as follows:
- Greeting and qualifying- 10 minutes
- Presenting and demonstration- 40 minutes
- Negotiating and closing – 60 – 90 minutes
The research found that the reason negotiations take so long is because salespeople attempted to put customers into vehicles that didn’t meet their needs.
The new approach to selling is a bit different:
- Greeting and fact-finding – 30 – 40 minutes
- Presenting and demonstration – 40 – 50 minutes
- Negotiating and closing – 30 – 40 minutes
By spending more time fact-finding early in the process, you’re able to identify more of what the customer wants and that helps you build value. Since value is increased, the need to negotiate price is reduced, thus reducing the time it takes to close the deal.
You are why people buy
Like it or not, the single biggest factor that leads to a sale is the relationship the customer has with you. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin, they estimate that 50% of all sales are made due to feelings of friendship. And according to Harry Beckwith in “Selling the Invisible”, customers are more interested in relationships than features.
Number one litmus test
A litmus test is also called “the acid test”. The term is often used to describe whether or not a person actually meets the criteria needed for a particular situation. And when it comes to sales, there is one acid test question that must be answered: “Do you like people?”
If you can’t answer this question with a resounding “Yes”, do everyone a favor and get out of sales. You’ll save yourself – and a lot of other people – from misery and grief. Not to mention a bunch of lost money.
Making the most of it
There are a number of things you can do to build rapport with customers. These include:
- Dressing appropriately
- Checking your attitude before you greet people or answer the phone
- Being enthusiastic and having fun
- Listening 80% of the time, talking 20% of the time
- Remaining calm, helpful and pleasant under all circumstances
- Focusing on the customer’s needs before your needs
Presenting Your Dealership
About your dealer
As bad a reputation as the car business has, most dealers founded their business on the basis of customer service and satisfaction. Very few dealers became successful enough to become owner-operators by swindling all their customers. Many of these dealers have great stories behind their success and those stories need to be told.
History of the dealership
Whether your dealership has been around a long time or not, you need to tell about their history. Stories are great value builders and people love to hear a good story. Here’s an example:
“John Campbell is one of the nation’s first “one price” auto dealers. He believes that customer’s really don’t like the push-pull of negotiating so he created value pricing at each of his Ford, Mazda, and Nissan stores. Customers appreciate the honest approach to pricing and this led to John becoming one of the first Saturn retailers to be awarded a franchise. That’s why our commitment is to provide our customers with honest and upfront information!”
A Tour of the Facility
Touring the dealership is a tremendous value builder. It provides the customer with an opportunity to get to know more about your company and your services. If you’re going to set up the tour correctly, you need to ask the right question at the Greeting. After the initial exchange, be sure to ask, “Is this your first visit to our dealership?” This will help set up the reason for the tour.
Transition – Once you’ve confirmed that this is their first visit, invite them on the tour by saying (this one or your own words): “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the buying experience usually only takes a few hours, but owning the vehicle takes years. And the people that take care of you in the years ahead can make all the difference in the world. So I’d like to show you around so you can get to know a little more about our dealership and our people before we begin looking at cars. Is that okay with you?”
Tour Stops – Here are the places and people you should see while on the tour:
- Service department – Manager and/or advisors
- Sales office – Sales Manager
- Reception – The key contact person in your dealership
- Customer lounge – focus on any refreshments or conveniences
- Children’s area – If you have one, be sure to show it off
- Business area – for working while at the dealership
- Other key areas specific to your dealership
The Fact-Finding Connection
During fact-finding, you may find that one of the customer’s key motivators has something to do with Reliability. Upon further investigation, you find that they were left stranded during a breakdown and they had significant challenges with the service department where they purchased their last vehicle.
If the customer indicated this was the most important motivator to purchasing their next car, you don’t want to move from fact-finding to a vehicle presentation. Instead, you want to explain Road Side Assistance programs, and then introduce them to the service department.
The vehicle is only part of the sales equation. By ignoring the benefits of the dealership’s service department, you’d be leaving important value components out of the process, and create a difficult negotiating environment later on.
Presenting the Manufacturer – Brand Image
Before a customer ever walks on the lot, they have a preconceived idea of what your company is all about because of the way the manufacturer advertises. Some of the slogans they hear include:
- Quality is job 1
- The Ultimate Driving Machine
- A Different Kind of Company
It’s important that you capitalize on your manufacturers brand image and continue to build on that when customers arrive at your dealership.
Most companies have something unique about their products. Mitsubishi has liquid-filled engine mounts, move have dent-free side panels, and Mazda had and is reintroducing the rotary engine. Be sure to present unique features and product awards that set your manufacturer apart from all the others.
Warranty and Special Services
The warranty is an important consideration in purchasing a vehicle. How the company intends to stand behind the quality of their product can make or break a deal. Consider the fact that Hyundai’s product reputation was so tainted in the ’90s that they had to provide their customers with a 100,000-mile warranty. That investment alone has significantly turned their fortunes around.
And don’t forget to let customers know if the manufacturer provides roadside assistance, travel assistance, or loaner programs. These little extras add tremendous value to the overall product you are presenting.
Presenting Your Product
Personalize your presentation
Presenting the vehicle correctly requires matching features and benefits to specific wants and needs defined by the customer during fact-finding.
Too often salespeople follow the traditional approach of a 5 or 6 point walk- around without connecting to what the customer said was important.
The first key element of a personalized Vehicle Presentation is to present the most important feature first. Next, you want to involve the customer by having them touch the seats or move and adjust things like the radio. This helps them take mental ownership.
Use Feature, Function, and Benefit
Next, be sure to use Feature, Function, and Benefit when making your presentation. The Feature is simply what the component is. The Function explains what the feature does, and the Benefit ties the product to a specific need addressed by the customer during fact-finding.
Tie the Customer Down
Here’s another key element: We call it the tie-down! Tie-downs are used to enhance the customer’s connection to the vehicle by tagging the customer’s comments with a short and simple phrase.
Customer: I really like this leather Salesperson: It’s nice, isn’t it?
Once you’ve presented a feature, be sure to confirm that the feature you presented will meet your customer’s needs by asking a confirming question like, “Does this meet your needs for comfort?”