Businesses thrive on making sales, and the quality of the sales representatives matter enormously. What makes a salesperson great? First and foremost, the training. But there are also characteristics and strategies that matter too. If you’re making a career in auto sales, what can you do to improve the quality of your work, improve performance, sell more cars, and how can you be the great auto sales professional that you wish to be? What skill-set is required?
Since sales professionals are the face of an organization, they have the responsibility of making the brand popular and promoting the products to customers.
The qualities that turn a salesperson into a highly successful and effective sales professional, include:
1. A good listener
Listening to you customers is a great way to build rapport with your customers. Even better, proving to them that you were listening and totally understood them and their needs, is priceless.
Customers these days don’t need, nor appreciate an aggressive, fast-talking salesperson who is forcing them to buy a car and hurry up and not waste time. What they expect is empathy, understanding, and support.
It is your job to convey all these, and while conversational skills are crucial to a car salesperson’s job, knowing when to listen is perhaps even more important and this makes you stand out and become a great auto sales professional over time.
Nobody wants to be pushed into making a decision. After purchasing a house, car buying is the most challenging and emotionally exhausting process.
Instead of overwhelming customers to rush and make a decision, or offering a long list of features and vehicle information, or detailed financing options and time-sensitive deals – you should instead focus on making the customer comfortable.
It’s important to create an atmosphere of calmness and even fun (if you can), so that you can have a relaxing and open discussion on what they want, what experiences they had with the previous car purchase, and what they are really hoping to achieve with this car purchase.
A great sales professional focuses on making customers feel comfortable and, more importantly, heard. This is not easy. You probably have a few deals that you are working on in the back of your mind, you get phone calls and interruptions, and still you have to focus on the customers’ wants and needs.
Listening is the simplest and yet most effective way to build rapport and credibility with potential customers. Listen as intently as possible to make sure you understand the customer and their decision-making criteria.
The entire auto sales process in a dealership, even before a customer even walks into the showroom, starts from planning and goal-setting. Sales is not about just meeting a customer, closing deals, and focusing on the next sale. It depends on understanding performance, constant quality improvement, and measuring success based on a set of goals.
A great auto sales professional monitors their sales performance but even more so, focuses on their progress based on a set of goals to strive to perform better and more effectively, each time.
Greatness comes from pushing yourself to perform more effectively and become better at every aspect of what you do. A general standard goal of doing certain number of cars sales per month just won’t do it. You will need to improve everything you do, and stretch your goals to motivate you to analyze your performance, set yourself higher aspirational goals each time, and exceed your expectations. It is about constantly setting goals and using quality improvement to excel at what you do.
3. Know your customers’ researching tools
This is really about being tech savvy and knowing what tools (on the Internet) your customers use to do their research. You need to know where your customers get their information from. What sources do they rely on? Then you can relate and communicate at the level they are comfortable with.
Let’s face it. Thanks to the Internet and countless number of consumer report websites and car ads and promotions on YouTube or other social networks, today’s car buyers have a near-limitless amount of information and comparison websites at their fingertips, about car models, features, colors, and so much more.
Historically, auto sales professionals were the primary point of contact for consumers looking to get information about a car or a truck, but in many cases, this is no longer the norm.
Customers’ access to so much information about brands, pricing, and options today makes it necessary to offer transparency they now expect from dealership websites. A great car salesperson knows how important this is and expects potential buyers to have researched makes and models, sticker prices and features.
For most car salespeople, especially the older ones, adapting to this new car sales landscape has been difficult and they have been resistant to it. This is where you can shine.
Now you have a chance to exploit this shopping transformation and use of digital tools for car shopping and perform as a great auto sales professional in this shifting marketplace.
4. Interpersonal and communication skills
Throughout ages, all sales people had to be good communicators and have an approachable and friendly personality. For the last 50 years or so, as personal interaction with car buyers became a dominant trend in the car retail industry, car salespeople relied on their interpersonal skills to help customers with selecting the best car for their needs and their budget.
But today, there are many websites offering independent research for consumers. Great auto sales professionals now use such studies to help car buyers while simultaneously build trust with car buyers and help them all the way to the end of the purchase.
In any sales and negotiation process, smart sales reps use closing strategies to help car buyers think through the options and features often influenced by pricing differences. This is normal and expected.
Here interpersonal and communication skills are very much essential as car salespeople need to focus on creating sales processes that appeal to car buyers on a more personal level, addressing their needs which consumer reports or website offering comparisons between car model, cannot.
Great auto sales professionals know that a pool of diverse range of car buyers with different wants, needs and expectations are looking for genuine help who can communicate effectively while listening and understanding the customer’s body language and tone. These interactions can, and often do, reveal the car buyers’ likelihood of being happy and accepting the deal.
Maintaining eye contact is also important, as it can help a sales professional demonstrate that they’re listening intently and engaged with the conversation.
Being this good communicator depends on a sales professional’s patience, customer-centric attitude, displaying sense of commitment, reliability, flexibility, transparency, and due diligence.
5. Knowledgeable and passionate about the auto industry
As mentioned above, consumer sites that specialize on vehicle information and pricing is widely available to car buyers but there are many questions that cannot be addressed through websites offering technical comparisons between vehicles.
While taking a test drive and going through the decision making process to buy a car, buyers look to sales professionals who can discuss application of these technical comparisons as it relates to car buyers, during in-person conversations.
Auto sales training and applicable real-life comparisons between vehicles as it relates to users is far more significant than just reading out a list of specifications and memorizing car features.
Offering clear and accurate answers filled with knowledgeable and relevant information is critical and potential car buyers regard this as a very valuable insight offered by a sales profession. This is how you build credibility.
Training is the key, as work experience alone cannot always provide the insightful answers to car buyers’ questions. But training and thoughtful industry research can provide the knowledge or F&I expertise needed to address complex car buyers’ questions.
Great auto salespeople spend enough time to know the products, the industry, F&I issues, as well as customer needs and expectations. This will also include options, features, usage, and benefits these provide to car buyers.
Here’s a simple list of what to focus on with regards to industry knowledge:
– Learn and know the unique selling points of your cars and options
– Learn and understand competitive comparisons and options as they relate to customers
– Learn how you can help car buyers understand the context of the comparisons
– Learn and discuss with car buyers the state of technological transformation and car market
– Learn and engage car buyers with what is popular and commercially viable to help them decide
– Learn and discuss safety features, investment issues, insurance issues, and cost of ownership
Great sales representatives invest in knowledge as this empowers them to become a very successful salesperson using insight into the customer needs and expectations to help car buyers purchase what they need quickly, as time is a valuable resource to most car buyers. They want to be done with their purchase as reasonably quickly as possible.
Finally, great auto sales professionals aren’t born – they’re made. Yes, that is indeed the case.
You need to have some essential personality traits such as positivity, energy, optimism, and persistence. But even these can be acquired and worked on. One can certainly build good habits in any profession.
What you cannot be without, is the desire to be the best at what you do. This will entice you to constantly learn, adapt, improve, and grow.
If you are already a great car sales professional and want to grow and become an F&I Manager for a car dealership, Auto Dealer Institute can help. We provide Auto F&I Manager Training courses and we are the only licensed, independent F&I Training center in US with more than 32 years of experience. We help you with job placement as well as ensuring that our comprehensive sales training courses can provide you with what you need to learn to grow and adapt in a rapidly changing marketplace.