In spite of the various shelter in place orders by the states, most of our dealers are finding their year is either just slightly off of their projections or on target with what they were hoping for. While that is good news for the industry, no one knows exactly what the late spring and early summer might bring. That’s why every customer that comes into your dealership is more valuable than ever. As I work with dealers’ salespeople to help them improve their closing ratio, I encourage them to make sure they are focused on sales basics and not making the common mistakes that far too many salespeople make every time they interact with a potential buyer. Here are the four common mistakes to avoid in order to close the sale.
#1 – The first mistake I find that many salespeople struggle with is just asking for the order. There is nothing more frustrating to me than to listen to a salesperson who has done a great job of qualifying, did a perfect walk around on a piece of equipment, has a buyer who is asking the right questions, and then the salesperson never asks the buyer to buy. Far too many salespeople fail at selling because they just don’t ask for the order.
#2 – The second mistake I find is that if the salesperson does ask for the business, rather than pausing and waiting until the potential buyer responds, the salesperson gets nervous with the silence and starts talking again. It’s important to understand that, in sales, when a closing question is asked, the first person who talks is the one that ends up with the equipment. If the potential buyer talks first, they will, in most cases, end up buying. On the other hand, if the salesperson can’t stand the momentary silence and starts talking, they will end up with the equipment themselves. In sales the rule is simple. Ask the closing question, and then shut up!
#3 – When it comes to mistakes, number three destroys a lot of sales. The mistake is the salesperson talking too much instead of asking questions and getting the customer talking. One of the challenges with most manufacturer training is that there is a lot of focus on product knowledge and very little on actual selling skills. Now there is nothing wrong with knowing every aspect of what separates your equipment from your competitor’s, but the buyer is seldom interested in every feature and benefit your products have, just the 2 or 3 that they actually want, which a sales person would find out if they are doing a good job during the Discovery/Qualification process. While product knowledge is important, it’s just as important to know when to stop and listen to what your potential buyer is saying.
#4 – As I round out the top four common mistakes, I find that far too many salespeople prejudge what a potential buyer might be able to afford. Growing up on a farm, I learned that many of the farmers who drove old trucks and cars were some of the wealthiest farmers in the area. And those that bought a new truck every couple of years owed everything to the bank. While on the outside they looked successful, the truth was they were not. Don’t prejudge what a person can buy or afford. Far too many salespeople in dealerships try to determine a potential buyer’s ability and willingness to purchase by making unfounded assumptions from the moment they meet the prospect. The only way you will know what a person wants to buy and what they can afford is to walk them through your discovery process and from there you can determine what will be best for them.
All professionals are constantly working on improving their skills, a true sales professional is no different. Focus on eliminating these four common mistakes and watch your sales explode.