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How To Be a Good Car Salesman

How To Be a Good Car Salesman

 

In this article, I’m going to answer the query “how to be a good salesman” by looking at the statistics of my store and figuring out what set the top salespeople apart. I have taken a deep dive, inspired by watching the salespeople at my dealership and combining my personal experiences. 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman involves taking a look at the numbers!

There are 14 new car salespeople at our store, and last month they sold between 3 and 16.5 cars. Based on our pay plan, if you sell more 6 or fewer cars, you will make about $250 per car after all bonuses (plus $1000 for showing up). If you sell 14 or more cars, that average is about $400 per car after all bonuses (plus $1000 for showing up). That means that we have salespeople that made ~$1750 last month and we had one salesperson that made ~$7600.

What accounts for the $6k~ of one month income disparity? What makes one salesperson better than another?

How To Be a Good Car Salesman: The Nine Keys

I spent some time this morning talking this over with my fellow managers, and we were able to shake out the nine keys on how to be a good car salesman. I’ll summarize the nine keys in this article and provide real-life examples. I hope to craft the automotive sales training here at Car Sales Story, and I believe that these nine keys of how to be a good car salesman should help you in your career!

How To Be a Good Car Salesman: Nine Keys... this is an example key picture!

Let’s jump in.

 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman #1: Deep Desire for Success

You have to want it. The chance that your dealership will always have a highly sought after automobile throughout your car is non-existent. You are going to be challenged while you are learning this career, mastering the skill set required for selling cars. No-one becomes an expert without a sincere desire for success.

How To Be a Good Car Salesman: Finding your deep desire for success, maybe it will be your family?

You don’t need to have that deep desire today, because you can find your reason. Here are some that I regularly hear:

Family/Kids:

A number of my top salesman friends have an instant answer when you ask what drives them. When asked they will always say “I do this for my children” or “I do this for my family.” That is a central meaning that they have decided to center their life around.

Financial Independence:

A few of the top salespeople I have met have a different answer when probed about their work ethic. When you cut through the noise, they will reveal that they work hard in pursuit of financial independence.

Something to Prove:

The least common reason I see is the salesperson who merely has something to prove. These ultra-competitive people hate losing, and will do anything to be the top of the pack. If that means reading a car sales blog to learn new skills, so be it. If they need to stay late on Sunday to close the last deal of the weekend, so be it. It’s about winning.

There are plenty more reasons that can feed a sincere desire for success. The key is not the specific reason, but instead the fact that you have an idea in the first place. 

Finding your Deep Desire for Success

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our question must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

In “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl, the author describes his experiences and the lessons he learned while imprisoned in a Nazi internment camp. Having a sincere desire to succeed will stem from a self-defined mission. We live in tune with how we define our life.

I’ve personally found meaning in the promise of financial independence, the benefit of having something to write about, and the opportunity to be charitable. What drives you?

As a side note, I encourage you to read the book quoted above. Stop for a moment to contemplate how blessed we are to face down the challenges of demanding customers in comparison.

 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman #2: Positive Perseverance

Automotive sales training often ignores the difficulty of staying positive in the face of defeat. Too often automotive sales training revolves around email cadence and customer service while ignoring the importance of real perseverance. 

how to be a good car salesman: finding your path

Staying positive in car sales can be difficult, but I have found some strategies for surviving the tough times.

Strategies for Staying Positive

Here are some that I’ve found!

Positive Friends at Work

They say that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. At your dealership, there are going to be a massive variety in personalities you can choose to spend time with. If you want to succeed, I suggest you find those who have a positive outlook on life. When you have a deal fall apart, seek their company. Make sure to be there for them on the flip side!

Exercise:

After a stressful Saturday, it’s easy to have a shitty Sunday. Instead, when you get home late on Saturday night, clear your head with some exercise. I like the Stronglifts 5×5 program, but find something that suits you.

Take a Walk:

Just finished with an annoying customer? Talk a walk around the block. The last you want to do is bring negative experience forward to your next customer!

 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman #3: Confidence

Why do salespeople avoid the phones? Why do salespeople let deals slide through the cracks?

Much of it boils down to a lack of confidence. 

how to be a good car salesman: finding your confidence

In sales, you need to be confident in your product. You need to think of your product as a solution that will solve the customer’s problem. You are here to show the customer how your product can fit their needs.

Ask for the Business!

Too often I see car salespeople making this basic mistake. They don’t ask for the business every time.

Remember that you are not a mind reader.  Your opinion of whether or not the customer is buying today is not the opinion that matters. What matters is what they think. You can not read their mind. You can not know their financial situation. You do not, and can not, know all the things that are driving their decisions.

Customers are often not logical. Many are fairly emotional. 

If the customers like you, you should feel comfortable asking for the business. You don’t have to be pushy.

“May I ask, and I hope that this doesn’t come across as pushy, is there anything we can do to make a deal today?”

That simple. Nice and soft, but to the point. 

If you avoid this question, you are doing yourself no favors!

Confidence Shortcut

One of the main confidence shortcuts when starting in car sales is product knowledge. Regardless of your experience in sales, if your product knowledge is top notch, you will have value to offer to the customer. When you see that you are providing value, your confidence will grow. When your confidence grows, you will begin to feel more comfortable asking for the business.

My second confidence shortcut is sales books. Sales books like “Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There” helped me tremendously when I was starting in car sales. Amazon has plenty of four and five-star sales books written by sales veterans. I suggest you get yourself a few and start learning.

 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman #4: Checklist Mindset

I’ve written extensively about the importance of process before, such as in my article on maximizing referrals. Having a “checklist mindest” and being “process-oriented” is crucial to looking put together and running your life like a business.

how to be a good car salesman includes using the checklists you make!

In car sales, you can’t skip steps. You need to follow the car sales steps to a sale.

Not only are there steps to the sale, but there are also steps for your follow up. I’ve seen so many salespeople put in fantastic effort when they work with customers, but then drop the ball on the follow-up, simply because they don’t have a process.

I can’t trust myself to have a perfect process without a checklist, so I’ve crafted these car sales follow up script. When a customer is leaving the dealership without buying, I always text their cell phone from my cell phone with this message:

Andrei Smith Audi

That simple message makes it easy for them to find me when they are ready. In their iPhone, they merely type “Audi” into search, and my text comes up first. If I call, their iPhone will say “maybe: Andrei Smith” which makes it easier for them to pick up.

These little steps build up, and you need a checklist to follow to make sure that they stick!

Write it out and Laminate!

Every day when I arrive at work, I look down at the checklist that I have printed on my desk. As long as I follow that checklist, regardless of my mindset coming to work, I will get done what I need to get down. It’s that simple.

So write it out. Write down what you need to do every day. Write down how you are going to get perfect surveys from your customers. Write down a checklist that will make sure that you follow up diligently. Write it down!

Then, laminate it! You can use that tool to make your one-off checklists into daily processes. 

 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman #5: Trustworthy Character

What makes a salesperson trustworthy?

It comes down to the way they carry themselves. You are at an advantage in this regard.

There are so many non-trustworthy salespeople in the automotive industry that it is relatively easy to set yourself apart. Dress professionally and dedicate yourself to honesty. Do not try and control the customer’s choices, instead adapt to what they tell you.

25 Ways…

One of the distinct traits of the top salespeople I have met is a obvious air of trustworthiness. For a more in-depth look at this, I liked this article from Unstuck. In the article, they list out their 25 ways to build trust in a relationship. Your relationship with your customers can be a great place to try some of these tips/mindsets:

1. Share all the information. Good or bad. As soon as you can.
2. Aim for win-win, not win-lose.
3. Give credit freely and publicly.
4. Reveal something personal.
5. Be accountable for yourself.

13. Avoid showing off.
14. Avoid exaggeration.
15. Tell the truth.

22. Stay open to new ideas.
23. Factor all those concerned into decisions.
24. Show up on time.
25. Respond — and do it in a timely manner.

 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman #6: Build Your Skills (Not Tricks)

Television and movies have been drilling into your mind the existence of sales tricks that professional salespeople use to convince customers to buy. The idea of sneaky sales tricks are generally nonsense. The best salespeople know how to funnel customers into right paths, but they never seek to “trick” their customers. The idea of “tricking” people is insincere and unprofessional, and won’t stand in today’s economy.

In car sales, many dealerships sell the same products. That means that the thing that makes your dealership unique is mostly you. Your product knowledge, your customer service, your professionalism. Your Yelp reviews will be your greatest marketers or worst enemies. You need to build a brand around yourself.

Your Brand

What makes you unique? What do you bring to the table?

how to be a good car salesman: be unique!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. You need to be different. When I meet customers, I selectively share parts about myself that will jive best with their worldview. 

When a customer is a professor at Stanford, I share about my Mum, who is a UC Berkeley professor. I talk about growing up with her lab members going on trips, and about how her success shaped my life.

If a customer is athletic, I share about how I bike to work, and playing water polo in high school. 

With my Chinese customers, I talk about my last two years of learning their native language (Mandarin). I joke about learning how to eat authentic Chinese food at my girlfriend’s house.

In each of these customer situations, the customers are learning a different part about me. I’m selectively sharing what I’ve learned will foster a relationship. I’m finding common ground.

 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman #7: Patience

As salespeople gain experience, they realize patterns in their customers. They will start to think to themselves “huh, I know where this is going” and “oh god, not this again.” 

You need to be careful with this pattern recognition. Although it can feel like a superpower to know what a customer is going to say before they say it, things can get dicey if you start to act on this information. 

I’ve seen otherwise decent salespeople cut off their customers mid-sentence because they thought they knew what they were going to say. 

Customers don’t like people cutting them off. Frankly, few people do. 

Fruits of Patience: Emptying their Cups

Customers, once they respect you, will want to share with you their situation. Regardless of the reality, in their minds, their life and situation are unique. If you don’t listen patiently to them and allow them to empty their cup, they will never be able to receive what you have to say.

I find this is especially useful to think of when dealing with angry customers. For example, when a customer wants to complain about the lack of follow up from our service department, I can guess word for the word what they are going to say. Regardless, I let them vent. I allow them to “empty their cup” so that they can peacefully receive what I am going to say afterward.

Don’t rush your customers. Listen to them, and don’t cut off their sentences!

how to be a good car salesman: let your customers empty their cup!

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s full! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “This is you,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman #8: Avoid Aggression

When I started in the car business, one of the most common things that people advised me to “control” my customers.

“It’s about control dude. You need to control what your customers know, you need to control what they want. Keep them in your office after the test drive and eventually you will grind them down until they give up and buy”

  • Advice I received in 2012

I’m here to tell you; this thinking is outdated. Your customers read articles online about how to buy cars. They learn the market before they ever turn up. You can’t trick them, and you can’t “control” them.

how to be a good car salesman: don't be too aggressive!

What you can do is lead them. You can convince them. You can learn how to sway their opinions.

In the 21st century, it’s rare to find someone that is willing to be spoken to forcefully. In all but a few cases, you will do better with honey than vinegar. 

So throw away your ego, and approach customers with flattery and kindness. Make them feel at home.

Too Strong

I once met a fantastic salesperson who had one giant flaw. Although they were disciplined and professional, they lost many deals during their negotiations. Coming from a strict background, they had little patience for customers who were indirect in their objections

So they responded with aggression. They would tell the customers forcefully how good a deal they were walking away from. This salesperson would stare at disbelief at customers, making visible his disappointment when the customer offered an obvious lowball.

That salesperson was me. I’m working hard to beat the habit, but it’s easy to become jaded in this profession. When I let my ego run wild, I tell myself things like “these customers are wasting my time” and “this person didn’t do their research.” 

The self-talk never got me anywhere. It only dug me deep into self-pity.

Get over yourself. It’s ok if you know what the customer is going to say. Let them say it. It’s okay if the customer needs guidance, give it gently. Make sure to not come across too strong.

People buy from people they like.

 

How To Be a Good Car Salesman #9: Play to your Strengths

When I was dating, I quickly figured out that I was no Casanova. The most common adjective women would use to describe me was goofy.

Goofy isn’t sexy. I knew that I needed to find a new strategy. 

I quickly realized that there wasn’t much of a jump between “goofy” and “funny.”

So I learned how to be funny. I never tried to act like James Bond; I just tried to make women laugh.

The lesson was that I found success when I started to play to my strengths.

How to be a Good Car Salesman: Different Superpowers

There used to be a salesperson at my dealer named Paul who was an absolute monster. He sold 20 cars his very first month at the dealership, working in the Internet department, at a time where the top Internet Sales Manager sold about 26 (and had worked for seven years at the same dealer). 

Paul was not personable. He wasn’t well connected, and he didn’t know the product very well.

What made him successful?

It turns out that Paul was simply a workhorse. Starting 30 minutes before the store opens he was sitting at his computer. Paul would send quotes and emails from open to close, 13 hours a day. He would only get up when a customer came in to pick up a car.

If you compared Moe, another top salesperson at the time, to Paul, you would be amazed. Moe could barely use the CRM system, and he hated sending emails.

Moe, however, was the most personable person at the dealer. Customers would fall in love with him when they met him. His smile, his voice, the things he would say… They would win customers affections immediately.

how to be a good car salesman: find your superpower!

Remember that different people have different superpowers. Try and find yours!

 

Automotive Sales Training: How to be a Good Car Salesman

Although I use the term salesman in this article, all of this advice is genderless. I’ve shared with you the nine keys that I believe separate the top earners from the rest. Go now, find your superpower. Treat your customers with respect, in your unique way. Sell a ton of cars and make some money.

Then, please, invest some of that dough!

Car Salesman Dress Code

Car Salesman Dress Code

Here at Car Sales Story, I’m bringing together high-quality resources for people starting in the car business. The unique environment of the dealership can be confusing for the new salesperson, so I’m here to help guide you. This article “car salesman dress code” is one in a series of articles that provide the foundation of knowledge you will need to start your career on the right foot.

One of the first questions you may ask yourself when applying for and getting your first car sales job will be what to wear. What exactly is the “car salesman dress code”? Is there a standard attire or does it vary dealer to dealer?

Want to stay in the loop for new articles?

The answer is that although there is some variance dealership to dealership, most dealers conform to a standard dress pattern that varies between hot and cold seasons. The standard car salesman dress code is business casual (button down with tie and slacks) in the colder months, and khakis with a branded polo shirt in the warmer months. Although there are dealers that want you to wear a suit 365 days a year, their numbers are dwindling.

In a recent article on how to look put together and polished, I emphasized the importance of dressing professionally:

The benefits of reading this article (“How to Look Put Together and Polished”) revolves around the way that your customers will see you. If you come to work with your hair neat, your shirt ironed, and your shoes polished, you come across as someone that is at work with a purpose.

Car Salesman Dress Code: Unique Essentials

There are some unique environmental aspects to being in the car business (as opposed to working in most other companies). The environmental factors that we need to take into account include:

  1. “Wear and Tear” from walking on the car lot versus walking in an office
  2. The flexibility in the required clothing for continually getting in and out of cars
  3. The varying outside temperature when selling under the hot sun or in the cold wind
  4. The long hours associated with the car business

All four of these factors can take a toll on your clothes, and especially your shoes.

To be successful, you will need to be comfortable working long hours under challenging conditions. I’ve created a guide of some shoes and clothes especially suited for the “modern car salesman” environment:

Shoes: Stepping Up Your Shoe Game

The single most significant factor that affects your ability to work long hours can end up being your comfort. More specifically, your foot comfort. If your feet are torn up and blistering from working on the lot all Saturday, the chance that you will be willing to take the last customer of the day falls off.

The car salesman dress code standard shoe recommendations are from Cole Haan since they offer rubber soles, all-day comfort, clean styling, and an attractive price. 

Cole Haan makes shoes that are popular and fit the car salesman dress code!

The top two most popular shoes at my dealer are the Oxfords and the Comfort Oxfords.

The traditional Oxford is undoubtedly more stylish, but the comfort oxfords have a thicker rubber sole that will be more comfortable for long days. I can recommend either one, as they fit the car salesman dress code requirements and will excel in the dealership environment.

Shirts: Should You Wear the Company Shirt?

Most dealerships provide their salespeople company shirts that are branded with the dealership’s logo and the new car brands logo. While this isn’t always the case (used car lots, smaller operations, etc.), when they are available these are great options.

If you do decide to wear the company shirt, make sure that you heed what I said in my previous article on looking polished. Don’t be the salesperson with the unironed company shirt!

Having ironed clothes is an important part of how to look put together and polished. I don’t recommend going cheap on this one, rather I think it’s worth spending* a little more to get a quality iron and ironing board.

Alternate to Company Shirt

If you are looking for a good option for well-priced button-ups, I recommend these $20 and $40 options.

“First thing I noticed out of the package is how soft the fabric is. It’s a wrinkle-free, Egyptian cotton. Thick fabric, but not stiff. Has a nice sheen to it. Following the instructions to wash and dry in the dryer leaves it without wrinkles.

First thing I noticed putting the shirt on is how thick the buttons are. And the awesome fit. It’s a try slim fit: high arm holes, narrow shoulders, slim through the sleeves and torso. The french cuff is nice also–not too bulky. And the spread collar is great: good with or without a tie; stays stiff, especially with the collar stays.

The exact sleeve length is great, too. None of this 34/35 nonsense. Shirts like that are always too long for me. This one is the perfect length.

Shirt length is great, too. It’s long enough that it stays tucked in, but short enough you don’t look like a dweeb if you leave it untucked. Amazon’s scientists really nailed it on this one.

Overall it’s a sharp, stylish shirt. Great for the office or a night out.”

Ties: Still Essential

If you do decide to go for a non-company shirt and tie, there are a few options that I recommend. I’ve had decent success with buying bundled ties on Amazon to save money. The quality of these type of items has gotten excellent in the last few years (assuming you stick with the 4-5 star options!)

“I’ve been buying and wearing ties most of my adult life for 30 years, and these are definitely comparable to anything I’ve bought in a department store for 10 times the cost (or even better than some of the garbage I’ve purchased there). The colors are vibrant and bright, the ties (at least for my taste) are the perfect width and length, and with these and two new shirts I bought on here? I breathed new life into some older boring suits I have, and looked like a million bucks doing it.

They are definitely silk or some kind of excellent silk alternative; they’re soft and feel expensive, and frankly they just look great.”

The alternative is to go to a department store or an upscale clothing store like Brooks Brothers, but I don’t think that level of spending is necessary. If you are skinny, Uniqlo makes a decent button down as well. To each their own!

Pants: Because Few Dealerships Let You Wear Shorts

I’ve shopped all over for pants, generally sticking to things Chinos from places Lee. Sometimes I will splurge on a pair of my ultimate pair of pants, the Lulu ABC pants. These Lulus took over the store for a year or two, and everyone swore by them.

Other Territories

The Bay Area, where I sell cars, is more laid-back on the car salesman dress code. You will find that the car salesman dress code in other states, such as New York, maybe much stricter. Your best bet is to visit your new store on a busy Saturday and figure out who looks good and copy them.

the car salesman dress code can vary depending on the region!

In some areas, you might even get away with cowboy boots!

“Ron, can always count on you for great forums! I wholeheartedly think that it has all to do with Geographic location. Lord knows that our jeans and cowboy boots wouldn’t fly in New York, actually most places now that I think about it. But it is really what our community has come to know us by.

We are required to look good, no wrinkles, clean clothes, hair at least not all a mess. We tend to dress nicer during the week then jeans on Friday and Saturday.”

Other Snippets From Drivingsales Forum

In this thread on Drivingsales, I found a lot of interesting opinions on how to adhere to the car salesman dress code. I liked this input from one of the contributors:

“The dress code that we had was shirt and ties during the winter months, and logo polos and slacks in the summer months. I think that looking good and professional is important and that customers do appreciate it, and it does show the customers who the employees are however I do recommend “dressing your brand”. In other words, if you are at a dealership with a mainstream brand like Toyota, Honda, Ford Etc… and your customers are coming in dressed more casually then a more casual dress is probably appropriate because wearing a suit and tie may make the customers feel a bit uncomfortable, and underdressed. It also doesn’t help closing the gap between salesperson and customer and doesn’t help with rapport and creating common ground.
 
Of course if you are at a high end store, and your clients are mostly well dressed professionals etc… then wearing a suit and tie would probably be a better choice. It just comes down to you wanting to look good and professional, but also making things as comfortable for your customers as well. Comfortable happy customers that can relate to their salesperson are more likely to open up and more likely to purchase.”

Dustin provides a strong point here. No matter how “well” you decide to dress, you should take it upon yourself to make sure that you are not alienating your customers. While I don’t think that you need to dress down, you should always adjust your attitude with the vibes of your customers.

If your customers are wealthy and uptight, feel free to be a bit snobby. If they are quiet and laid back, make sure that you are also relaxed. 

Mirroring

What Dustin is hinting at above seems to be most in line with the concept of “Mirroring,” which comes into play when thinking about your car salesman dress code.

Part of the car salesman dress code involves the idea of "mirroring" your customers.

Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family. The concept often affects other individuals’ notions about the individual that is exhibiting mirroring behaviors, which can lead to the individual building rapport with others.”

Mirroring is a concept one step removed from the topic of car salesman dress code, but still pertinent to always keep in mind!

Car Salesman Dress Code: Review

The car salesman dress code exists to enforce a sense of order to the often wild world of car sales. Although there is a standard car salesman dress code, you can get away with having some flair if you understand your market. I’ve found that regardless of if I was selling to computer engineers or corporate lawyers, everyone respects a salesperson that is polished and put together.

What are your favorite accessories that make you a more useful car salesperson? Share below!

How To Be a Good BDC Rep: Mega Post!

How To Be a Good BDC Rep: Mega Post!

Most of the articles online about “How To Be a Good BDC Rep” actually focus on the management of the BDC. I wanted to put together a mega-post that any BDC rep, new or old, could reference to develop their career. I’ve developed these ideas over the last few years as I’ve worked in and then managed a BDC.

Want to learn more about being a great BDC rep?

This article will be seen through the story of Jim and Jane, two competing BDC reps. Both want to make money, but only one has spent the time to learn how to be a good BDC rep.

How To Be a Good BDC Rep: The Story of Jim and Jane

Jim and Jane were the first hires at the new BDC at ABC motors. Both came from retail sales backgrounds, and both knew how to speak to customers effectively on the phone. During their interviews, they both told the hiring manager that they were “team players” who loved to “work hard” and “develop their skills”.

For the first month or two, Jim and Jane put up similar numbers. Their phone call and email volume were strong, and their conversions were decent.

Within a few months, Jane was making 15% more calls per day and setting 50% more appointments.

What changed?

Orienting Towards Your Goals

Orienting towards your goals involves four key components as a BDC rep. 

  1. Working Your Pay Plan
  2. Utilizing The Best Tools
  3. Knowing How To Stay Effective
  4. Experimenting

These four parts will help you orient yourself toward your goals and teach you part of how to be a good BDC rep! Let’s look at these four parts through the eyes of BDC reps, Jim and Jane.

Jim’s Way

Jim came to work every day with one task on his mind. According to Jim, he was paid to make phone calls, and so that’s what he did.

Jim is a sloth, he never learned how to be a good bdc rep

Jim clocked in on time and made sure he never came to work with a dirty shirt. He didn’t really understand his pay plan, and he only had a simple knowledge of the CRM, but he worked hard. He never invested in any tools to help him avoid burnout, as he figured that he would make do.

Jim told people he worked in a call center, which was a nice 9 to 5 type job. 

Jane’s Way

Jane came to work with conversions on her mind. She knew which customers that she spoke to yesterday were “hot” and ready to buy, and she prioritized those customers with the highest probability to become car deals. She always knew where she was for the month, and adjusted her work ethic accordingly. If she had lagged behind on appointments set the day before, she would come to work thirty minutes early or stay thirty minutes late.

Jane is no sloth. She knows how to be a good BDC rep

Jane was the go-to “wizard” on the CRM. Sales managers would often drop into the BDC to ask Jane for help with the CRM, and she loved learning new parts of the software. Efficiency was always Jane’s goal.

Jane didn’t mind spending a little money to get herself a nice ergonomic keyboard. She spent a few bucks on a vanity mirror, knowing that she sounded more convincing on the phone when she had a smile on her face. Under her desk, she would massage her feet with a little ergonomic footrest she picked up on Amazon.

Jane considered herself a phone salesperson. She took pride in her work and liked to switch up her schedule. She experimented working her shift at different times of the day to find what worked best for making contact with customers.

How To Be a Good BDC Rep: Why You Should Be Jane (Not Jim)

As I discussed in my recent article on “How To Look Put Together and Polished“, oftentimes the difference between excelling and staying stagnant is just a little effort.

“I think it’s just little tweaks you need to put into action if you want to be more polished. It will take a decision to start, and a dedication to follow through. Polish is not about some grand action, it’s a collection of little steps. Little steps that you care about.”

-George

Jane cared about her job. She saw it as a career she could take pride in. She expanded on the four key components:

Working Your Pay Plan

Jane understood her job was centered around conversions, not the volume of phone calls. She understood that as a BDC rep, she was the first step of moving a customer towards a successful sale.

Jim thought of his job as “call center” guy, who just sat and made “enough calls”

Learning your automotive BDC pay plan to how to be a good bdc rep!

Pay is based on appointments set and sold!

Jim and Jane were both paid on appointments shown and appointments sold. Jane worked this pay plan and prioritized working “hot” customers. Jim just made the calls.

Utilizing The Best Tools

Jane learned the ins and outs of her CRM. She became a “guru” of sorts at her dealer and gained recognition (Just like Zag!)

Jim learned the bare minimum to “do his job”, instead of mastering his tools.

Knowing How To Stay Effective

Jane understood burnout was always a possibility. She spent a little money to make herself more comfortable, like her ergonomic keyboard and footrest.

Jim always would just make do with what he had. He was happy just being on time and having a clean shirt.

Experimenting

Jim worked his 9-5, day in, day out. Might as well have worked at the DMV!

If you don't experiment you will become stale. This is an important part of how to be a good bdc rep!

Jane experimented with different schedules. She found that Mondays she would start an hour later (10-6pm) and Fridays an hour earlier (8-4pm). She always tried to find new ways to increase her efficiency.

 

How To Be a Good BDC Rep: Loop In Your Manager

Depending on your dealership’s management style, you may have a very active or very inactive manager. The BDC manager may be one of the BDC reps that have to manage the workflows and produce at the same time. Some dealerships will have dedicated managers, while others will have an internet manager manage the BDC.

Regardless of the set-up, part of how to be a good BDC rep involves finding the person that cares about success (hopefully your direct manager) and looping them in. There is serious value in acquiring emotional “buy-in” from your manager, as they can stand in to provide advice and guidance. Managers are much more likely to help you along if you make the effort to meet with them to discuss your goals.

Meeting your manager can be a great part of how to be a good bdc rep!

There are two distinct ways you can work with your manager. Let’s see how Jim and Jane interact differently with Maya, their manager.

Jim’s Way

Jim was concerned with what his manager thought of him, so he always tried to be as nice as possible to Maya. He paid attention to what she was doing on weekends and even bought her gifts on her birthday. Jim was confident that Maya thought he was a good employee.

Jane’s Way

Jane respected Maya’s time and expertise. Once a month she would organize to meet with Maya to discuss her goals and seek advice on how to push herself. Jane was always respectful of Maya’s time and didn’t bother her with small talk unless appropriate.

Maya’s Perspective

Jim was a nice guy, but a bit chatty. Jane was the ultimate rep, and Maya prided herself on how well Jane progressed. Maya cared about Jane’s career, because Jane cared about Jane’s career.

Take Home: Understand What Management Wants

A successful BDC rep like Jane understands not only her pay plan but the big picture of the store. Car dealerships exist to sell and service cars, and the BDC rep plays a part in that bigger picture. Whereas Jim sees himself as a call center guy who just pounds the phones, Jane sees herself as a salesperson representing the dealership.

The management wants metrics and growth. They want you to be a successful part of the dealership’s business. 

Learning how you fit into the business model is a key part of how to be a good bdc rep!

Jane meets with her manager, Maya, to get better at her job and to find out the “pain points” of the organization as a whole.

Example of a “Pain Point” From My Dealer

At my dealership, the BDC reps were setting great appointments, for excited customers, but there was a problem.

The notes for the appointments would look like this:

APPOINTMENT
10/03/18
Sandeep wants Q5
Stock #40123
Needs car asap

Looks pretty good right? 

So, when I see an appointment like this, I work on getting the car (Stock #40123) ready for the customer to see. This can involve driving to offsite lots, adding gas, rinsing the car.

The problem would emerge when the customer (in this case “Sandeep”) would come in and casually say:

“Oh yeah, this car is good! Really any car with this exterior interior color combo and navigation would have worked for us actually”

– Sandeep

When the customer says that, my shoulders drop, since Stock #40123 wasn’t necessarily the easiest car to get prepped if “any car with this exterior interior color combo and navigation would have worked”. 

Fixing The Pain Point

So I met with the BDC reps and changed the way our appointments are labeled. All we needed to do was add this simple modifier to the notes:

APPOINTMENT
10/03/18
Sandeep wants Q5
Stock #40123 (same color with nav ok)
Needs car asap

or

APPOINTMENT
10/03/18
Sandeep wants Q5
Stock #40123 (exact car)
Needs car asap

The BDC reps and I communicate often, so this pain point was easy to address. As a successful BDC rep, keep an eye out for little things like this to increase your team’s efficiency. 

With my dealership having 700~ cars in stock, this simple change can often save a full man-hour every single day. 

How To Be a Good BDC Rep: Develop Your Templates

Small businesses scale with employees. Good BDC reps scale with templates.

One of my favorite articles I’ve written is all about the proper cadence for the first 7 days communicating with customers. In a guest-posted article over at DealerRefresh, I have 15 more. 

It’s your job to develop your own templates from the examples I’ve produced for you. Don’t rely on the boring templates that are built into your CRM. Create new templates that mimic your communication style so that you can provide a cohesive experience for your customers.

Here are a few of my favorite BDC templates I’ve come up with.

How To Be a Good BDC Rep Template #1: Appointment Confirmation

Dear FIRST NAME,

Thanks! Looking forward to our appointment for TIME and DATE at DEALERSHIP NAME.

To save you time, here is our street address:
STREET ADDRESS WITH GOOGLE MAP URL LINK

If you want to confirm or reschedule please respond to this email or text me at SALESPERSON PHONE.

This is what I look like when you come in:
SMALL PICTURE OF SALESPERSON

Thanks!
SALESPERSON NAME
SALESPERSON PHONE
SALESPERSON EMAIL

How To Be a Good BDC Rep Template #2: Long-Term Unqualified

Dear FIRSTNAME,

I know we have been sending you a lot of emails and you have been opening them, but not responding.

Could you kindly let us know if you are still in the market? Are we emailing too much? Is there a time that is best to get a hold of you?

Here at DEALER, we value our customers and their time. We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,
SALESPERSON NAME
SALESPERSON PHONE
SALESPERSON EMAIL

How To Be a Good BDC Rep Template #3: Appointment No-Show

FIRST NAME,

We were not able to meet for our recent appointment time. We understand that sometimes things come up that take precedent.

When can we reschedule a time to meet? I have some time available tomorrow at 1015am and later in the afternoon.

Please let me know if there is anything we can do in the meantime to help you along your purchase process.

Thanks!
SALESPERSON NAME
SALESPERSON PHONE
SALESPERSON EMAIL

How To Be a Good BDC Rep Template #4: One Year Celebration

Hi FIRST NAME.

We haven’t talked in a while, so I wanted to touch base to say hi. How have you been doing? Are you happy with your MAKE?

If you’re ever in the neighborhood or at the dealership servicing your car, drop by my desk! I’d love to catch up.

Let me know how you like your MAKE whenever you have a free moment. I’ve heard a lot of great feedback from other folks who own that vehicle, so I’m interested to hear if your experience is similar.

Thanks,
SALESPERSON NAME
SALESPERSON PHONE

How To Be a Good BDC Rep: Use The Online Resources

Here at Car Sales Story, I’ve written a few articles that would be helpful to any BDC rep looking to improve their effectiveness:

 

How To Be a Good BDC Rep: Community

Are you a BDC rep? If so, reach out to me here at Car Sales Story and we can get together some reps to share ideas:

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How to Look Put Together and Polished

How to Look Put Together and Polished

This article is a bit of a departure from most of the content on this site, as we won’t be diving into any sales skills or personal finance tips. Instead, in this article, I want to talk with you about the idea of polish. When I did my research on this topic, most of the pieces in the same vein as this one (“how to look put together and polished”) were targeted at fashion, not polish. Although a sense of style can certainly be part of your polish, it is not the central tenet.

Preparation is the key to how to look put together and polished. In this article, we will delve into the three points of focus needed when preparing yourself for your business life.

  1. Why you should strive to be more polished
  2. The benefits of being more polished
  3. How to go about it without wasting all your money   

In the context of this article, looking “put together and polished” refers to the apparent quality of someone that comes to work looking prepared and dressed professionally. Most importantly, being put together and polished relates to a frame of mind.

Click here for the Car Salesman Dress Code (this link goes to the full article!)

Why You Should Care: Discipline and Signaling

Why should you care about how to look put together and polished?

leather shoes are part of how toHow to Look Put Together and Polished

In my article on One-on-One Coaching, I introduced my coach, George.

George has a passion for discipline that he focuses on in all of our one-on-one coaching sessions. I believe that being a veteran profoundly focuses his view on the subject.

In George’s eyes, freedom is born out of self-discipline.

In our training session, George encouraged me to practice self-discipline both at home and at work. Discipline is a muscle that needs to be exercised, and he shared with me three easy “workouts.” These behaviors would, he believed, allow us to remind ourselves that our mind is in control of our body’s desires (and not vice-versa).

With a little work, he said, we can remind ourselves not to coast on autopilot.

How to Look Put Together and Polished: George’s Signaling

George, my coach, started at the dealership as a used car salesperson around three years ago. The first impression he presented was excellent, working long hours and talking to every customer with respect. In the beginning, George sold many cars, quickly earning the admiration of the used car manager. I observed him from afar, noting his presence when speaking to customers and the aura of professionalism that he had.

After a few months, I had my first real conversation with George. I had come to the used car department to have a buyers guide printed, and the used car manager was at the 7/11 down the street. Overhearing that I was waiting, George came to me and told me he could print the form that I needed. I followed him to his office, and he pulled up the admin logins to get the paperwork printed.

I was impressed. Here was the new guy, with the knowledge of a sales manager. He was useful. When sitting across from him, I noticed his shirt. More specifically, I saw his shirt sleeve seam. Although the shirt was the same branded store shirt most salespeople wore, his shirt sleeve seam was sharp. The shirt was bright white, with crispy sharp seams!

How to Look Put Together and Polished? Get your seams to look good!

Why did this affect me?

No-one else at the dealer had the level of polish George’s shirt had. Here was the new guy, doing the sales managers job, with a shirt that looked more polished than the General Manager. 

About a year after he started, George was the used car manager. A year after that, he replaced the new car sales manager.

How to Look Put Together and Polished: George’s Discipline

George’s shirt signaled to me that he cared about how he presented himself while at work. He carried himself with intention. 

The shirt signaled to me that he was someone to look up to and a man of character. When I asked him about it, he said that his crispy sharp shirt seams were the product of “not coasting on autopilot.”

“Every night, before bed, I lay my clothes out on the iron. In the morning, 10 minutes before I head out the door, I turn on the ironing board. When it’s hot, I iron my shirt and pants, with special care taken to make sure I’m presentable. Taking the time to do this prepares me for the day, and makes sure I’m prepared”

– George

Not only did his shirt signal to his customers and his coworkers that he was a professional, but it also self-signaled as well. The shirt reaffirmed his perception of himself.

Having ironed clothes is an essential part of how to look put together and polished. I don’t recommend going cheap on this one, instead I think it’s worth spending* a little more to get a quality iron and ironing board.

The Benefits Of Being Polished

In my previous article about closing deals, I mentioned the “Demonstrated Desire to Sell”:

You are the dealership’s representative. If you seem disinterested, tired, frustrated, or aloof, your customer is going to question how much you truly want to sell them the vehicle. The customer will then wonder how “fair” you are pricing a car if you don’t really care if you sell the car or not. 

I implore you to perk up. Drink some coffee and remember why you came to work today. When you are sitting across the customer, they should have a distinct impression that you will do anything to sell this car. This type of attitude makes any deal you offer much sweeter, as the customer believes you when you tell them an offer is fair.

The benefits of reading this article (“How to Look Put Together and Polished”) revolves around the way that your customers will see you. If you come to work with your hair neat, your shirt ironed, and your shoes polished, you come across as someone that is at work with a purpose.

How to Look Put Together and Polished: Customer Impression

When you take care of yourself, your customers notice. 

After meeting with George for my most recent coaching session, I pledged to him that I would take my polish more seriously. His advice was clear:

“I think it’s just little tweaks you need to put into action if you want to be more polished. It will take a decision to start, and a dedication to follow through. Polish is not about some grand action, it’s a collection of little steps. Little steps that you care about.”

-George

I took it to heart. For the last month, I’ve come to work prepared and with a full night’s sleep. I iron my shirts before leaving the house, and I’ve been using Tie Stays and Collar Stays.

The impact that it has had on my customer’s perception of me has been reason enough to keep going. Here is a recent review:

“Everyone is very nice in dealership. My sales rep Andrei provide an exceptional professional customer service experience since the first day I preordered my car until I pick up the car from dealership!”

  • DealerRater Customer Review on 9/25/18

How to Look Put Together and Polished: Defeating Overwhelm With Preparation

So is all this polish just for the customers? No. One of the great rewards of being more polished reveals itself internally. 

Every job has stressful parts. Stress is often rooted in a lack of preparation, as it can be rooted in the overwhelm you feel when you can’t get everything done.

Overwhelm is the enemy of mental preparation. Once overwhelmed most people will need to leave a situation before returning to an agreeable state. The key is to avoid overwhelm if at all possible.

How so? With routine. Routine is the pattern of behavior, repeated daily, that ensures that all your ducks are in a row. When your routine is on point, you can go into situations without mentally juggling everything that still needs to be done.

To be consistently polished, you need a steady routine. Every day should have a pattern that you follow so that your polish becomes a habit. Polish is a battle of small steps. It’s a process to build up your routine to take care of this little things. I still remember when, after two years, my boss took me aside and recommended I take care of my nose hairs. I had never even thought about nose hairs in my life until that point! Now using a nose hair trimmer is part of my polish.

When you work on looking put together and polished, you will naturally feel more prepared at work. When you feel prepared, you will be less susceptible to overwhelm, and stress will no longer be your enemy.

How To Look Put Together and Polished Without Breaking The Bank

Now that we know why you should care and the potential benefits of looking put together and polished, let’s talk about how not to break the bank.

Step 1: Realize This Isn’t About Money

This article (“How To Look Put Together and Polished”) is not about spending more money on clothes.

If your clothes are falling apart or stained, then you should spend some money to replace them. Your clothes should be clean and fit well. 

More than anything else, the idea of how to look put together and polished involves caring. Do you care about how you present yourself at work? 

There are some products that can help you look more polished.

Step 2: Review of the Products to Help You Look Polished

Although looking put together and polished isn’t about money, a few things have helped me get myself set up:

A Quality Iron and Ironing Board ($50-$200)

Here is the iron I’d recommend, and here is the ironing board that I use with it. These are the products that I like to use personally, and they have helped get my clothes to look sharp.

The reason that you want to spend a little extra on these items is that the quality of them makes them more pleasurable to use, and therefore more likely that you will iron your clothes every day. I’ve also found that these higher quality models (linked above) last longer.

If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, these two are what I started with: The Sunbeam Steam Master and the Homz Steel Ironing Board. In a pinch, both of these will do!

Tie Stays (<$10)

These things are worth their weight in gold, especially since using this link you can usually get them below $10 including shipping. Tie stays are fantastic for keeping your tie looking fresh when you are out on the lot since they hold down your tie and stop it from getting caught on everything. 

Now, many salespeople these days have stopped wearing ties, which I can understand. You should wear attire that suits your customer’s preferences. A tie still signals “I’m here, and I’m a professional,” which can help when closing deals.

Collar Stays (<$20)

Sticking with the accessories for a moment, I recommend you pick up some collar stays. These will keep you looking polished and put together since your collar will stay down all day, regardless of how much you are running around.

Nose Hair (<$25)

Nothing is more distracting than a wild nose hair. Use these trimmers!

How to Look Put Together and Polished: Review

If you want to succeed, you need to care.  You need to care about how you perceive yourself, and how your customer sees you.

This simple guide on how to look put together and polished hopefully gave you a few tools to get started on your journey towards showing that you care about your professionalism. I hope that you take this advice and run with it.

*Note: These are affiliate links in this article, so if you do decide to follow my advice you help support the blog with your purchase!

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Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal

Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal

I’ve been watching negotiations for years now at the car dealership, and I can safely say that many salespeople routinely drop the ball when trying to close a deal. Watching the repeated fumblings of these crucial steps in the car sales process inspired me to write this article “Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal”.

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There are a few caveats to this article, as it is focused on a buyer that has no restrictions, other than desire, on being able to buy. If your customer is credit challenged, this checklist isn’t going to save you. Secondly, this is focused on closing the deal with a new customer. There are some key ways in which dealing with a repeat customer is different!

This is what we are going to cover in this article “Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal”:

  1. Mutual Respect
  2. Demonstrated Desire to Sell
  3. Agreement On Product
  4. Back And Forth
  5. Staying Calm
  6. A Feeling of Finality and Authority

Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal #1: Mutual Respect

In one of my most popular articles thus far, I reviewed the ideas brought forth in the book “Crucial Conversations”:

Perceptions, opinions, and experiences differ among all people. In order to have a conversation in which customers will reveal honest objections, it is critical to have a “safe space”.

If a customer feels that their ego is threatened in any way, they will not be able to communicate honestly!

Here is my “safe space” equation:

Mental Preparedness -> Mutual Respect -> “Safe Space”

Once you have a safe space, you will be successful in uncovering the true objections that lurk below the placeholder objections.

The need for mutual respect is key in closing deals with customers. Customers enter into your dealer wary, scared of the tricks that you are planning to spring on them. They suspect deceit at every turn. You certainly don’t need to take my word for it. Just do a quick search on any of the Question/Answer sites on the web. Look at the question posted in 2017:

I had my car keys taken at the dealership and was almost forced to purchase a car (refused to let me leave). How does one deal with such a situation?”

Can you imagine? You work in the world where things like that still happen.

car sales tips closing a car deal is hampered by customers reading scary stories online

this is the kind of thing your customers read

Let’s say I read that question on Quora before going in to buy my new car. How would I prepare for this? I would certainly read the advice on Quora of course! Here is the #1 response to that question:

“The Golden Rule of dealing with ASSHOLES. Be the bigger Asshole.

They typically leverage guilt, intimidation, conflict avoidance, and social pressure to get what they want. You do the same, but more and better.”

Now, do you understand the battlefield you are walking into?

How To Foster Mutual Respect

Here are some tips on how to foster mutual respect. I like to think of these as my “Grandparent Rules”:

Stay Calm and Forgive the Customer

Understand that you do this job every single day. The customer buys a car every 2-6 years. This is far more stressful for them than it is for you. I’ve had plenty of customers come into the negotiation with walls up a mile high, throwing insults and acting disinterested in what I have to offer. I’ve also watched those walls come crumbling down when I meet their negative attitude with understanding and respect.

This is similar to treating a grandparent. You understand that they might have “backward” views. You stay patient with them because they deserve your respect.

Offer Amenities

You wouldn’t have a job without your customers. Always remember who serves who. Treat them to snacks and beverages. Make a show of respecting them.

You would get your grandparent a drink without asking. You would offer snacks. Do the same for your customers.

Slow Down

People think that talking fast makes you sound smart. When dealing with customers you need to slow down. Print out offers in large font. Explain everything that they ask about. It is not unreasonable to explain the idea of “interest” or “tax and registration” to a customer. 

When explaining an iPad to your grandparent you would slow down. Treat reviewing your deals/offers like explaining an iPad to a grandparent.

Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal #2: Demonstrated Desire to Sell

I can see this idea being tough to understand at first.

Remember that a deal is a mutually agreeable solution. Both parties get something out of it. The customer gets a car, the dealership gets a sale.

Next, understand that the reason your store discounts is in order to incentivize a quicker sale. 

Therefore, in order for a customer to get a fair price, the dealership needs to want to sell them a car.

You are the dealership’s representative. If you seem disinterested, tired, frustrated, or aloof, your customer is going to question how much you truly want to sell them the vehicle. The customer will then wonder how “fair” you are pricing a car if you don’t care if you sell the car.

I implore you to perk up. Drink some coffee and remember why you came to work today. When you are sitting across the customer, they should have a distinct impression that you will do anything to sell this car. This type of attitude makes any deal you offer much sweeter, as the customer believes you when you tell them an offer is fair.

Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal #3: Agreement on Product

Customers are anxious about price. It’s the singular focus for many customers, which means that it will be your job to bring the conversation back to the product.

car sales tips closing a car deal can involve difficult conversations

let’s talk

Here is a funny conversation I’ve had multiple times with customers:

Customer: “Thanks for the test drive. Can you give me a quote?”

Salesperson: “Oh ok, yes sure, no problem. Come to my desk and we can talk numbers.”

This salesperson has not reaffirmed that this car is the right car!

Let’s look at the alternative:

Customer: “Thanks for the test drive. Can you give me a quote?”

Andrei: “Sure! We are happy to give you a quote. Is this the exact car that works for you?”

Customer: “Uh, no. We want a black car with the upgraded sound system.”

Andrei: “Sounds great, let’s find a car that matches closest to what you are looking to buy.”

Simple right? 

There are very few reasons to ever work numbers with a customer until you’ve selected the vehicle that actually fits what they are looking for.

Agreement on Product: Addendum

Now, you may think that the above tip #3 was overly simplified, and I wouldn’t blame you. That said, the framework gives us perspective for the very important addendum I’ll add.

Here is a common workflow at a dealership that has a large inventory (not all inventory at the central location):

  1. Customer states desire for a test drive
  2. Salesperson finds a car similar to that of the desired specification (Configuration A)
  3. Customer drives, and during the drive refines what they are looking for (from the experience)
  4. Customer asks to work numbers
  5. Salesperson sits with the customer, finds a car in inventory that fits best for new desired configuration (Configuration B)
  6. Negotiation
  7. Deal or No Deal

Now, I understand the logic here. It’s often impossible to find the perfect car for a customer before the drive, since before the drive customers will often be unclear on exactly what they want. 

That being said, the salesperson often won’t show the customer “Configuration B” before working numbers. I see this as a missed opportunity.

Pacing

During the negotiation, mastering pacing can be a useful skill.

Here is a common conversation flow during negotiation:

Salesperson: Thanks for your patience. I have the adjusted numbers for you, applying your AAA discount and the improved interest rate.

Customer: Ok, thanks. I think the finance is still off the table, but this lease looks like it’s getting close to what we are looking for. Let’s see if we can firm up the numbers on this lease configuration.

At this point, the salesperson will often say this:

Salesperson: Got it. What exactly are you trying to get to?

Or:

Salesperson: Understood… I think we are already discounting heavily and I doubt there is any room left, but I can ask.

Rather than this, I think that when that this is a better flow:

Salesperson: Thanks for your patience. I have the adjusted numbers for you, applying your AAA discount and the improved interest rate.

Customer: Ok, thanks. I think the finance is still off the table, but this lease looks like it’s getting close to what we are looking for. Let’s see if we can firm up the numbers on this lease configuration.

Salesperson: Fantastic! Sounds like we are close to a deal, and that is very exciting. Now, we haven’t seen this exact car, would you mind if I go grab it so we can see it before we walk through the final numbers?

Almost always the customer will oblige. Not only does this take the pressure off the situation, but it also allows you to show the customer the exact car that they are contemplating the purchase of. That’s a really good thing. It’s hard to spend hundreds of dollars a month on a car, and it’s very hard to decide to do that before ever actually seeing the car!

Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal #4: Back and Forth

My old sales manager revealed to me his secret when working deals with family members:

“You know, I am going to take care of them, no matter what. That being said, over the last 20 years I have had family members, close and distant, repeat the same pattern. I present a price (our best), and they ask if it’s the best I can do. That’s so common I’ve started just leaving a little room whenever I work a deal with a family member. That way, when inevitably their question comes, I get to be the hero”

  • Sales Manager

That quote speaks to just how ingrained in the culture the back and forth of negotiation is.

So I advise, you no matter how much you like a customer, no matter how much how much you get along, always leave some room.

Always.

Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal #5: Staying Calm

It’s your responsibility to be the calm one during a negotiation.

This is your job. The flow of conversation, the pacing of the offers, and the feeling the customer leaves with are all your responsibility.

I touched on this in a previous article, and it bears repeating here:

For help, I reach out to the Calm app on my iPhone. I love the Calm app, and I use it every day to start my day. Starting with a guided 10-minute sit allows me to get my mind calm, and brings me into work mode with momentum.

Mindfulness practice is evolving in the public eye. As more and more people find the benefits to be stark and obvious, the “voodoo”/”magic” preconceptions have faded. I strongly suggest you look into a mindfulness practice.

It’s not just about mutual respect (see #1). It’s about the ability for you to do this job, negotiating with customers who do not negotiate for a living. Every day, without going crazy.

Who is Calm?

Why do customers get emotional? Why do they write bad reviews? Why do some raise their voice and call you names?

It’s because they can’t stay calm.

Show them how it’s done. Stay calm in the storm.

Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal #6: A Feeling of Finality and Authority

“Sounds like we got a deal. Just throw in those all weather mats and a mug for my wife”

  • Literally Everyone

Remember Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal #4? The need to leave room for the “back and forth” that customers (even some of your family members) expect?

This is part of that. 

When negotiating, the customer wants to have the final word.

You need to be understanding of their desire for a “feeling of finality”. Cater to it. 

The Manager’s Word

This is where the manager’s word can come into play. At the end of the negotiation, there are some customers who expect a “final offer” from the sales manager. This is the same to them as the “final boss” of a video game. There is finality to getting to the head boss, and having them give you an offer.

That’s why a sales manager can come out to be the “closer”. They aren’t doing anything special necessarily, it’s their gravitas that lends power to the closing offer.

Here’s the (somewhat rough) Youtube video I made about this exact idea last year, which I think is a worthy inclusion to this article (“Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal”):

In the video, I really encourage salespeople to close their own deals. Although I agree with that idea still, there is some value in appealing to management to close your deal. Now you should understand why it might work. 

Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal: Review of the Tips

  1. Mutual Respect
  2. Demonstrated Desire to Sell
  3. Agreement On Product
  4. Back And Forth
  5. Staying Calm
  6. A Feeling of Finality and Authority

These are the 6 things every salesperson needs in order to close deals. If you can be a respectful salesperson with a demonstrated desire to sell, most of the other 4 tips should come naturally. If you can master all six together, you will have taken everything from this article, “Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal”.

Above all else, be respectful and determined. Keep learning.

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Run Your Life Like a Business

Run Your Life Like a Business

We are taught that money is a tool to pay rent, a tool to buy food, and a tool to save for retirement. We are also told that money is the root of evil, that money does not bring happiness, that money corrupts. All of this is true, in a sense. If that is the case, why should you run your life like a business?

The key tenet of this article “Run Your Life Like a Business” is simple. If you ignore your money, your cash flow, and your investments, money will likely become the greatest challenge of your life. If you concentrate on money just enough, you can eventually safely ignore it.

I need to get all of that out of the way before jumping into this article, my first personal finance article, on Car Sales Story. This article is not about car sales in any way, rather it is about running your life as a business owner, with focus, direction, and the right tools.

(That being said, the car business is one of the great businesses to work in if you want to make this work!)

My goal is for you to run your life like a business. I want you to be your own “life business owner”.

I’m also going to be introducing you to three tools* you can use to run your life like a business:

  1. Personal Capital
  2. Robinhood
  3. InvestedInstead

Let’s get started with the story of Ziggy, and then contrast the story of Zag.

*By the way, I’ll have a disclaimer at the bottom about the links to these tools!

The Story of Ziggy

Ziggy was a hard-working guy at ABC corporation. No one would call him a slouch. He clocked in on time, and did everything that was asked of him.

Ziggy was a happy guy and had a full career. He worked for 40 long years at his dealership, getting small raises here and there for his hard work. He didn’t know how much others made, and he thought it would be rude to ever ask.

He loved getting his paycheck every two weeks, because that paycheck paid for his rent, his food, and his bills. His money bought him excellent food at restaurants, where he loved to go.

If he had money left over at the end of the month, Ziggy would buy toys. He especially loved electronics and took pride in having the newest things that he found at Best Buy.

The Story of Zag

Zag, compared to Ziggy, was a pretty lazy guy.

He started work at ABC corporation about the same time as Ziggy.

Zag wasn’t quite as hardworking as Ziggy, but he had an eye for detail and a curiosity about money

Zag asked a lot of questions at work. His curiosity about money was always there. If Zag got to know you well enough, he would ask how much you make. How much you spent. Why you spent on what you did. He was always trying to figure out who made the most money at ABC corporation. He tried to figure out why some people made more than others.

When Zag was paid, he had a budget laid out. He delighted in the magic-like power of the stock market. Zag, just a regular guy, working at ABC, could buy a little part of ABC with the money he didn’t spend. Zag loved the idea of his money making money for him, mainly because Zag wasn’t a huge fan of working in the first place. 

After a few years, Zag heard about Ted leaving. Zag knew (from all of his past questioning) that Ted’s job paid very well, and Zag had made sure to be next in line for the position.

Zag got the promotion, and he used the extra money to buy more stocks, and put money down on a rental property. Zag liked to think of his investments as an “Army of Dollars” that worked for him.

As he worked, the stocks and the rental property were growing in value, slowly, every day.

Zagging When Others Are Zigging

Ziggy, our first character, was missing one key element. He was approaching his work and his company with care and dedication, but he was all but ignoring his financial life.

He was a great employee, but his company had no interest in teaching him personal finance. His continued work was an asset, and hard-working employees are hard to find. What incentive did his company have to train Ziggy in personal finance? To teach him about money?

Zag, on the other hand, always had his financial position in mind. He understood that the company he worked for was beholden to the people that owned shares in the company, and he played the game as such. Zag wanted to be an owner, so he treated his finances like the very business he worked for.

Zag understood how his company was laid how, similar to how I recommend you use the Mega Post to know how a dealership works if you work in the automotive industry!

Zag played the game. Ziggy did not.

Why Run Your Life Like a Business?

This article is, it must be said, was inspired by my time at the car dealership. I have sold thousands of cars, during which time I’ve had the opportunity to look inside the financial houses of my customers. I’ve come to understand how most of my customers think about money. I often am left feeling that there is a better way. 

The business that I work for is publically traded. Every dollar in every vault and bank can be assigned an origin and understood in the context of the business. The dollars spent are categorized and accounted for. The dollars earnt are categorized and accounted for. Every single employee understands, to some degree, how the business is kept. They understand that money can’t go missing, it can’t disappear. People’s livelihood depends on this business being run with a keen eye.

When the business has profit, it is reinvested to make more profit. When a certain amount of capital is amassed a new building is built, more inventory is bought, and more people are hired.

This same eye for detail and expansion can be the backbone of your finances. Every facet of your finances can, in the 21st century, be easily accounted for and tracked, for free. Not only that, if you can run a surplus, spending less than you earn, your money can quickly go to work for you. It has never been easier to run your life like a business.

The point is not money for money’s sake. The point is that if you don’t do this, you will end up having to think about money when it’s too late. When you want to retire, but the numbers “don’t make sense.” When your family member is sick, but there is no money for the health insurance deductible. When you lose your job, and you need some time to find a new one.

Money is your safety net. It is the lifeblood of your personal life business. Money is necessary and needs to be respected.

How To Run Your Life Like A Business

Your life’s business has the same levers as the business you work for, and the same things need to be tracked.

I’ll break down in this article how to understand the importance of your cash flow. I will show you how to track the money coming in and the money coming out.

I’ll also be jumping into the idea of capital, the backbone of your business. The proper use of wealth is the key differentiator between those who build a successful life’s business and those who don’t.

If your money doesn’t work for you, you will always need to work for your money.

Let’s Talk Cash Flow (Life and Business)

At my dealership money comes in, and money goes out. At your household money comes in, and money goes out. How is it tracked? 

At the dealership, we have cash flow statements. These large, unwieldy documents, are the key focus of the General Manager, who needs to make sure that all of the store’s numerous commitments make sense. These documents also can reveal the profit centers of the business, and reveal the places where money is being lost. The General Manager looks at this statement every month, making sure that business is living up to its plan. Every facet of the business is revealed in this document.

this article about how to run your life like a business does not require you to use ugly financial statements

financial statements are ugly

At your home, what do you use? Do you just check your bank statement? Your credit card bill? How do you know how much you are spending on restaurants every month?

Let’s try this; I’m going to ask you a few simple questions. You see if you know the answer off the top of your head:

  1. How much, exactly, do you spend on groceries every month? Is it consistent?
  2. How much, exactly, do you make (after tax withholdings)?
  3. What is your current net worth?
  4. How much do your cash flow, positive or negative, every month? Do you go deeper into debt? Or do you slowly grow your savings? Is it consistent?

How did you do? 

Do you think that a General Manager of a dealership would know his business’s cash flow? Do you think that the business manager for your dentist knows how much profit the practice makes each month?

Now, if you knew all four numbers right off the top of your head, skip the next section (skip the “Cash Flowing” bit). There is plenty more to learn other than cash flow for how to run your life like a business.

If you didn’t, let’s talk about cash flow tracking.

Cash Flowing – Where Did My Money Go?

If you don’t know how to find out the answer to those questions in less than 5 minutes, it’s time to get some new tools.

The beauty is that just about all the financial tools these days are free, easy to use, and available on your smartphone.

You may be thinking that I want you to do this:

the old school way to run your life like a business

Old School

When in reality, I want you to use automated tools like this:

the new school way to run your life like a business

New School

Did I painstakingly label the transactions into those categories? No! The app, Personal Capitaldid it all for me. All I did was link up my credit card to the phone application, and I was done. The computer went and categorized everything for me.

Personal Capital is our #1 tool for tracking cash flow, and I think it’s just about a requirement for you to use it if you aren’t following your cash flow right now. How are you going to get in control of your life’s business if you don’t know where your money is going?

Cash Flowing – How Much Am I Surplus?

The surplus will become your investment capital in the next section. How much do you cash flow every month? 

Well, good news, Personal Capital can show you that as well!

I’ve mocked up this cash flow table in Personal Capital to demonstrate what this example high-earner would “cash flow” into surplus every month.

personal capital is a great tool to use to run your life like a business

Cash Flow Table from Personal Capital (automated!)

According to this Cash Flow table, this person would have a surplus of $8500/month on average.

Now, this type of earning is not common, but I just mocked this up to give you an idea of what a cash flow table can look like. Even if your surplus $500/month, you can have an “Army of Dollars” that can grow to over a million dollars over your career (inflation adjusted!).

Investing – Zag’s “Army Of Dollars”

If you can run a monthly surplus (your earning is higher than your spending), that money left over is your Capital. Capital is the only thing needed to make investments, and wealth is the main reason that the rich get richer.

When you think of “Investors” your mind probably goes to Warren Buffett or Mark Cuban. You probably don’t think of yourself as an “Investor.” Why would you? What’s the benefit of being an Investor?

The benefit is simple. Your capital (surplus money) can be used to make more money. Your money can work for you.

The surplus dollars you save at the end of the month are recruits in your “Army of Dollars.”

This “Army of Dollars” goes to work every day at the same time you do, fighting the good fight, growing in strength day by day. This growth in your “Army of Dollars” is your “Return on Investment.”

How much should you hope that it grows per year? Well, the stock market is not guaranteed. It doesn’t always go up. When you run your life like a business, you don’t need guarantees. You need good chances.

Let’s Talk About The Stock Market

When I bring up the stock market, many people’s first response is fear.

I would invest in the stock market, but it’s really high right now.

or

I would invest in the stock market, but I don’t want it to go down in value, then I’ll lose my money. I like my cash.

Fair points. What if you invest in the stock market and it goes down? It very well could. That being said, over time, it trends up, at the rate of about 10% per year. From there, you lose about 3% to inflation. That leaves you with an average of 7% gains per year. See below for the history of the stock market (already adjusted for inflation). You can see recessions highlighted in gray. Those were the periods when stock values trended down for a period. As you can see, over your lifetime, the system trends up.

The S&P 500 is one of the key tools for how you can run your life like a business

S&P 1930-2018

Now, that money in the stock market will grow via compound interest, explained below by Investopedia:

One day, this “Army of Dollars” might grow large enough to support you! 

A business owner looks at his or her business capital as a tool to make more money. Compound interest is a vital tool for how to run your life like a business.

The Difference Between Not-Investing And Investing

Using the 7% that I mentioned earlier, let’s create a table. We are going to compare two identical people, except for the distinction of being an Investor vs. Non-Investor.

They both have a monthly surplus of $500 to save. The Investor puts that money in the stock market and earns 7%. The Non-Investor takes that money and settles into a saving account making 1%. Let’s see how this pans out over a 40-year career:

Compound interest is one of the key tools for how you can run your life like a business

The Power of Compounding

The difference is over a million dollars. Inflation-adjusted.

Do you understand the power of your “Army of Dollars” now?

One Sentence Investor

You, our new “life business owner,” know understand the power of your “Army of Dollars.” You understand that investing is something you need to learn.

So do you need to do 1000 hours researching? No. If it were, I would have never have done it myself.

The fact of the matter is, in 2018, you can become an investor for free. If you have $500 in your bank, you can become an investor with this one-sentence instruction:

Download the application “Robinhood” on your smartphone, fund your account with $500, and buy the “SPY” index fund.

Done. Congratulations, you are now an investor. 

Ok, you want a bit more information. Let me give it to you here:

In the United States (and much of the world), companies are owned by the public, represented by shares (a “share” of the business). When the company makes money and grows, it becomes worth more, and your shares grow in value. Robinhood is a “broker” who facilitates these transactions. Robinhood does not charge fees, which lowers the bar of entry on investing. You access “Robinhood” by using your smartphone or computer.

Now, the second part of my single sentence on investing involves buying “SPY”. What is that exactly? SPY represents the S&P 500, which is a combination of 500 of the largest companies in the United States. When you buy the SPY you are buying a little part of each of those 500 companies at the same time. 

Instead of trying to “pick the right stock” you just buy a basket of the best ones. These have returned 7% (after inflation) over the last few decades. 

If you want more info, Google has just about a billion articles about index investing. Time for you, our new business owner, to do some research. 

The Magic and Awe of SPY

SPY is one of the greatest things in the world. When I buy a share of SPY, I am becoming a part-owner of 500 different businesses at the same time. I am buying a piece of Amazon, a part of Apple, a piece of Caterpillar, and a portion of The Clorox Company. At the same time!

When those companies make money, I make money!

Let’s get back to our business owner analogy that this article is based on.

When the business you work for has a surplus, it uses that capital to buy things to make more money. It buys the work of new employees; it buys the land to build a new building. These Investments make them more money. Investment is how the business grows.

Ziggy used his surplus to buy toys. He buys fancy cars, new watches, and clothes. His stuff makes him no money, but it makes him happy for a little while.

Zag used his surplus to buy SPY (and other investments). SPY goes to work every day for him, making him money. Zag knew how to run his life like a business.

The power of SPY and the S&P 500 is one of the best tools for how to run your life like a business.

Helping Ziggy Understand – Opportunity Cost

Ziggy loves his toys. How much have those toys cost him? 

When Ziggy bought a brand new iPod in 2001, how much did that cost?

If you ask Ziggy, he would say $399+tax, because that is what he paid for it.

If you ask Zag, he would say just under $70,000. Why does Zag think like that?

Zag isn’t just thinking about how much it “cost” but about how much of an investment he could have bought with that money instead. If Ziggy had bought $399 of Apple stock instead of the iPod, today (9/27/2018) he would have $69500~. That means the iPod cost almost $70k. 

This line of thinking is how a business person thinks. This is called “analyzing the opportunity cost”:

“Opportunity cost represents the benefits an individual, investor or business misses out on when choosing one alternative over another.”

Investopedia

You can think of all the toys with this same mentality. If you do, you will start to run your life like a business, instead of like a consumer. You are learning how to run your life like a business.

Want an easy, free tool to do these calculations? I’ve got one for you. Welcome to InvestedInstead. Beware- you may never look at consumption like Ziggy again!

The End Game: The Return of Humanity To The Equation

The best part about learning how to run your life like a business is a power that comes with your surplus. One of the best parts of my life is the charity that I can do with the money I make. 

Retake a look at that expenses chart from earlier:

Choosing charity is part of how you can run your life like a charity

Rent vs. Charity

That decision right there, to have low rent** and to have a large amount of charitable giving, comes from an understanding of how to run your life like a business. This has taken years to get to, but I am happy with my progress. This article is about taking control of your financial life.

**Note: This low rent is in notoriously expensive Silicon Valley comes from my ability to understand the market.

Further Reading On How to Run Your Life Like A Business

Hopefully, you are now getting excited about learning how to run your life like a business. You are inspired to be like Zag, relentlessly pursuing career growth and the ability to scale your life’s business at the same time. 

Here are some the absolute best resources for you to continue this journey of learning:

  1. The Story Of The World’s Worst Market Timer: This short article will work to quell your fears about stock market investing by reviewing what would have happened if you invested all of your money on the days before the start of all recent recessions. Very interesting!
  2. Mr. Money Mustache: One of my favorite financial bloggers, has some very worthwhile articles:
    1. Your Money or Your Life
    2. Getting Rich: from Zero to Hero in One Blog Post
    3. Great News: There’s Another Recession Coming
  3. Investopedia: Annual S&P 500 Returns: Investopedia is one of the easiest reads available online regarding all facets of investing

Tools So You Can Run Your Life Like A Business (3x No-Brainers):

  1. Personal CapitalThe easiest (free) way to track your money and your investments
  2. RobinhoodThe easiest way to buy SPY, the name of the fund that tracks the S&P 500
  3. InvestedInstead: The easiest way to put your consumer purchases into perspective

Additional Tools to Run Your Life Like A Business:

  1. VanguardVanguard gives you the ability to buy the S&P 500 and a wealth of other index funds at a small cost. More established than Robinhood.
  2. Compound Interest CalculatorInvestment return is a crucial facet of how to run your life like a business. Remind yourself of its power here.

Disclaimer on Tool Links:

If you click on the links for Robinhood or Personal Capital, you will be taken to a signup page with an offer. For Robinhood, if you sign up using that link, we both get a share of a company, chosen at random by Robinhood. For Personal Capital, we both get $20, assuming you link an investment account (such as your new Robinhood account).

Since these are mutually beneficial, I figure it’s fair for me to include in this free article. If you want to skip them, feel free!

I think that these tools are great for how to run your life like a business, but there are alternatives out there.

Auto Sales Training: Mastering Sales

Auto Sales Training: Mastering Sales

I’ve done your dirty work for you. I’ve read the top “Auto Sales Training” articles that populate Google’s front page.

The truth is, I’m disappointed. Although I have no problem with people selling products and services (obviously), I found that they all provided little value to the readers. Short, basic articles, with little in the way of originality.

I can do better. My site, Car Sales Story, can provide auto sales training that has:

  1. Strategies, not just motivation
  2. Game plans, not just ideas
  3. Guidance*, not just a push

*Go to the end of the article for a bit more explanation on this!

Auto Sales Training

This article will be pulling information and summarizing the ideas that I’ve shared so far in this site’s 20 or so articles in the “Mastering Sales” category. 

These articles comprise my comprehensive auto sales training program.

My hope is that these articles will drive you to learn strategies and game plans on how to step your car sales up to the next level. There are people making $100k-$400k doing this job. I’m here to open the door on how it’s done.

Your job, at the car dealership, is to sell.

The hard work of engineering and marketing the product has been handled, the showroom’s lease has been paid, and it’s time for you to shine. You are the glue that holds the customer to the product, the conductor who directs the customer’s experience. You must encourage visits, handle objections, and prove the value of the product. 

Is Car Sales a Good Career?

This article has a simple thesis: Car sales is one of the best “low barriers of entry” careers that holds the potential for becoming financially independent at a young age.

 I love this article because the math speaks for itself.

In this table below, you will see three columns. The first is your predicted income, annually before tax. The second column is the total after-tax money that you will take home monthly. In this thought experiment, we are going to invest all of your money that you make (read assumptions about room and board above- this is to allow us to compare it against a 4-year college degree in which “room and board” are paid for). The third column, therefore, is the end of year net worth after the monthly savings. This math is very easy to replicate with a compound interest calculator.

Here are the results:

some math that explains why i think car sales is a good career

 

Holy… at the end of the 4th year, you would have, on average, over a quarter million dollars. According to this site, the average Californian college graduate starts their working life with ~$21k of debt. That means that our college kid graduates with a net worth that is almost $300k less than our car sales guy.

The math is striking, and the point is salient. In this world of over-leveraged university students that are struggling to make ends meet, the car sales career stands in stark financial contrast.

Car Sales Training – An Overview

This article (my first ever on Car Sales Story) serves to give an overview of the different positions in the sales department. This is a critical part of your auto sales training. The main jobs include Floor Salesperson, Internet Salesperson, Sales Manager, and Finance Manager. It’s incredibly important to have the lay of the land when working at a dealership.

Employees that don’t understand the hierarchy have only a rudimentary idea of what “moving up” means. You need to understand what your position requires of you, and what your next position will require. The levels of the dealership need to be clear to you, so that you can develop a plan on how to get promoted and make more money. 

My intro to the floor sales position requires a review:

Floor salespeople work on the “sales floor” and take care of mostly walk-in customers. You should expect to make $50k-$100k your first year if you follow the training and work at a decent dealer. I made $108k my first year in a major metro doing floor sales, but I worked my absolute tail off.

To start off, the car business has a growth structure built into it. “The floor” feeds directly into upper positions, and many of the corporate heads got their start at the bottom of the ladder.

Floor sales people are some of the hardest workers at the dealership. It’s where you are going to hone your skills, alternating between succeeding and failing. Pair your day to day life with the car sales training on this site and you will set yourself up for success.

Floor sales are also unofficially the proving grounds for management and upper positions at the dealership. After a year or two working the floor, you will be making good money but will be lusting after the better jobs.

Car Salesman Job Description For Resume

In order to excel at selling cars, you need to land a job in the first place. This article, called “Car Salesman Job Description For Resume”, was my foray into helping new salespeople land a gig.

I don’t think I’ve yet found a better summary of the essentials for landing your first car sales job, which I’m proud of. My favorite part to write was the section on “What Do Hiring Managers Hate”. I’ve interviewed plenty of people that would have been well served to have read my article before showing up!

The first red flag is arrogance. If you have something to be proud of that the hiring manager should know, fill them in. Don’t boast too heavily, don’t “beat your chest”. Although hiring managers like hiring successful reps for their potential to “plug and play” (less need for training), they don’t like hiring reps that will mess the mojo. You don’t know how the new store works, regardless of how long you’ve been in the business. Come in with a beginners mind.

The second huge red flag is trash talking your previous manager. No hiring manager wants to hire a problem, and regardless of what your previous manager was like, it’s best to let it go. Mentioning that you had a disagreement with your last manager is fine if absolutely necessary, but leave it at that. I’ve seen otherwise great candidates get passed up because they spoke ill of their previous manager. No one wants to hire a “problem employee”.

How to Sell More Cars at a Dealership

In this article, named “How to Sell More Cars at a Dealership”, I tried to break down some of the preconceived notions that readers may have about the most successful people at the dealerships. Auto sales training is about looking at the dealership’s business with clarity and understanding where you can fit in.

Although I still like the section on “Chuck the Closer”, I think the strongest part of the article is the review of “buying signs” that new salespeople need to be on the lookout for:

  1. They drive in to the dealer in a car that is detailed and empty. They have a title in their hand
  2. They drive in to the dealer in a same-brand car. Drive an old Toyota into a new Toyota car lot
  3. They have printouts of the car they want to see
  4. They have visited other same brand dealers today
  5. They called in and made an appointment for a specific stock number
  6. They seem nervous but excited
  7. They brought their family or friends with them
  8. They are on the lot circling around a car, looking at it intently and pointing
  9. They walk onto the sales floor from service with a “customer pay” repair order in hand
  10. They know all the option names (“I think I’m looking for a… Premium Plus Technology Package with Sports Seats, in Teak Brown”)

That article is full of great advice on seeing the sale before it happens.

Car Sales Career – The Mega Post

Once you are selling cars, you need to plot out your career.

The last thing you want to do is test drives for the rest of your life. I think that my article “Car Sales Career” is one of the strongest on the site since it lays out a simple game plan on how to progress in your career. My auto sales training articles resonate with me most when they address questions that I had when I was starting out. 

For six plus years, I’ve been preaching a different brand of car sales from what you’ve heard in the media. The standard line is that car sales is about head to head negotiation, a total grind of a job that pits buyers versus sellers. You work your butt off all day every day, make a living, and slowly gain a few extra pounds from all the pizza.

Mr. Car Sales Story’s advice? Almost all of that is nonsense: Your current idea of car sales is slow, inefficient, and holding you back. You could be making tens of thousands of dollars more while working less.

What happens when you can make more and work less? You stick with car sales instead of giving up after 6 months to a year like so many people before you. You get a jump start on making a strong living and quickly line your path to financial freedom.

And the effects are surprising: if you can work this advice into your career early on, you could have an incredibly lucrative (and relatively short) working life, leveraging a network of contacts to sell millions of dollars in cars every year.

Car Sales Tips Overcoming Objections

The art of overcoming objections is a critical part of effective communication in your auto sales training. Many people think overcome objections is a matter of luck. They think some customers will listen to you, some will not. Some are going to be able to be convinced, others are strong headed. This is not the case.

Much of this misunderstanding is rooted in salespeople’s inability to spot “placeholder objections”:

Objections come in two forms, placeholder objections, and honest objections. Placeholder objections are used by customers in place of the real objection. The reason they use placeholder objections can be because they are embarrassed, they feel uncomfortable, or they are trying to be strategic. Here is an example:

Placeholder Objection (What A Customer Says):

“I think this deal sounds great but I really should go grab some food. Feeling a bit hungry”

Honest Objection (What A Customer Means):

“I’ve liked working with you, but I’m not sure if I am ready to pull the trigger. I want to slow down and think this over. Also, I’m hungry.”

Common Sales Objections And Rebuttals – On The Lot

The previous article about overcoming objections sparked quite a bit of debate on Reddit when I posted it there. I followed that article up with “Common Sales Objections and Rebuttals”, which has examples of conversation tracks to use in difficult situations. I like the entirety of the content, but it’s very contextual. Each section is a response to the previous section, which makes it hard to quote. That being said, I do think that the review at the end of the article summarized things well. The summary is strong mainly because of the preceding conversational strategies that I delved into. 

The secret to overcoming many objections is persistence and a positive attitude. If you come across as a problem solver with good intentions, you are likely to receive positivity back. If you come across as a hard-ass process-follower with no room to compromise, people are going to reject you. Worse, they may simply use you for a test drive and then promptly forget you ever existed.

The beautiful saving grace is the fact that, most customers are pretty decent to work with. They each have their quirks and their sticking points, but we all do. Most customers are just looking for someone honest to learn from and do business with. If you always come back to providing value, you should be set.

Car Sales Referrals: The Ultimate Guide

One of my latest and greatest, this next article reviews a key component of auto sales training. Referrals are the underlying X-factor for the most successful salespeople (regardless of industry).

In the article I provide a number of actionable tips to increase your referral pipeline:

Tip 3-b: Linkedin Articles

In my area, most of the professionals who purchase cars from me have a Linkedin account that they check semi-regularly. Of those people, very few ever post any type of content (other than the occasional status update). That being said, many of them read their Linkedin newsfeed!

This means that, if you are inclined, you can reach many of your customers with a positive message indirectly with an article that you’ve put together. I’ve had customers come to see me during their service visit, years after buying their car, just to tell me how much they liked my article about my mum’s incredible careerLinkedin articles are an incredible, free, scalable tool for maintaining relationships. Consider adding authoring Linkedin articles to your toolbox for generating extra car sales referrals!

 

Auto Sales Training: Read, Think, Execute

So there you have it. From “Zero to Hero” in one auto sales training site. 

If you follow the advice I have in the articles above, you will be able to:

  1. Decide if Car Sales is Right For You
  2. Learn the General Outline of The Dealership
  3. Get a Job at a Dealer
  4. Sell More Cars Every Month
  5. Plot Your Career
  6. Master Identifying Placeholder vs. Honest Objections
  7. Understand the Customer’s Perspective on Objectives
  8. and Build a Book of Business (Secret to Wealth)

If you want more help, I’ve got two hints:

First, subscribe to my blog here to continue your education:

Secondly, consider contacting me for coaching (free first session)!

See you on the lot,

Andrei Smith

POSTSCRIPT: SIDE NOTE ON #3*

Stopping at #3 for a moment- this is one part of the site that hasn’t been fully fleshed out that I’m hoping to put more time into. I’ve spent the last 5 months building out the auto sales training, but now it’s time to evolve!

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Visitor Totals

I’ve reached a point now on Car Sales Story where I am getting 50+ daily visitors and ~200 daily page views. Compared to well-established sites these are rookie numbers, but it does show interest in the content, and a proof of effort for me. Not bad for ~4 months of writing.

The next steps for Car Sales Story are going to involve an active coaching business. I hope to attract some of my readers (you, in particular) to cross that boundary, from reader to a participant. I want to coach you, essentially.

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: How to Entice

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: How to Entice

What is the best way to compose your internet car sales email templates?

Some of my other articles with email templates can be found at these links:
Follow Up Email #1
Follow Up Email #2
Full Follow Up Script
BDC Templates

How can you capture the attention of your customers and hook them into coming to your dealership?

Here at Car Sales Story I’ve addressed the need for proper email templates before. I’ve found many dealerships have lackluster templates full of spelling and grammatical errors that can severely damage their first impression with a customer.

In the United States, there are many places where you can still sell cars online without ample internet car sales training.

 

That is changing. Customers want fast responses, they want professional writing, and they want the price in the email.

This is the bare minimum required. Fast, clear, with price.

What if you want to take your sales to the next level? Is there a way you can write emails (internet car sales email templates specifically) that will garner more responses from better customers?

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: Make Someone Hungry

I’ve been receiving emails for a few days from André Chaperon, one of the co-founders of Tiny Little Businesses. I was lead to André by Ian from FIMP (who I’ve mentioned before). André is master marketer, and drafts some of the best emails I’ve ever read.

The beauty of his communications is that I want to read his emails every time they pop into my mailbox. Check out this recent one (please excuse me for pasting it in it’s entirety):

From: André Chaperon <hello@tinylittlebusinesses.com>
Date: September 8, 2018 at 2:00:08 AM PDT
To: andreismithnow@gmail.com
Subject: [LEM] Make Someone Hungry (Part 1 of 2)

 

Hey Andrei,

 

THE ANSWER TO the subject line is the (SIMPLE) SECRET to creating suspense in emails.

 

And suspense in emails is the key ingredient to the narrative engine of your email sequence.

 

… the REASON for people to keep opening your emails and reading to the end.

 

You know … like you’re doing here 🙂

 

I teach this in detail within ARM (with lots of examples)…

 

But the big secret is already in this email.

 

And it has been sprinkled in clear sight in most of the previous emails I’ve sent you so far.

 

Think you know what it is?

 

Here’s another clue.

 

It’s the REASON WHY you’re still reading.

 

Readers are human, and humans are programmed (hardwired) to wait for answers to questions they’ve been exposed to.

 

It’s called the Zeigarnik Effect.

 

You ask a question. Or better yet, IMPLY a question, but then DON’T GIVE THE ANSWER.

 

You move on.

 

It keeps people on the hook, so to speak.

 

That’s the simple secret to creating suspense (it builds more and more TENSION).

 

And suspense, tension, drama … it all works to create ATTENTION.

 

Which is the whole point, right?

 

I have two killer examples for you. The first one I read 8 years ago, and it blew me away.

 

In fact it completely changed the game for me.

 

Myself and 3 business partners run this small exclusive mastermind called Ocean’s Four.

 

We run it once, sometimes twice a year.

The last one was in Orlando a few weeks ago (as I write this email):

 

We charge clients $5K for a ONE HOUR hot seat (this is over two days, and we only take 8 people, max; excluding bringing an additional business partner if they choose).

 

This last one, I purchased every attendee a (fiction) book. The same book that completely changed the game for me.

 

… and the same book I’ll share with you in the next email.

 

Same time, same place.

 

Andre “suspense, tension, drama” Chaperon

So what’s special about this email?

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: Chaperon’s Trick

First things first. This email has a different intent than our internet car sales email templates that we are looking to craft. He is selling an email marketing course, and his customers therefore have different needs. He needs his customers to fall in love with his style, and he is selling a unique product. 

When crafting internet car sales email templates, we are dealing with a customer that areoften efficiency focused. Many internet customers think of dealing with dealerships as a net negative and want to minimize their contact. We can utilize our understanding of this fact to create a frictionless sale.

So with that difference in mind, what can we learn from Chaperon? Here are a few valuable strategies that I can summarize:

  1. His emails hook me. From the subject line to the quick flow of the message, the emails are easy to consume on an iPhone or tablet.
  2. His emails are clean, with no extra words or filler.
  3. They often end with a question or a hook, designed to increase retention.

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: Examples for you to Steal

Using what I’ve learned from Chaperon’s emails, here is my internet car sales email templates for you to steal and change:

Subject Line: My “Evil” Experiment

 

Hi Customer Name,

 

This email could get me in a lot of trouble.

 

Most dealerships are built around tricking customers into paying too much every step of the way.

 

They think that asymmetrical information is how to make profit.

 

They think that customers don’t know how to shop around. They think you aren’t doing your homework.

 

I don’t think that’s the case.

 

Instead of betting on your ignorance, I’m going to bet on your knowledge.

 

I think you know just how to get a deal.

 

I think that you are just waiting to run into someone that will respect your time.

 

So here’s my experiment.

 

I’m going to cut to the chase, and provide you numbers, fair numbers, right below (good for 72 hours!):

 

— INSERT PRICING HERE —

 

Fair right? Best part? There is a little more on top of that.

 

I get a ton of push back on this experiment from the corporate big wigs.

 

“It’s not how it’s done! Don’t rock the boat” They say…

 

I’m bucking that. I’m betting on the fact that you appreciate transparency.

 

The only way this works, my fair price experiment, is if I can convince you to reward me with your business.

 

So to make that happen, I’m going to throw in another $500 on top of the quoted price above, if you do business today. 

 

Let me know if we can be partners in changing the way people buy cars.

 

Thanks,

Andrei “Change the Game” Smith
Call me @ 408-***-****

What makes this email different?

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: Being Different

Check out a screenshot from Mr. Chaperon’s email on my iPhone:

I'm trying to emulate Andre Chaperon's emails in my new internet car sales templates

Makes you scroll…

I want to keep reading! It’s clear. No border, short sentences. There is even bolded parts that entice me to keep reading.

That’s only the start. The true genius? He keeps me reading with sentences that plant questions in my mind. Check out this sentence:

“But the big secret is already in this email.”

That sentence is all Andre needed to plant a seed in his potential client’s minds. They are no longer just passively reading. They are actively on the hunt, looking for this “secret”. 

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: Sprinkle in Personality

My favorite part of Chaperon’s emails?

Andre “swipe away” Chaperon

Andre “suspense” Chaperon

Andre “suspense, tension, drama” Chaperon

Andre “email superhero” Chaperon

These signatures give Andre character. Note that I’ve never met the guy, never even seen a video recording of him.

That being said… I still feel like I know the guy. I know he is funny. I know he is passionate. I know that he is good at what he does.

That is evidence of a marketing superpower. Just a sprinkle of personality in the boundless plains of soulless, boring emails and instantly you stand out.

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

When I started seeing Andre’s email pop into my inbox, I knew he was on to something.

Just from his initial teaser emails I already have had the opportunity to imitate him (this email garnered an immediate response from the customer!):

Dear Jack,
 
I’m just as excited about the 2019 Audi A8 design as you are. What specific information did you want me to get for you?

I’ve had the chance to drive a pre-release version, and it is groundbreaking.

 
The 2019 A8 is going to change what you think is possible in a luxury car.
 
Let me know how I can help,
 
Andrei “Information Provider” Smith

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: Other Imitators

Ian over at FIMP was the first person to ever bring up Andre’s training. After reading a few emails of Andre’s (like the one above), I went back and started reading some of Ian’s emails I’ve received.

Notice any similarities?

From: “Ian @ FIMP” <ian@StoppingScams.com>
Date: May 30, 2018 at 8:00:50 PM PDT
To: andreismithnow@gmail.com
Subject: [FIMP] You’re about to miss out

I’ve had a massive amount of people reaching out to work with me since I released my new training: How to Reclaim at Least 20 Hours of Your Life Per Week.

 

This is by far the highest-value skill I’ve developed over the years.

 

Not SEO, PPC, copywriting, conversion optimization, or anything else.

 

(although all of those have been extremely valuable too!)

 

Nothing is more precious than time. It’s the only resource that we can never get back.

 

If you want to reclaim at least 20 hours of your life every week without low-quality, undependable labor…

 

Without having to go broke trying to build a team…

 

Without having to fire 3 out of 4 people that you hire because they’re just not dependable…

 

Without feeling like it will take too much work or cost too much to convert your business’ growth into something passive…

 

If you’re tired of working endlessly without seeing the growth you want…

 

Never feeling like you have the time to catch your breath or “recharge”…

 

If you’ve watched the training and you want to snatch up one of the remaining strategy sessions, apply here.

 

Cheers,
Ian

P.S. The free training will only be up for a little longer!

Short, punchy sentences. I especially like his “P.S.” at the end of the email that throws in one last hook for you to respond.

Internet Car Sales Email Templates: The Point

The point of all this is to change the way you look at writing emails. Remember that your job in the Internet Sales department (or BDC) is to start constructive conversations that convert into appointments. If you take the email strategies I’ve outlined in this post and use it to change the way you write your emails I bet you’ll end up way ahead of the competition.

Let me know what you think. If you like this content go ahead and subscribe below:

One-on-One Coaching: Recent Lessons

One-on-One Coaching: Recent Lessons

A few days ago I met with one of my mentors for some one-on-one coaching. My August sales had gone well, with strong volume and happy customers. I carried little intention into the meeting, rather opting to create an open space to receive whatever my coach had on his mind. (In place of my mentors true name, we will be using the pseudonym “George”.)

Lucky for me (and now for you as well), he had some wisdom ready to share.

While I won’t edit heavily what he shared with me, I will extrapolate on the things that he brought to me. In just under 30 minutes we covered a range of topics, from controlling our tendency for autopilot, the danger of distractions, and bedtimes.

Without further ado, let’s jump in.

One-on-One Coaching: Discipline From Your Toothbrush

George has a passion for discipline that he focuses on in all of our one-on-one coaching sessions. I believe that being a veteran profoundly focuses his view on the subject.

In George’s eyes, freedom is born out of self-discipline.

In our training session, George encouraged me to practice self-discipline both at home and at work. Discipline is a muscle that needs to be exercised, and he shared with me three easy “workouts.” These behaviors would, he believed, allow us to remind ourselves that our mind is in control of our body’s desires (and not vice-versa).

With a little work, he said, we can remind ourselves not to coast on autopilot.

The first trick? Switching hands when brushing our teeth.

Switching hands? How will that help…

When you brush your teeth, your mind lets go of control and your muscle memory takes over. The task, like so many other parts of our life, is relegated to autopilot.

The first thing you will notice when you switch hands is just how strange it feels. How much you need to think to accomplish the task. You will feel more sensation and notice things subtleties of brushing.

This trick, George said, reminds you about everything in your life that you are relegating to autopilot.

Are you introducing yourself to customers on autopilot?

Are you walking into your office and saying “good morning” on autopilot?

How about your personal life? Do arrive home and greet your partner on autopilot?

Swapping hands while brushing your teeth can serve as a reminder of just how able your body is to take over the day-to-day tasks in your life. Although this is natural, it can be dangerous. Someone that is on autopilot does not take risks. They don’t “surprise and delight” their customers.

Salespeople on autopilot do the bare minimum required of them. 

One-on-One Coaching: Discipline Countdown

Discipline comes in little pieces.

“Here’s the other one,” George said, “try doing an alarm clock countdown every morning. When the alarm clock goes off, start a countdown in your head…’1, 2, 3, up!’ and get going”

I love this habit.

When the alarm goes off in the morning, I’m just as liable as anyone to slam the snooze button. If instead I do this mental countdown, I am able to prepare myself for a successful day.

It’s the little things.

At the end of the day, George stressed, discipline is a skill you must develop with focused effort. Discipline is your ability to overcome autopilot.

One-on-One Coaching: Distractions

Distractions are the antithesis of discipline. George took a serious tone when addressing distractions.

“No matter what your distraction, be it TV, Internet, Videogames, or other people, you need to take back control,” George said, “Whether at work or at home, distractions will destroy your discipline”

As a way to combat these distractions, he gave me these simple questions to ask myself. When you notice yourself getting distracted, stop and ask yourself:

Is this (what I’m doing right now) helping me, hindering me, or simply neutral (keeping me stagnate)?

If you can catch yourself from the distraction (and the ensuing mental autopilot), you might have a chance of avoiding the pitfall!

I’ve found that I am distracted most when I’m tired. As the day grows older and the sun sets, my discipline goes out the window. My clean diet turns towards high-sugar sweets and my half hour of Netflix becomes a marathon. How often does that happen in the morning?

My Miracle Morning

As such, I’ve been trying my best to become a morning person. The idea was first sparked by a colleague who had read the book “My Miracle Morning.” I hadn’t heard of this book, although the idea was vaguely familiar. Although I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, the advice seems to boil down to having a well planned out and effective morning that is identical everyday.

This is what I’ve come up with:

one-on-one coaching often inspires me to make checklists like this one

Return of the iOS Notes app!

Simple right?

I’ve found that the simplicity helps, and the results are great. If I am able to wrangle my morning into this schedule, I feel a warm glow the whole day. My work mind is clear. After work, my mind is at ease as the bulk of my self-care and tasks were done first thing that morning.

One-on-One Coaching: Focus on Communication

Since I am in sales and management, George always focuses on communication when we meet. How can you get your message across in a way that builds up, not tears down, a relationship? He gave me a simple list of internal questions to keep an eye on when delivering a message:

  • Who is receiving my message?
  • Why do they need this message?
  • How can I deliver clearly what I want to communicate? (concentrate on the connection, always!)

These simple questions help align me when communicating. Some customers want to have a luxury experience, while others only care about efficiency. We all need to constantly remind ourselves to tailor our communication to our target audience.

The second question (why do they need this message?) can reveal when your ego has slipped into your communications. Sometimes I will find myself telling customers things that they don’t need to hear, simply to satisfy my ego.

A few days ago, during the Labor Day weekend sale, I had a customer become disgruntled. The sales process had been rough, with unwieldy hand-offs and long wait times. I wasn’t proud of how his experience went.

When I gave him a follow up call, I was ready for him to lay into me with his disappointments. As soon as we got on the phone, his disposition was clear.

“I don’t know if you know this Andrei, but I am a customer service consultant who specializes in end-to-end luxury experiences. I can tell you that my experience on Saturday was decidedly not…”

He continued, rehashing what had gone wrong. Even though I had seen this coming, I could feel the hot coal of anger burning in my hands as he listed the problems in detail.

I wanted to stop him and explain that there was little that could have been done, that the weekend was busy, that “at least he got a good deal.” None of these things would have helped. The “Why” for communicating these things would have only been to alleviate my own stress. The worst part? I probably would have derailed the entire conversation and made repairing our relationship difficult.

Choosing a Different Method

So instead of explaining, I asked for his advice. I politely apologized for his experience after he had finished “emptying his cup” and asked for him to give me some practical advice on how to improve. Immediately the entire conversation changed. Now my customer was in his element, giving advice and commenting on the parts that went well. He went from giving me a 1-star Yelp review to acting like I was one of his paying clients. He went as far to complement a few parts of our process that he liked, which I imagine is simply a habit of positivity from his day job.

The best part? He had some great advice.

One-on-One Coaching: Stress

“We overuse the word stress”

George was certain of this. Stress can come from demands or threats, and often feels like a mix of both. By isolating what is bothering us, we can often find simple answers. Much of “stress” is actually procrastination.

Try to simplify. Either the task can be completed on time or it can’t. Either result can be worked with. If it can be done, get to work. If it’s not possible, it’s time for you to give a mea culpa and figure out your next step.

Stress should be used as an internal signal that work needs to be done. It shouldn’t be treated as a sign of defeat.

One-on-One Coaching: I’m a Believer

I continue to believe that one-on-one coaching is one of the most powerful things that you can do for yourself. If you want to work with me directly, shoot me a message on the contact page, or click the link below.

If you would like to start working with me, reach out here: https://carsalesstory.com/coaching/

Car Sales Referrals: The Ultimate Guide

Car Sales Referrals: The Ultimate Guide

The dream of a sustained book of business is attractive to any salesperson. A self-filling, income-generating, free-time-enabling pipeline of customers. Referral customers are the best type of customers. They come in trusting you, wanting to work with you. Getting them in the first place is the only hard part! If only there were a guide (maybe even an ultimate guide) to car sales referrals…

Overview of Car Sales Referrals

Every salesperson wants referral business. When starting out it can feel like they are a secret group only reachable after a decade (or more) in the business. When I started, I was told the stories of the “old guy” who just “picks up the phone” in order to sell 30+ cars a month:

“Have you heard of Jimmy up at the Benz store in Fremont? That guy just reads the paper all day, sitting next to his phone. He picks up when his referrals call, that’s it! No fresh ups, no other leads. Guy is pulling in twenty grand a month sitting on his ass!”

At which point someone else will chime in:

“Yeah, true, but Jimmy has been there for sixteen years! Of course he has all the referral traffic. Here we are stuck with these grindy ups…”

So, is referral business out of your reach until you’ve put in a decade of work? No. My first referral deal was only a few months after my first day on the job.

Can you optimize your sales process for maximizing referral business? Yes. My method is defined and distinct, personalized to my style of selling. I will teach you my process in this article. I hope that you take this process, extract the applicable advice for your situation, and discard the rest. Use this article to brainstorm how you are going to build your pipeline.

Car Sales Referrals Step 1: Building the Relationship

You will never build a book on car sales referrals if you don’t master building relationships. This a multi-step process, one that some of the most popular self-help books of all time are centered around. We will overview building relationships in three parts, beginning with the initial connection.

The Initial (Personal) Connection

Customers that send referrals are networkers. They typically have large friend groups and like to share with them their experiences. Often they are relatively extroverted.

These types of people generally want to form a distinct and memorable personal connection. This begins with the “seed” of the relationship. Some topic or theme that you two have in common that lowers the guard of everyone involved. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of the things that have become the “seeds” of my long-term car sales relationships:

And that’s just a start.

My best advice on this is to be well-read and have hobbies (this is coincidentally my basic advice on how to live a good life!)

The second option, if you can’t find a theme or topic, is to find a person in common.

The excellent part about this? The longer you sell in one area, the easier it is to find a person in common. After 6+ years in the same area, I’ve sold a car to someone at just about every medium and large company in my area. That means that with a quick Linkedin search, I can find a 2nd-degree connection with just about anyone.

If you are struggling to find something or someone in common, I’ve discovered a simple backup strategy. I will always try to find someone they are close to that is at a similar age as I am. This strategy is most natural with men and women in their 50s because their children are usually around my age. If my customer can look at me in the same lense they look at their children with; they are more likely going to see me in a positive light. Gaffes are more likely to be forgiven, plus my work experiences may be of interest to them.

Professional Service

In a sense, I’ve spoken about professionalism at length in my mega-post so that I won’t drill down to much here. If you are seeking referrals from your customers, they first need to think of you as a professional. Regardless of if they like you or not, very few people are going to send a friend or coworker to someone that isn’t going to act professionally. By giving you, their salesperson, access to their social circles, they are rubber stamping you as someone worth doing business with.

Think about it this way. If you sent your boss to a car salesman, you would hope that the salesman is presentable and professional. Otherwise, it’s not worth the risk to the referrer’s reputation!

Make sure you have these three mastered before seeking referral business:

  • Product knowledge
  • Business knowledge
  • Professional dress

You won’t necessarily have that day one. Frankly, if you are starting right out of high school, you may not have these three things mastered for half a year! Until you have these learned, building a book of business should be on hold.

Types of Customers that want a Relationship

Don’t chase after every relationship, as many customers just want a transactional experience. That being said, also be sure to not judge your customers preemptively. It’s your job to follow the steps above to try to establish a long-term relationship. If your effort is not reciprocated? Don’t worry. Many customers would just as happily buy from a vending machine… and you aren’t going to change that.

You can graph your customers in your mind. If you use this chart you can easily remember how different customers have different desires in their buying experience:

the potential for car sales referrals will depend on where your customers lie on this chart!

You need to tailor your presentation to your customer!

Depending on the group, your handling should differ. The Y-axis represents the customer’s expectation of a “luxury experience,” and the X-axis represents the speed at which they want the transaction to take place. I’ve broken down your customers into a few groups and explained them below. I’ve found that creatively thinking about my customer’s unique needs can help me tailor myself to them, which in turn helps me generate more car sales referrals!

  1. “The Professional”
    • These customers are the easiest to earn referrals from, as they are “business” minded. They want an efficient experience and are not too picky about the little things. They already want the product, and if you can deliver the right thing at the right speed, you will earn their trust.
  2. “The VIP”
    • This is your manager’s friend or the referral from corporate… The person with the mansion on the hill. He or she will typically want the red carpet rolled out for them. They expect you to be on top of your game. The effort is made worth it by their networks, as these customers generally know the type of high-end customers that you can only dream of.
  3. “The Retiree”
    • These customers are not always actually retired, but they act like it. They are happy to come in over several visits, and they do not want to feel rushed. Compromises are not their favorite thing. That being said, these customers can be extremely loyal, as they will often find very few people that are patient enough to handle their barrage of questions. Take your time and make sure to schedule them to come in on weekdays.
  4. “The Undecided”
    • These customers come from all walks of life, but their unifying factor is the velocity at which they make decisions. They don’t expect to be treated like royalty, but they can also take months to buy a car. In most cases they won’t become very attached to anyone as they float from dealer to dealer, seeking the perfect vehicle that fits every need with no fluff. A problematic group to master, and in my experience, some of the least likely to give referrals.

Car Sales Referrals Step 2: Maintaining the Relationship

The real work begins after you’ve built the relationship (and sold the product). Maintaining relationships is not tricky, but it does require work. Consistent, high-quality work. The saving grace is that the work that is necessary to maintain relationships is infinitely scalable.

Tip 1: Save the Number!

This tip is both incredibly simple and most often ignored. When you sell a customer a large product (car, software subscription, house). save their number in your phone! Let me give you an excellent example of what a proper entry looks like in your iPhone’s contact book:

Correctly utilizing your contact book is key to generating car sales referrals!

John Doe is one handsome engineer

When John Doe above calls me, I’ll remember who is. How long does it take to make this entry? 1-2 minutes. 

Tip 2: Send a Picture

This one is car sales specific. When a customer buys a car from you, ask to take their photo. Assign it to their contact, and send them the picture. They hopefully will post it on their social media. Even if they don’t, they are much more likely to remember you when they look back at the photo of their new car on its first day.

Tip 3: Linkedin

If you take care of Step #1 this one will be a breeze with the free automation tools available on Linkedin:

A picture of how linkedin is a great tool for maximizing your car sales referrals

Linkedin is an excellent tool for maximizing your car sales referrals

Download the app on your phone and allow it to pull your contacts. Then click the ones that like you. I don’t recommend clicking the “Connect to all X” button, as there are undoubtedly some customers that will not want to connect!

Also, make sure to avoid inviting people to Linkedin that don’t already have an account! Linkedin will prompt you to do that, and they have been in trouble in the past.

Tip 3-b: Linkedin Articles

In my area, most of the professionals who purchase cars from me have a Linkedin account that they check semi-regularly. Of those people, very few ever post any type of content (other than the occasional status update). Although few post content, many of them read their Linkedin newsfeed!

If you are inclined, you can reach many of your customers with a positive message indirectly with an article that you’ve put together. I’ve had customers come to see me during their service visit, years after buying their car, to tell me how much they liked my article about my mum’s incredible career. Linkedin articles are an incredible, free, scalable tool for maintaining relationships. Consider adding authoring Linkedin articles to your toolbox for generating new car sales referrals!

Tip 4: Facebook (Demographic Dependent!)

Depending on what you sell, a Facebook group can be a great tool to maintain a relationship with your customers. Not my expertise (although I do have a group). If you want to see, this done well check out the Louisville Chevy Dude. The guy is a fantastic and diligent self-marketer.

Car Sales Referrals Step 3: Asking for the Referral

Asking for the referral is the most straightforward step. As long as you have built strong relationships and maintained them well, you will grow your customer base over time. I do have one great template to share that you can use to directly ask for a referral:

Hi *Customer Name*!

Wow! It’s been X months since you picked up your awesome blue Q7! I almost couldn’t believe how fast the time has flown by.

Did you have any questions about functionality or features that you haven’t figured out? I’d love to help out! Just shoot me a text @ 408-555-1111.

By the way, we have started a small referral program at our dealer that I wanted to let you know about. If you send in a family, friend, or coworker (please no arch-enemies!) that buys a car, we will reward with you a thank you gift to show our thanks. Our current gift is a full professional detail for your Q7 and a full tank of gas!

Thanks again for your time reading this email,
*Your Name*

Simple. Feel free to steal and edit it to fit your tone! Let me know if you have a suggestion for a car sales referrals request template.

Review: The Ultimate Guide to Car Sales Referrals

Master the initial connection to start your relationships, then master scaleable tools to maintain them. Take every customer as an opportunity to sell three cars. One today and at least two down the road. Referral business has changed my whole way of doing business for the better, don’t let the possibility pass you by!

If you have any ideas for maximizing car sales referrals drop a comment below!