Automotive BDC Selling Extended Warranties

Automotive BDC Selling Extended Warranties

The Automotive BDC is one of the underutilized profit centers of the car dealership.

Dealerships need F&I (Finance and Insurance) gross profit to remain profitable as a business. That means that dealerships need to sell extended warranties, financing, and other after-market products in order to stay afloat. 

How does the Automotive BDC fit into that? 

I’ve been reading a dealership book by Max Zanan, and I came across a point that I haven’t thought of before:

When a customer checks out a car but doesn’t buy that day, it is expected that the salesperson does follow up. That’s normal.

On the flipside, when a customer says no to an F&I product, such as an extended warranty, very little (if any) follow up is ever done.

Why is that?

There are two main reasons:

  1. No one wants to do the work (F&I representatives have limited time)
  2. No one wants to change a contract after a customer leaves

BDC Representative Aftermarket Follow Up

It would be pretty easy to set up a process for BDC representatives to follow up with sold customers on aftermarket products. 

The beauty is that every single customer is a “real” customer since the representatives would be calling customers that have already bought cars. 

The calls can be part of ensuring a perfect customer experience if they are handled correctly.

If a customer decides to re-consider an aftermarket product, the Automotive BDC representative can get the F&I manager involved to close the deal. The product can be sold over the phone by taking a credit card and mailing the documents (or e-signing!)

The Process to Set Up the Sales

When an F&I manager pitches the products to a customer unsuccessfully, they will know which products they were “close” on. When a customer says “no” to a list of six products, generally there is one or two that they were on the fence on.

The F&I manager could have an excel list wherein they put the deal number, customer name, the product they were close on, and the offered price.

That list would be emailed the next day to the BDC representatives to call. To give them a reason to call, the management could decide to offer a 15-30% discount on the product.

Here is the script that I would use for the voicemail:

Hi Steve! Congratulations on your purchase yesterday. I hope you are enjoying your new Audi Q5. Your finance manager, Jenny, wanted me to call and offer you a discount on a product that you were considering to add to your purchase. Please give me a call back @ 408-555-5555!

Alternatively:

Hi Steve! Congratulations on your purchase yesterday. I hope you are enjoying your new Audi Q5. We wanted to follow up with you about the warranty you were considering adding to your purchase- we have the ability to discount that today by 20%. It’s a huge savings on this product that I think would be very valuable to you. Call me @ 408-555-5555 if you are interested!

I don’t have any illusion that the closing ratio on these offers will be above 10%. That said, I think with proper communication between the BDC and the finance department could result in a handsome extra profit every month if this strategy was instituted.

Email Template: F&I Follow Up

Here is an email template I would use:

Dear Customer,

Congratulations on your purchase! Please let us know if you have any questions about your new car.

When chatting with my finance manager about your sale, he mentioned that you were on the fence about the 10 year/100k mile warranty. 

He said that it might be worth reaching out to you with an additional discount in case you wanted to add it to you contract. 

While he quoted you $3299 for the warranty, he said that I could discount it to $2899 if you wanted to add it to your contract today.

We don’t have a lot of time before we send everything to the bank, so let me know today!

Thanks,

Andrei Smith

PS. If you have any questions make sure to reach out to us via this email address!

Short, sweet, and to the point!

The BDC selling F&I products is a fresh idea for me, as I haven’t implemented it yet at my dealer. Have you? If so, tell us about it here: 

Ethical Internet Managers, Sales Managers, and BDC

Best Car Salesman Tips

Best Car Salesman Tips

Since I’ve recently published the new book, How to Sell Cars on the Internet, I wanted to get back to sharing some best car salesman tips on this blog. Please note that I say “car salesman” instead of “car salespeople” just because Google likes it better.

The last weekend of the fiscal quarter for my dealership just elapsed. Working up to and through that weekend was an excellent opportunity for me to get back to the basics of closing deals in person while juggling my responsibilities with the steady stream of internet sales traffic.

I maintained my sanity in the hurricane of business that came our way because of a few of the best car salesman tips that I’ve gathered of the last few years. These tips include The Five Minute Rule, The Perfect Process Rule, and The Relationship First rule. If you are looking for guidance on how to have successful Saturdays, check out this article.

I’ll be breaking down these three “best car salesman tips” in this article. If you have any best car salesman tips that you want to share with me, feel free to add a comment at the bottom or send me a message via the contact page.

If you are looking for similar content, I have some articles such as Car Sales Tips Closing a Car Deal and Internet Car Sales tips. If you sell any cars online, I have recently released the new book, How to Sell Cars on the Internet, that is full of great tips.

Best Car Salesman Tips #1: The Five Minute Rule

RULE: Anything that you can do in less than five minutes should be done right away.

There is a laundry list of tasks associated with selling cars that are only tangentially related to the sale. Before, during, and after the deal, the salesperson is required to:

  1. Maintain Meticulous Notes (customer preferences, trade-ins, pricing expectations)
  2. Keep Track of Issues with Inventory (low gas, damage, missing)
  3. Keep Track of Car Keys
  4. Keep Personal Information and Documents Secure
  5. Answer All Incoming Phone Calls (In a Timely Fashion)
  6. Answer All Incoming Texts
  7. Answer All Incoming Emails
  8. Remember When Surveys are Dropping and Then Remind Customers
  9. Set Aside Loaner Cars for Service Customers

The list goes on.

How are we supposed to manage this workflow without letting things slip through the cracks?

The first step is to follow the five-minute rule. If, at any time you are not with a customer, you receive or remember a task that you need to accomplish, get it done right away. If you follow this, you will avoid having a huge pile of little annoying tasks stacking up in the back of your head. These little tasks, like ordering a key for a customer, are like little itchy thorns in your shoe. Although one won’t drive you mad, if you wait until there are five poking your foot, you are going to get uncomfortable.

I’ve found that stress is almost always related to feeling overwhelmed.

When I get overwhelmed at work, it’s rarely big projects that have piled up. It’s generally a million little small tasks that have quietly sat in the background, waiting for my attention.

The stress of these piles of “small things” combined with the outsized consequences of forgetting them is what you can avoid by adopting the five-minute rule.

Best Car Salesman Tips Example: 2nd Key

When you find out that a car that you sold is missing its second key, it can be annoying for both you and your customer. That said, it is generally an easy fix- promise the customer that you will order them a new key and usually their disappointment fades away.

Everything thing is then going to be okay.

Unless you forget to order them a second key!

At my dealership, it takes around 5 minutes to get the due bill, sign it, and make it to the parts department.

Easy right?

So easy that the task just gets written down, not a high priority to finish right away. Why spend the time to order this key right now when you can do it later?

That mindset is precisely what has got me in trouble in the past. Countless times a customer will call a week after taking their car, asking about a second key. I will stammer and delay, trying to remember if it’s here. I’ll end up making an excuse. As soon as the call finishes I run to the parts department and get the key ordered.

Unless… I just write it down to do later. 

Best Car Salesman Tips #2: Perfect Process

RULE: Respond to common problems with the same process, every time. 

What are some common problems you run into at your store? I’m referring to those problems that are part of doing business.

Things like cars with lot damage, customers that want financing but just moved to the country on a Visa, and required password changes.

What do these three things have in common? All three are common problems that occur at my store. This “best car salesman tip #2” is not about the answers to these three problems, as none of them can be prevented. What can be done is to have a perfect process in place.

What do I mean by perfect process?

A perfect process is a set “response” to these “triggers” that is followed by everyone on the team, one hundred percent of the time.

Best Car Salesman Tips: Perfect Process Example

Problem: Foreign national customer wants to buy a car, but has no-credit and is on a Visa. 

Perfect Process: When confronted with a foreign national customer with limited credit that wants to buy a car, follow the following process:

  1. The customer fills out full credit applications and provides two references
  2. Then the customer provides soft copies (via email) of their Visa/Passport/Social Security Card.
  3. Then the finance manager calls the assigned bank representative while forwarding the documents

When we follow that exact process, the deals almost always get approved quickly. If instead, the salesperson does not support this process, the deal ends up being bounced around between the sales desk, the finance department, and the salesperson.

Problem: Salesperson’s sold car has “lot damage.”

Perfect Process: When confronted with a sold car that has “lot damage,” follow the following process:

  1. The salesperson creates a group text with the sales manager and the body shop representative.
  2. The group text should have comprehensive photos of the damage, the stock number of the car, and the customer’s contact information
  3. The salesperson organizes with the customer for when the vehicle should be brought to the body shop to have the damages repaired

This is another example of a process that, if followed correctly, will result in the timely resolution of the problem. There are an infinite number of ways that this situation can end badly if the process is not followed.

Best Car Salesman Tips #3: The Relationship First Rule

The car business does not exist without customers. Customers are people, and people like to be treated correctly.

In the process of selling and repairing cars, problems arise. When issues arise, there are a variety of solutions with varying consequences to the bottom line of the dealership.

My advice? When at all possible, value the relationship with the customer over any one transaction. Always try to make money, but when making money would get in the way of building a strong, lasting customer relationship, shy away.

Think of all the opportunities that we, as salespeople, have to influence our customer’s choices. The most successful salespeople align themselves with their customer. Your customer should think of you as an advisor, not a scam artist.

If you prize the relationship with your customer above all, you will create fans of your business. Customers that are fans of your business will always come back and they will often bring their friends.

Best Car Salesman Tips: Review

I recommend three essential tips. They include The Five Minute Rule, The Perfect Process Rule, and The Relationship First Rule.

Let me know what you think of this content. If you found value in it, consider checking out a few other popular articles. Some of my favorites include one about requesting finance applications, one about creating successful appointments, and this one about overcoming laziness and lack of motivation!

 

 

Best Dress Shoes for Car Salesman

Best Dress Shoes for Car Salesman

Since success in car sales requires the ability to build rapport quickly, every factor of the first impression is important. When a customer meets you for the first time, what signals are you sending? Part of that signaling will depend on your attire, so I wrote this article “Best Dress Shoes for Car Salesman” to help you out!

Are you letting them know, using every tool that you have, that you are a respectable and upstanding salesperson? Someone that they can trust to spend their money with?

What do your shoes look like?

It’s essential for your shoes to be professional.

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?

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.

Best Dress Shoes For Car Salesman: Must-Haves

Car salesmen have unique requirements for their shoes. The shoes themselves need to:

  • Look Professional
  • Handle a Variety of Weather Conditions
  • Be Able to Handle the Asphalt of the Car Lot

We need to find attractive dress shoes that can withstand outdoor conditions

Best Dress Shoes For Car Salesman: The Guide

If you walk into Macy’s or browse Amazon’s shoe section you will be overwhelmed with options of shoes.

The aisles are lined with hundreds of pairs of shoes, with hugely varying prices. Price signaling would lead us to believe that the more expensive the shoe, the better it will perform for us. This is hardly the truth. Here are a few examples of shoes that look good, last a long time, and don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Best Dress Shoes For Car Salesman: Brown Leather Dress Shoes

Clarks is a brand that is well known for a variety of shoes, most commonly the more casual Clarks Chukka Desert Boots. That said, Clarks makes one of the best dress shoes for car salesman- the Tilden Plain Oxford. These shoes look professional, with 100% leather, and a durable sole.

The Tilden Plain Oxford from Clarks

When I say “durable sole” I’m referring to the synthetic bottom of the shoe:

Much More Durable

The Amazon feedback seems pretty positive as well:

These Clarks shoes are hands down the BEST dress shoe I have ever owned. I’m already shopping for pairs in other colors/styles! I’m on my feet in these most of the day, and they really cut down on my knee and back pain. They’re super comfortable and have a stylish look. I can’t say enough good things about these shoes or this company. Clarks has earned a customer for life!

Note- I’ve found the shoes above to run a bit wide. Consider sizing down a half size when you order a pair.

Best Dress Shoes For Car Salesman: Black Leather Dress Shoes

For the black leather dress shoes, I still recommend Clarks Tilden Oxfords (Black). The combination of the price point ($50-$100), the quality, and the adherence to our three car sales requirements make them the best shoe that I can recommend.

The reviews on Amazon seem to agree:

For the price, these are a great value. Super comfortable. I was looking for a shoe I could wear all day. Usually, this means you need rubber soles (no wood). You can’t resole many one-piece rubber sole heels, but that’s fine. Rarely do I do that since the top of the shoe shows so much wear, it makes me want to get a new pair of shoes no matter how much shoe-shining I do.

I own Saks 5th Avenue brand shoes, Cole Haan, and many other pricey shoes. Sure these Clark’s don’t look as sharp as Italian-made shoes. But Clark’s are comfortable. With this particular shoe, they struck the right balance between fashionable and functional–a rare feat indeed!

With Toe Cap on the Black Shoes

Best Dress Shoes For Car Salesman: Other Options

I’m confident that the first two shoes should be enough for most car salesmen to get started. That said, I have had some recommendations come in from other readers, which I thought I’d share. Your mileage may vary, as I don’t own these particular shoes:

  1. Nunn Bush Men’s Norris Wingtip Slip-On Loafer:
  2. La Milano Mens Cap Toe Oxford Leather:
  3. Dockers Men’s Proposal Leather Slip-On Dress Loafer Shoe:

 

Best Dress Shoes For Car Salesman: Work in Progress

This article has been sitting in my draft folder for a few months. I don’t have much to add other than my two simple suggestions at the top, so I’ve held off on publishing it. That said, I figure it might provide some value for someone so I might as well publish it. 

This article would be a lot better with your feedback! Let me know if you know of any ideas for the “Best Dress Shoes for Car Salesman”!

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.

Failure Analysis in Sales (Analyzing a Bad Conversation)

Failure Analysis in Sales (Analyzing a Bad Conversation)

In time, we all get comfortable and complacent at our jobs. After the initial learning curve, we can begin to coast, using the same tools for years. As our confidence in our work grows, arrogance can creep in. This insidious trait can numb us to the feedback from others. As long as our paychecks keep coming in, we ignore our process falling apart and rely on the momentum that we built to carry us through our jobs. When your process falls apart, it’s critical to conduct a failure analysis of what’s going wrong.

It can take a particular “wake up call” incident to alert us to this process. That’s what happened to me this week.

For context, I’ve been selling cars for around seven years now. In less than six years I had grossed (before tax) over a million dollars in income, an amount of money that has profoundly changed my life. Of the four thousand salespeople in my brand, I was top 200 by year one, top 50 by year two, and top 10 by year three.

It was a steep climb to the top of the car sales food chain, bolstered by a successful partnership and supportive managers (plus a strong bull market). I’ve published an ebook and have a second one about to launch.

Life is good. Things have gone my way.

That is, until last week. 

That’s when I realized that I was dropping the ball. 

Here is my failure analysis.

Failure Analysis of My Conversation with Tio

Tio’s lead came on Monday morning, with a clear message:

“Shopping around for this exact car with the exact same features. Another dealer is offering this Q7 for 56k but doesn’t want to have to drive that far to get it. Can you offer a better deal? If so, I’ll go with you to save me the trouble of driving to the far East Bay.”

When I saw this, I was happy- what a great lead to get Monday morning! 

I was excited to close up this deal. Not only was I confident that I would close this deal within the hour, but I also figured that I would be able to merely match the competitor’s offer (instead of beating it) since I could offer value outside of just price. 

When I responded to the lead, Tio was at work and asked me to have our conversation via text, which worked for me since I could multi-task and answer other leads while closing the deal.

Our conversation began easily enough:

failure analysis

Tio sent me a picture of the invoice of the car that the other dealership had offered him and the price that they had provided. At this point in the conversation, my goal is to close the deal for as close to that number as possible as soon as possible to get him off the market.

failure analysis

He almost immediately relents on pricing, telling me that “to be honest I’m ok w exactly what they offered open to any color but black or brown.” I patted myself on the back, relishing in how easy it was not to lose extra money to sell him a car. 

Failure Analysis: Problems Emerging

The problems then emerged. I took things one step further, attaching my offer of matching their quote with a requirement (that Tio comes today). In my experience when I say this, customers will respond with the day they are free, and I will agree to honor the price on that day. This adds a little finality to the conversation. 

Things are about to turn.

failure analysis

The conversation changes when Tio brings back his desire to “see if you can do less than 56k that’s what the other dealer is offering”.

At this point in the conversation, I have two choices:

  1. Confirm that I’m listening to his desires and offer a compromise.
  2. Double down on the original offer matching, stating the ways that I provide value (instead of just discount)

Failure Analysis: Making the Wrong Choice

Retrospectively, it seems that I decided to do #2 (poorly).

While I was confident that I could close this deal quickly and get a quick start to the week, I was blind to the facts- namely that I don’t know anything about this customer (and he doesn’t know anything about me!). I know that he is in the market for a Q7, he lives relatively close to my dealership, and he is flip-flopping a bit on what he wants. 

I should have seen the warning flags in the short conversation. He started by saying that a “to be honest I’m ok w exactly what they offered” and then responded to my offer to match with a repeated request for me to beat it. 

His change of heart speaks to the point that he is uncomfortable in this type of conversation. When he said that he was “ok w exactly what they offered,” deep down he wasn’t sure if this was a good deal. Since I agreed to the match so quickly, his insecurity in the deal crept back in. He worried that everything was too easy.

He feared that he was being taken advantage of.

If I were smarter at the time, I would have looked at the facts and decided to take a softer touch in my response. I could have explained in a few sentences why I didn’t want to offer more discount, and I could have said everything more graciously. Instead, I was very direct, which ended up not going over (as you will see below).

failure analysis

He immediately responds to my offer to match the other dealership with “Thanks Andrei. Gonna pass. Appreciate your time”. This response was my next warning that things had gone astray in this conversation. Something I had said had made him feel uncomfortable.

Failure Analysis: Doubling Down on the Wrong Path

At this point, I should have given him some space, perhaps calling him with a fresh, better offer around lunch time. That way I would have saved face. 

Instead, the conversation got worse. I doubled down on a relatively straightforward close, asking him what it would take to “get this wrapped up efficiently.” The underlying message there was that so far this conversation had not been efficient. 

Although this type of straightforward close will work with many people, it is liable to insult someone who has a bad impression of you.

The deal is about to fall apart.

failure analysis

Looking back at this conversation, it’s apparent that I should not have continued this conversation to this point. When the customer says “Just tell me the best deal you can offer w the info provided” it’s a clear message that he was not happy with how things had progressed so far. 

Again, instead of taking a moment to recoup, I forged on ahead. In retrospect, the very best thing I could have done was to turn the deal at this point. I could easily have had an associate or manager reach out with an offer and a fresh face. 

I didn’t. Instead of seeing Tio’s responses as a sign of his frustration, I saw them as ineptness. At the time I just shook my head in bewilderment, confused how this customer can change his stories so quickly.

I was entirely lost by this point in the conversation. The reigns were out of my hands, and my autopilot took over.

I questioned why we were having this conversation in the first place (if he hadn’t yet decided on the vehicle), instead of seeing his deflection as a sign of something else. 

failure analysis

I’m sure you saw this coming. When Tio says, clear as day, that he “don’t appreciate your tone,” I finally realize consciously how badly this conversation has gone. I try to recoup by saying “No tone guaranteed,” but it was far too little too late.

Failure Analysis: Nail in the Coffin

failure analysis

I have to say, my performance in this conversation was amateurish. Upon re-reading the thread, I can see the times where I missed his underlying messaging. 

Failure Analysis: Conversations Matter

I get paid the way I do because I am typically good at closing a large volume of car deals. Much of that is process-based, but people skills are no less critical. We are not computer engineers, or surgeons, or architects. We are salespeople, and conversation is our programming language.

I find it incredibly useful to analyze conversations that go poorly since we can all learn so much from our failures. Failures give us an excellent opportunity to identify weaknesses and address them. Few things sting like losing an easy car deal.

Failure Analysis: Other Failures

In January and February of 2019, my sales surveys have been below the national average. This simple failure has cost me around eight thousand dollars in bonuses so far and will continue to cost me if I don’t address it.

In the car business, many dealerships attach survey clauses to their pay plans. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to review your pay plan and keep track of how your actions line up with the pay plans goals. I find it useful to pay attention to how much money you are losing by not aligning your actions. Your pay plan is your real boss!

Internet Car Sales: Requesting a Credit Application Template

Internet Car Sales: Requesting a Credit Application Template

When requesting a credit application for a customer, there are three main options. When sharing personal credit information customers are understandably nervous, and as such, I have found it best to provide options for them to use.

Here is the template I use when requesting a credit application:

SUBJECT: [Confidential] Credit Application at Audi Stevens Creek

 

Dear CUSTOMER,

 

In order to streamline your car purchase, it will be helpful to run your credit before you arrive. We are dedicated to securely collecting your information, and we have two ways that you can provide us the information.

 

Option One: If you click this link (insert hyperlink), you will be directed to our secure website for submitting applications. Simply fill out everything on that site and press submit. Please let us know if you need any guidance or have any questions by calling me directly at phone number.

 

Option Two: If you prefer to submit via email, simply fill out the information below in your reply to this email. Once I receive it, I will call you for the social security number:

 

LEGAL NAME:
BIRTHDAY:
PHONE NUMBER:
HOME ADDRESS:
YEARS AT HOME ADDRESS:
PREVIOUS ADDRESS:
YEARS AT PREVIOUS ADDRESS:
CURRENT JOB TITLE:
CURRENT MONTHLY INCOME BEFORE TAX:
CURRENT EMPLOYER:
YEARS AT CURRENT EMPLOYER:
PREVIOUS JOB TITLE:
PREVIOUS EMPLOYER:
YEARS AT PREVIOUS EMPLOYER:
HAVE YOU EVER DECLARED BANKRUPTCY?
HAVE YOU EVER HAD PROPERTY REPOSSESED?
DO YOU HAVE ANY LAWSUITS PENDING AGAINST YOU?
DO I HAVE YOUR PERMISSION TO RUN YOUR CREDIT?

 

Thanks for filling this out, I will speak to you soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

NAME
TITLE
PHONE

Here is an alternative I use with customers that I already know:

SUBJECT: [Confidential] The Fast Buy

 

Hi CUSTOMER!

 

I want to make this purchase as quick and painless as possible for you. I’ve developed a process that can make this quick and I will just need a bit of help from you before you come into the dealer. 

 

Simply fill out the information below in your reply to this email and attach your current drivers license and insurance card.

 

LEGAL NAME:
BIRTHDAY:
I’ll call you for the social security number!
PHONE NUMBER:
HOME ADDRESS:
YEARS AT HOME ADDRESS:
PREVIOUS ADDRESS:
YEARS AT PREVIOUS ADDRESS:
CURRENT JOB TITLE:
CURRENT MONTHLY INCOME BEFORE TAX:
CURRENT EMPLOYER:
YEARS AT CURRENT EMPLOYER:
PREVIOUS JOB TITLE:
PREVIOUS EMPLOYER:
YEARS AT PREVIOUS EMPLOYER:
HAVE YOU EVER DECLARED BANKRUPTCY?
HAVE YOU EVER HAD PROPERTY REPOSSESED?
DO YOU HAVE ANY LAWSUITS PENDING AGAINST YOU?
DO I HAVE YOUR PERMISSION TO RUN YOUR CREDIT?

 

Thanks for filling this out, I will speak to you soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

NAME
TITLE
PHONE

That’s it! Hope that helps.

Automotive Internet Sales Manager Training

Automotive Internet Sales Manager Training

This article, Automotive Internet Sales Manager Training, is a preview chapter from my upcoming second book, “How to Sell Cars on the Internet”

If you are interested in the first book in the series click on this link: The Automotive BDC Manifesto

Part of automotive internet sales manager training is specific procedures that you can put in place to maximize your efficiency pre- and post-appointment. The high volume of internet traffic creates complications that must be addressed in order to convert a high percentage of these customers successfully.

Automotive Internet Sales Manager Training: Introduction

The general idea is to have an incredibly efficient, machine-like business, that operates under strict guidelines, while still having a human face towards the customer. You should dream of a process in which your customers are taken from the internet lead to a confirmed appointment to a sold customer like a factory. Make no mistake, those who manage and own the store expect this out of the internet department. To sell to these customers, they have invested in leads, business development centers, and you, and they want the return on investment.

(more…)

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts

What you are about to read is a preview chapter from my upcoming second book, “How to Sell Cars on the Internet”

If you are interested in the first book in the series click on this link: The Automotive BDC Manifesto

In the Automotive BDC Manifesto, I spent a significant amount of time reviewing effective internet sales follow up. In that book, I offered a number of email templates that readers all over the world have started to use to great success.

So, what are the components of a great email template? What makes a great phone call script? How about some examples? Let’s get started.

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Process and “Making Your Own Luck”

If your emails are ending up in spam, your phone calls will save you. If you can get your customer enticed on the phone, you can have them find your emails in order to retrieve information. This allows you to work around the problems of spam filtering since the customer will actively find your emails in the spam filters and bring them back to life. This act will also help your email reputation since Google is always watching!

So what do you say on the phone?

Here are some basics for every outbound phone call:

  1. You must identify yourself and your dealership
  2. You need to speak slowly (the older the customer, the slower you talk!)
  3. You need to stay calm (regardless of their attitude)
  4. You need to remember the mission (get the appointment!)

In my mind, phone calls are about information gathering, deal sharing, and serendipity. Your calls are the best way to get an immediate update on the customer’s status. If a customer picks up, they will generally answer at least a question or two before wanting to go. The phone call also reinforces your dealer name and your name, so when the customer is ready to come in, they will think of you first.

At the start of the call, make sure to identify yourself and your dealership, every time.

“Hi! This is Andrei Smith from Audi North Michigan”

That’s a great start to ping the customer’s brain. Hopefully, they will remember an email that they’ve seen from you recently. As soon as you say that, they will respond, and from this response, you will know how much of their time you have. If they say:

            “Uh… ok, yes?” 

Then you probably don’t have much of their time. Get to the point right away:

“Thanks for jumping on the phone! I had seen your inquiry on stock #4123 and I wanted to let you know that this specific vehicle is still available and has a discounted e-price right now. Did you have a minute to review?”

As I mentioned in the Automotive BDC Manifesto (Chapter 4: Inbound Phone Calls), it’s critical to create a back and forth of information as quickly as possible on the phone. You need the customer to be hooked and to desire the information that you have. If you give your customer all of the information right away, without having them participate in the call, you have lost your value. Your information is what you trade for their time and attention. By mentioning an “e-price” and then immediately asking if they have a “minute to review” you have set up a conversational trade. I give you information if you opt into our conversation.

At the end of the day, the point of the call is to set the appointment. Deals happen, in almost all cases, in person at the dealer (exceptions include out of state deals and some corporate deals). Buying a car is halfway between buying a house and buying a TV- it’s a balance between practicality, finances, and emotions. Generally, practicality and finances win on the phone, emotions win in person.

The most exciting part of calling customers (and follow up in general) is what I call the “discovery of serendipity”. Serendipity is defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Over my career so far, there have been countless times where customers tell me this when I get them on the phone:

“Wow that’s funny you called…”

At that point, the customer will say that they are “just about to go visit dealers” or that they “were just talking about new cars.” These are the best moments!

When I say that car purchasing is partly emotional, I’m not referring to color preference. I’m more speaking to the fact that, when a customer feels like everything is coming together serendipitously, they tend to close deals. If you’re constantly doing high value, professional follow up, you are giving yourself more opportunities to be in the right place at the right time. You are actively “creating your own luck.”

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts

I’ll restate what I’ve said elsewhere, I think that phone scripts are just for when you are starting out. They can inspire you to have more dynamic conversations, with better value propositions, but they should not be used as a long term crutch. Try to get yourself (and the rest of the people that sell cars on the internet) to a point where phone calls are natural, without the use of any script. As you progress you will develop scripts that you can call from at any point, lodged deep in your brain by repetition.

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Standard Outbound Call with Price Offer:

Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”

Customer: RESPONSE

REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! I had seen your inquiry on stock #X and I wanted to let you know that this specific vehicle is still available and has a discounted e-price right now. Did you have a minute to review?

OPTION 1 – IF CUS SAYS: No, I don’t have time to talk right now

THEN REP SAYS: No problem, I’ll send you over an email with the pricing. Is [email protected] your correct email address?

OPTION 2 – IF CUS SAYS: Yes, I have a few minutes, what was the pricing?

THEN REP SAYS: Great! I’ll be sending this quote via email as well, can I confirm that [email protected] is your correct email?

CUS: Yes/No

EITHER WAY REP SAYS: Ok, sounds great. So for this stock #X, with an MSRP of $XXk, we are having our SPECIAL REASON sale right now, that reduces the price down by $Xk. This offer can be combined with extra incentives that you might also qualify for.

CUS: Oh ok, what are the incentives?

REP: We have incentives for customers that currently have QUALIFIER 1 and QUALIFIER 2. This sale price will be running until the end of this weekend- did you have time tomorrow at 11am to swing by and check it out?

 

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Vehicle Availability Confirmation:

Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”

Customer: RESPONSE

REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! I had seen your inquiry on stock #X, the COLOR MODEL at DEALER. Did you have a minute to review?

OPTION 1 – IF CUS SAYS: No, I don’t have time to talk right now

THEN REP SAYS: No problem, I’ll send you over an email. Is [email protected] your correct email address?

OPTION 2 – IF CUS SAYS: Yes, I have a few minutes.

THEN REP SAYS: Great! I’ll be sending this information via email as well, can I confirm that [email protected] is your correct email?

CUS: Yes/No

EITHER WAY REP SAYS: Ok, sounds great. Stock #X is currently available at our dealership. As you can imagine, because of UNIQUE THING ABOUT CAR, I doubt that this specific vehicle will last on the lot a long time. Was this Stock #X the exact fit you were looking for?

OPTION 1 – IF CUS SAYS: No, I just clicked on a car on your site at random (etc)

THEN REP SAYS: Oh no problem! We have X number of MODELS in stock. We have some specials running on some cars right now, what were the specifics you were looking for?

OPTION 2 – IF CUS SAYS: Yes, that is the exact car.

THEN REP SAYS (Excited!): Wow! Generally, the customer has to make a ton of compromises when buying a new car, that is so serendipitous/great/fantastic that we have the exact car you are looking for! Let’s not miss this chance, did you have time to come by tonight to come check it out? I have some time around XXXpm.

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Lease End Call

Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”

Customer: RESPONSE

REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! I work with MANUFACTUROR directly as a lease end representative. It’s my job to keep MANUFACTUROR up to date with your lease end plans and to walk you through your options. Have you an idea of what you want to do with your lease end?

OPTION 1 – IF CUS SAYS: Yes, I plan to drop off the car and will not be purchasing a new BRAND car.

THEN REP SAYS: *Explain lease end drop off process for your dealer, but ask if there was anything that would entice them to stay with brand*

OPTION 2 – IF CUS SAYS: No, I haven’t decided yet.

THEN REP SAYS: No problem. MANUFACTUROR would like us to set up a time to discuss your options, did you have time tomorrow at XXXpm?

For lease end calls, I’ve found that I have the greatest success when I frame the conversation as a requirement of their lease end. Although the lease end is a fantastic opportunity to sell the customer a car, the fact that they have a lease coming due means that you don’t ever need to hard sell. They have to make a decision; you need to sell yourself as the frictionless route.

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Appointment Follow Up

Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”

Customer: RESPONSE

REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! We had met last Sunday, where we demo’d the MODEL. You had mentioned that you were still shopping brands. We actually have some new incentives to tell you about, I was wondering if you were still in the market?

CUS: Yes, I am still in the market.

THEN REP SAYS: Great! I’ll be sending this quote via email as well, can I confirm that [email protected] is your correct email?

CUS: Yes/No

EITHER WAY REP SAYS: Ok, sounds great. When we met we had driven the COLOR MODEL with PACKAGE OPTION. You had mentioned that this was a good fit, is that still the case? 

If CUS says: No, that car won’t work for us.

Then REP says: No problem, we have X MODEL in stock. What was it that you were looking for instead?

If CUS says: Yes, that car still works for us.                           

Then REP says: Wow! Generally, the customer has to make a ton of compromises when buying a new car, that is so serendipitous/great/fantastic that we have the exact car you are looking for! Let’s not miss this chance, especially since we SPECIAL OFFER running for SPECIAL EVENT. Can you make it in at XXXpm tomorrow?

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Car in Service

Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”

Customer: RESPONSE

REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone! I’m the service liaison here at DEALER. We have your CAR here at DEALER in service. There are some things we need to chat about with your vehicle. Do you have a few minutes?

CUS: Yes, I have a few minutes… what’s going on?

EITHER WAY REP SAYS: During the inspection on your vehicle, they discovered that your car needs PROBLEM THAT CAR HAS. The price to get this fixed is $Xk. Since your vehicle is outside of the warranty period, this would be a customer pay option. That being said I do have an option that might be more attractive than fixing this problem. 

If CUS says: Ok? What’s the alternative?

Then REP says: I’ve got my management involved on this one, and they have agreed to take your vehicle in on trade with this problem as is. If we get you swapped into a new model year MODEL, your payment would go from CURRENT PAYMENT to NEW PAYMENT. OPTIONAL: We are able to waive your down payment, so nothing would be due today.

Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts: Just Sent Quote:

Dealer Representative: “Hi! This is REP from DEALER”

Customer: RESPONSE

REP: Thanks for jumping on the phone. I wanted to review the lease quote that I sent over via email a few minutes ago. I can offer an extra incentive on top of that quote if you have a minute to review. Did you have some time now?

Cus: Yes, I have a few minutes, what was the pricing?

THEN REP SAYS: Great! I sent over the quote a few minutes ago. Just to review, this car that you had expressed interest in is the COLOR MODEL with FEATURES. Does that sound right?

CUS: Yes.

EITHER WAY REP SAYS: Perfect. The lease quote I sent over is $XXX per month with $Xk due at signing. I’m able to offer you an extra $XXX off of your drive off on top of that quote if you are able to come in today. Did you have some time after work to come by?

What Makes Up a Great Follow Up Email

There a few common threads that run through all of the best follow up email templates:

  1. They don’t look like templates (short and targeted)
  2. They are easy to add personalization (spaces to put in details of the specific customer’s situation)
  3. They don’t end up in spam (very few if any images, very few hyperlinks, no spam phrases)
  4. They provide value (the customer is happy they opened them)

I believe in a relentless email follow up. It’s not an opinion that is shared with everyone, but I think that it’s your job when selling cars online to be consistently appearing in your potential customer’s email inbox until they are out of the market. That means that you need to have a reason to email a customer, every day, for at least the first ten days after they submit an inquiry.

The Spam Trap         

Do you know what doesn’t work? Sending the same email every single day. As soon as a customer sees a duplicate of an email you’ve sent, the gig is up. They mentally categorize you as spam. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if every time a customer opens an email from you they find something different, they mentally categorize you as valuable.

It’s not just the customers who are categorizing you. Email clients, such as Gmail (which has 26%+ of the market share) will categorize your emails into spam automatically if you abuse customer’s inboxes. Gmail is always learning, and saying things like “YOU WON’T BELIEVE THE DEALS!!” or “INCREDIBLE SaVinGS!!!” is going to get you flagged very quickly by the algorithms.

 Here are some basic rules to follow if you want to avoid being filtered into spam automatically:

  1. Be short and direct
  2. Do NOT use shortened URLs (Google punishes these heavily!)
  3. Include the customer’s name using “merge tags” into your template builder
  4. Write the template to mirror a traditional “letter” format

Speaking of spam filters, there are a number of reasons that dealership emails end up in spam. Frankly, I think all dealers will have some of their emails end up automatically sorted into spam. That’s pretty common. The issue arises when all of your dealership’s first response emails always get filtered into spam. The reason for this can be multifaceted, and Google is intentionally vague on the issue. You can even be punished because of your sender reputation (your “SMTP server” and your IP addresses can have the negative rep), your email service provider.

For now, it’s critical you find out if your emails are being filtered. Set up a secret shop and test your own internet department. Do your emails end up in the “spam” folder? That’s pretty catastrophic if they do!

If your dealership is having all of its emails sent directly to spam, it’s time to change up your processes. First thing, turn off all automated emails. Next, strip all templates of all images and hyperlinks. Then, double down on the phones- texting and calling your customers just became your dealership’s bread and butter.

Long term, this isn’t sustainable at scale. Sending every email by hand takes too much time, and it sets you at a severe disadvantage to your competitors. You need to work with your management and your point of contact at your CRM’s company to solve this issue right away!

Spam flagging is a massive topic that I may dive into more if requested to by my readers. For now, just know that your email reputation can have huge effects on your internet departments conversion rates. If your customers don’t see your emails you can assume that they won’t set an appointment.

Review: Internet Car Sales Phone Scripts

Your dealership’s internet department is defined by its follow-up. Ineffective templates, spam filtering, and bad phone voice can all hold back your closing rate.

A good place to start? Secret shop your own dealer. Set up a fake Gmail and send in a lead to your store. See what your automated emails look like in Gmail and on your phone’s email client. When you are on the receiving end of your own follow up you may find some problems glaringly obvious!

How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation

How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation

In 2018 I made progress on some lifelong goals. I’ve started this blog, written a book, started rock climbing regularly, saved thousands of dollars a month, and I made it to intermediate Mandarin. In the summer I rode my bike to work, and for the bulk of the year, I’ve been giving 5% of my gross income to charity. My relationships with my family are stronger than ever. I even started a little Facebook group called “Ethical Sales Managers, Internet Managers, and BDC,” which is slowly growing.

If you told me when I was graduating university in 2012 that I would have a year like 2018… I wouldn’t have believed you. I mean, Mandarin? Are you crazy? 

The fact is, even with that list of personal goals, internally I am still growing and yearning for more. For much of the year, I have been plagued again with video game addiction. I’ve slowly added a bit of fat around the love handles from being a bit too liberal with my snack choices. The blog, designed to be a launching pad for a consulting and coaching business, is only making $200 per month.

I did feel like I “cracked the code” a bit in 2018  for addressing “How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation” and I figured I could write about what worked for me. I’m very much still a work in progress, but this is how I took the steps I took this year. This article will dive into what I learned while working on each of my 2018 resolutions.

Mandarin

I’ve been learning Mandarin for two years now, and it’s not nearly as hard as people make it out to be. There have been a few thoughts that have helped me so far. 

First, and most importantly, was my mindset going in. Two years ago I had this lofty idea that “learning Mandarin” would be a cool thing to accomplish, especially since my girlfriend’s family all speaks it. After a little bit of research, I found out just how hard people think it is.

The reasons I read online about not being able to learn it centered around the fact that it is a “tonal” language and that it lacks a Latin alphabet. Also, when an English speaker learns Spanish, there are a few freebies (“computadora” for example). In Mandarin, there are no freebies (电脑 is the word computer, pronounced “dian nao,” which roughly translates to “electric brain”).

So my mindset wasn’t great going into my first class after reading all these excuses. I went straight to the teacher and shared my reluctance, and the conversation was pretty classic.

ANDREI: Ok, so I have a question. I’m 28 years old and I’ve never studied Mandarin before. Can I really learn Mandarin? I heard it’s really hard, almost impossible.

TEACHER: Well… it’s harder than Spanish. That being said, there are somewhere around a billion people that speak it. I’m sure you’re as smart as a few of them.

How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Avoid Negativity

The guy had a point. I put away my negativity and sat down.

This mindset is pretty useful. Consider car sales. There are plenty of people online that say that selling cars is a horrible job, one in which very few ever make any money. That’s just plain not true. Go to any car dealership, and you will find successful employees, many of whom earn six figures with no student loan debt. Others have done it, and with the help of some guidance, so can you.

Blogging

This blog now has 200+ email subscribers, and the accompanying Facebook group has 40+ members. We are in the ninth or tenth month I think at this point. The blog gets 2000-3000 unique visitors a month with many readers spending quite a bit of time here. Overall I’m happy with the growth that I’ve had, and I’ve learned tons cranking out this content. 

If I had to pick the most “teachable” thing I’ve learned, it would have to be the patient mindset.

Successful and profitable blogging has been a “halo” goal of mine for years. The idea of combining writing, something I’ve always loved, with making a living, is too enticing to ignore. I’ve read about successful online entrepreneurs for years, but it took a bit of convincing for me to take the plunge into trying it for myself.

I’ve noticed that when getting started I perform best with a class (regardless of the personal goal), so I ended up using FIMP (Free Internet Marketing Project). Ian over at FIMP had around ten hours of free training that I watched through, which set me off on the right foot. I was pretty obsessed in the first month or two, inspired by what Ian talks about. He really “sells the attainable dream” in an approachable way. 

Once I had a bit of a basis in understanding how to go about this blogging enterprise, I got to work, writing content. Since I have been in Automotive for over six years, I had plenty to talk about. I had been thinking critically about this business for years without an outlet, which I think was a great place to start.

How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Patience

Blogging, as my side business, is slow going. It’s a labor of love, one that takes a long time to scale to reasonable profitability. Anyone that sells you the “overnight success” story is just making shit up- I can tell you that honestly from the trenches. I figure that if you break down my hourly rate on this project, I would be making an average of a dollar an hour. 

So why do it? The easy answer is- I’m just not there yet. One day I will make more. Matthew McConaughey, that weird actor dude, once said that “my hero is myself, in ten years.” Although that still sounds a bit odd, I like the sentiment. Right now I make $1/hour doing this blogging business, but six months ago I was losing money doing this. Now I have passed breaking even; I only have one way to go (up, hopefully)!

So patience is key. In blogging, in automotive, and life. It took me a while to figure that out. 

Saving Money

Since I started work, I’ve wanted not to have to work. Not sure why. I think that I have a bit of the rebel in me deep down which makes me resent having a boss/schedule. Where that comes from, deep down, I haven’t figured out yet. As such, I’ve always had a keystone goal, independence. Whether that comes from old school financial independence or starting my own business, I don’t much care. As such, I’ve hedged my bets and started down both paths.

I’ve written about saving and my career mindset before- in my Dad’s favorite article of mine (thanks Dad!), Run Your Life Like a Business. In 2018, I saved a significant chunk of money, using the exact strategy I outlined in that article.

The word momentum embodies my key takeaway. 

How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Momentum

Once I started saving, my outlook on money changed. Six years ago, when I started selling cars, I would keep a few hundred dollars a month. I got used to that, started making more money, and it was easy to transition to save a thousand a month. From there, a few thousand. As long as you keep making more money (because you get better at what you do), and don’t start buying a bunch of new shit, you will save money.

The mindset is so ingrained now that I have the opposite problem as most people, I have a tough time spending any money on myself. It causes me anguish to buy myself a new computer, for instance. Alas, there are no perfect answers. We are all only human!

So, try to build some momentum in your savings. Say “no” to new stuff sometimes. Learn how to buy used. It’s better for the environment anyway.

Writing a Book

I surprised myself with this one. The funny thing about writing a book is actually how “evolutionary” it is from blogging. If you are blogging regularly, you will eventually write enough content to warrant putting together a book. It just of happens. On this topic, I recommend two books; You Must Write a Book and On WritingThose two books gave me the perspective, outlook, and motivation to get the thing done.

How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Little Steps

Writing a book isn’t that hard. It’s a polished, heavily edited string of blog posts (chapters). It’s funny to describe it in this way since books have so much more social significance in society than blogs, but that’s how it feels looking back.

If you want to write a book one day, start with a blog. I can’t imagine writing a book without having the practice that this blog provides.

It’s just writing, after all, something most of us learned before we were eighteen years old. 

Charity

Charity is a lot like saving money. You start, and it gets more comfortable over time. I’ve found it to be a foundational element of my happiness now. I would have a hard time doing my job without giving back my 5% to charity. It would just be lacking.

Before 2018, Charity was something that you do once you made it. Once you become Bill Gates, then you give. Once you make your millions, then you cut off a slice for others.

Where this mindset came from, I’m not sure. Charity seemed to have all these pitfalls- what if I gave to an evil organization? What if they waste the money? Can I spare a percentage of my income every month?

How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Open to Change

Since I started mid-year 2018, I gave about eight grand to charity, which was 5% of my taxable income. After the first month, it just became a routine, and it fits into my budget just like rent. The great thing about percent based giving is that it scales. It never feels punishing, since if I have a slow month, I end up giving a bit less. 

I think that Peter Singer’s logical steps are all that I needed to break through on this one and start doing it. 

  1. First Premise: Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad.
  2. Second Premise: If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so.
  3. Third Premise: By donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important.
  4. Conclusion: Therefore, if you do not donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong.

He is always a bit “heavy-handed,” but I understand that stems from his passion for the topic.

I think charity is good and I think that, if you can, you should. Whether or not you can or not depends on your income and your budget. If you want to talk about this topic in person, shoot me a message, and we can chat. I’m even happy to jump on a phone call if you want to talk that way- I’m passionate about this!

There have been a few great bonuses that have emerged from doing charity. The first bonus has been the process of giving the donations. Every month I have been able to dedicate my contributions. Tributes have been a great way to show my appreciation for some of the critical people in my life. It’s been a uniquely powerful way of keeping in contact with some of the most successful people in my extended network. When a multi-millionaire receives a card or a gift, I’m guessing that the gesture is appreciated and quickly forgotten. When they receive notice that someone made a charitable donation of $500-$1000 to a great charity in tribute to them, it seems to be special:

One of the above emails is from the former VP of a huge technology company; the other is from one of the most successful bloggers on the internet. Very few things break their mental filter they have to unsolicited messages, but these tribute donations work. It’s a great way to open a door or keep a door open. Especially sweet since I was determined to do the charity anyway!

Rock Climbing

I’m a skinny guy. I always have been. I’ve always wanted to look more… “The Rock-esque.” Huge muscles with giant biceps. To that end, I’ve spent plenty of time working at the gym, with months dedicated to eating 3000-4000 calories a day. Suffice to say it’s never got me anywhere.

Then I found indoor rock climbing. Here is a sport wherein the best athletes are skinny little vegans. I went from going to gyms where I am tiny to going to gyms where I am too heavy and need to lose some weight.

I’m not fantastic at rock climbing, but I do realize that it is a better fit for my body type.

How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation: Fit

The idea of fit applies to the association of you and the automotive industry. Although I think this is an industry with incredible opportunities, I don’t think it’s great for everyone. Just like how I’m not a great fit for a powerlifting gym, you may not be an excellent fit for automotive. Automotive is a career path where you need to be self-directed and sociable. It’s a dangerous career path if you need constant supervision and it’s a painful path if you don’t like working with customers. Automotive is high-end retail in a way that is similar to real estate. You need to make people love you, and your drive needs to come from deep down. 

Just because I espouse the great parts on this blog doesn’t mean that automotive is a great fit for you. It’s ok to “call it” and pivot to a new career if you have exhausted yourself trying to make it work!

How to Overcome Laziness and Lack of Motivation

In 2018 I learned some valuable lessons. Mandarin taught me about mindset and blogging taught me patience. Saving money taught me about momentum and writing a book taught me about the little steps that add up to something more substantial. Charity taught me about being open to new ideas, and rock climbing taught me about lining up who you are with what you do.

I hope that 2019 holds as much wonder for you as 2018 did for me! The first step for how to overcome laziness and lack of motivation involves setting a goal. What’s yours?

 

Video Message from a Reader

Video Message from a Reader

One of the most satisfying things of building out Car Sales Story and the “Automotive BDC Manifesto” has been the interactions I’ve started having with my readers.

There is the growing Facebook group, in which readers are getting together to tackle the challenges that they face in the Automotive industry. Although early days still, this group is growing into a fantastic resource for Automotive Sales Managers, Internet Managers, and BDC Representatives. 

Yesterday morning I received this video message from one of my readers, Steve, from Canada. 

Check out how professionally he comes across:

In less than a minute, Steve conveyed his professionalism and his dedication to building a business relationship.

I’ve dismissed video messaging before, advocating my readers to use less time-consuming methods. This message, recorded directly into Youtube, is a convincing counter-argument.

Steve’s message is clear and concise. His suit and the framing of the shot speak to his professionalism. His voice is loud and clear, easy for anyone to understand.

Please respond to this email with your thoughts on video messaging for customer follow-up. Do you think that video messaging is a productive way to build relationships with your customers?

Continue the conversation in the Facebook Group!

How to Close Every Car Deal | Saturday Guide

How to Close Every Car Deal | Saturday Guide

Saturday is a day, unlike any other in the car business. Saturday is the day that embodies the sacrifice of the car sales career and the day that most of us make the bulk of our income. Over the last six-plus years, I’ve spent just about every Saturday selling cars.

Some Saturdays feel great and are full of success, while others make me question my career choice.

So what makes a successful Saturday? The things that make a successful Saturday overlap with the things that make a successful salesman.

In this article, I’ll start by reviewing the foundation for a successful Saturday. I’ll follow that up with strategies for the morning, a time when you can build momentum that sets the tone for your day. The article will finish with the physical and mental tricks that will teach you how to close every car deal (on your Saturday) as the day progresses.

If you are looking for more tips, consider my breakdown of my favorite car salesman tips!

How To Close Every Car Deal: Friday Preparation

Saturday comes around every single week without fail, and yet salespeople still fail to prepare. At my store, Saturday is an 11-hour shift for everyone in the sales department. Often our store will sell half of the week’s cars on Saturday. If you think you can dominate your sales on Saturday without proper preparation, you are wrong.

Family Preparation

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. There are a few key things you need to get done before Saturday rolls around to make the best of your day.

First thing? Set expectations with your family. Often I see salespeople handling family business on Saturday, fielding phone calls and texts throughout the day. It’s natural for your family to want to spend time with you, but they need to be on the same page. Saturday is the day that pays the bills. I’ll often see salespeople trying to leave early or sneak away because they feel guilty for not spending more family time.

Here is the reality: You work in car sales. Until you stop selling (or you negotiate a different schedule), you are going to be working on Saturday. Expect it. Since you can expect it, act on it before disappointment happens! Take your kids to the movies on a different night. Cook dinner and spend time with loved ones on the days leading up to Saturday. Many jobs require people to work on Saturdays, and plenty of people have successful relationships in those roles.

If you don’t get ahead of this first and foremost, you are going to have a bad time. I know, because I’ve been there. In past relationships, I’ve dealt with the constant struggle of guilt that comes with working all day on other’s day off. The only way I could fix the problem was through effort. I get ahead of the problem now, spending quality time with loved ones on the days that I can. I make time work for me; I don’t let it dictate my life.

Eight Hours

Tired salespeople don’t have charisma. Charisma sells cars.

It’s that simple. I still see my fellow salespeople that are self-proclaimed “night-owls” come into the dealer on Saturday morning looking like a train wreck, even though they’ve been in the car business for years. Although they know that Saturday is a big day, they still stay up until one in the morning the night before. Some are party animals, some just like Netflix. Regardless, it’s not going to work if you are looking to be the best and make lots of money.

So get your eight hours of sleep. Seven hours should be the minimum. Try and wake up with an hour to spare, so that you have time to get ready. When you rush, you will not be your best. Give yourself the time you need to prepare.

Quick tips for a better nights rest:

  • Don’t have your phone in your bedroom
  • Take a walk outside before bed (it’s easier to fall asleep if your body temperature is a bit cold)
  • Don’t eat late
  • Try to cut out all the light from your bedroom

Appointments: The Saturday Schedule

This tip came from our Facebook Group (thanks to Trent!):

“If a done deal delivery must come on Saturday to finish the deal, try to book them for the moment you open so you don’t have any wait for F&I and you can give the most amount of time to your Sat unsold appointments. Being busy on a Sat and seeing lots of deals working is infectious and a great environment for unsold customers to be a part of. (We are closed on Sundays in our local market so Sat is very booming)”

  • Trent N.

Some salespeople will congratulate themselves (myself included) for a successful Saturday if they sell two or three cars, even when those cars were sold before the day started. Plenty of times customers that order cars from the factory will choose to come Saturday. Although it’s not optimal, it is understandable from the customer’s perspective, and as such, you need to prepare.

Set all Saturday pickups for early in the day. If you can, have the deal printed before Saturday. Have the customer send you drivers license, insurance, credit application, and trade registration the day before, so you can get a deal jacket prepped. Set F&I’s expectations so everyone is on time.

Lastly, I always avoid setting 1pm-2pm appointments on Saturdays and Sundays. Those are big times for a customer to drop in. If you schedule people to come, you are going to miss out on the business that walks in the door. You want your appointments at 10 am and 4 pm.

how to sell every car - don't set 2pm appointments

Non-Specific Appointments

Just because a customer hasn’t picked out a stock number before their appointment for you to prepare, doesn’t mean that you can’t be ready to take care of them.

If a customer has selected a car before they come in, have that car ready. One superstar strategy is to gas it up the night before, and while at the gas station, send a text photo to the customer with the message “preparing for our appointment tomorrow!” That type of message confirms the appointment in a friendly way and builds anticipation.

For customers with leases coming due, have a car prepped that is going to be similar to their current vehicle. That way, you have a smooth transition car if their needs haven’t changed.

How To Close Every Car Deal: Saturday Execution

Saturday is the day to make it happen. If you have followed the Friday preparation, you should be 80% of the way to having a good Saturday. There are a few things to keep in mind on Saturday if you want to maintain your momentum throughout the day.

Walk-in Happy and Early

Assuming you’ve laid the groundwork on Saturday, you should have no problem walking into your store happy and early. Walking into your store with a smile on your face, well dressed, and ready for work, is a great feeling. That feeling of positivity can carry you for hours, and your customers will feed off of it.

We are all reflections of the people around us. You can build “good-attitude momentum at your store” if you walk in with a smile on your face and say hello to everyone. Be a happy person when you walk in, and others will absorb your positivity.

Having a positive outlook is also essential for your relationship with your managers. If your baseline is happy and ready to work, then your sales managers will be able to tell when you aren’t having a good day. That’s a good thing. When a manager knows that someone is having a rough day, they can step in and help.

If instead, you walk in every Saturday late and tired, your manager expects that of you. If you are having a bad day, your boss won’t know, since you always look terrible on Saturday mornings. As such, they won’t realize when you need support.

Diets for Success

I’m not talking about successful diets here. What you eat on Saturday can affect your wallet and your waistline. The foods that unprepared people eat tend to be “easy foods” like cereal, toast, and sweets. These simple carbs will through quickly, and you will be hungry by 11 am. That’s not going to work.

Two strategies that I have found work are high-protein breakfasts and fasting.

For high-protein breakfasts, think eggs. Scrambles, omelets, and the like are delicious and will keep you satiated for hours. I’ve also found success with Soylent, which is a high-protein meal replacement.

Fasting is a more advanced strategy. If you do pursue it, keep an eye on your mood. If you find yourself getting grumpy while you wait for your hunger to subside, this strategy probably isn’t for you. I have seen success fasting in the morning until 1 pm, at which point I eat a nice lunch that carries me through the rest of the day.

How to Close Every Car Deal: Review

Having a successful Saturday in the car business requires preparation above all else. Mastering your Saturday will have a significant effect on your income, as much of the car business is done on this stressful day.

I’d love to chat more about car sales, so I’d like to invite you over to our Facebook Group to talk more!