To be a thriving automotive dealership, you must know how to be persuasive. After all, your sales team is the lifeblood of your business. Without being able to persuade customers to purchase from your dealership over your competitor, it would be impossible to stay open.
You believe that your products are the best quality for the best prices. Now, you have to convince your customer of the same. These techniques will help you do just that.
Establish credibility with a teammate’s help. One of the first things a salesperson must do with a new customer is establish some form of ethos, or credibility. Rather than touting your own experience, having a teammate brag to the customer on your behalf will come off as more genuine. You may not always have someone around to do this, but setting up a system among the sales force will let everyone benefit from a little extra endorsement.
Mention a small drawback, but with a positive spin. Revealing a small drawback or negative feature in what you’re selling conveys honesty and makes the rest of your message more credible. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t add a positive spin. For example, you could mention right off the bat that a car has a smaller cargo space, but that the smaller size of the vehicle pays off in better gas mileage in the long run.
Mirror speech and vocabulary. This one can take a bit of practice. But if you notice that your customer favors certain expressions or a style of speaking, incorporating some of that into your own sales pitch will help the customer identify with you and trust what you’re saying.
Use scarcity to motivate. Scarcity is common in advertising and sales, but remembering to stress it can be the extra push your customer needs to make a decision. For example, if you only have two of a certain model and color left on the lot, make sure to mention this to the customer and highlight the savings they may lose out on if they wait too long to purchase.
Encourage a trip to the coffee bar. Depending on the time of day, it’s worth your while to encourage customers to visit your dealership’s café or coffee station. Research shows that caffeine makes people more receptive to persuasive arguments – but only if your argument is strong to begin with.
Customers aren’t the only ones you should use these techniques on. Encouraging persuasive arguments among your team will help ease cohesion and lead to more fruitful meetings and memos.
Add a sticky note. Are you having trouble getting a teammate to fulfill a request? Attaching a handwritten sticky note to a document greatly increases your chances of getting a response. It’s simple, but the personalized touch will get people’s attention.
Encourage dissent. Not everyone likes to be challenged, but groupthink is a real threat to progress and innovation. To bring a fresh perspective and ensure that you’re considering all sides of an issue, encourage dissenters to speak up and voice their concerns at the appropriate time.
Beware of the “magnetic middle.” People naturally gravitate toward the average, or middle. Be careful when reporting on average sales, average number of calls, and other performance figures. It can give above-average performers an excuse to lower their performance.
Ask for confirmation. When you need someone to do something, asking for an answer will make them more likely to follow through. For example, asking, “Will you let me know when the report is done?” will stick in a co-worker’s mind better than, “Let me know when you’re done.”
These techniques tap into the basic psychological functions that most people live by. Adding them to your arsenal will help you craft more effective messages and up your persuasion in the office and on the sales floor.
John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising.
Strong began his career as an account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry.
The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners.
Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40.” In 2018, Strong was named CEO of the Year by the BBJ.
The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program.
Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.