Last year, there were more than 15 million vehicles sold across America – we say, now is as good a time as ever to be a car salesman, right? Of course, the car industry is undoubtedly changing – and it’s no secret that the future automotive industry will see a shift in gear. Customers are wanting a hybrid shopping experience, if not a fully online purchasing journey, and car salesman are having to adapt to suit current market trends. Nevertheless, buying a vehicle is still an emotional process, with cars remaining one of the most expensive purchases people make. But every customer is different – and ultimately the way they feel about your dealership, how the salesmen behave, and what’s more, whether the consumer actually likes the salesman, can have a huge impact on whether they actually decide to buy the car or not.
And, as we know, most salesman earn money on a commission basis, or at a ‘piece rate’, which means the more cars they sell, the more cash they take home every month. What’s more, the more likable a car salesman is, the higher the chances are of retaining that customer and better still, that customer leaving your dealership with a positive testimonial or referring you to a friend.
In short, making sure your car salesmen are likable is in the best interest of both your dealership, as well as their monthly pay packet.
So how, as a car salesman, do you make yourself more likable?
Don’t just learn the customer’s name, remember it
Does remembering a customer’s name really matter? Yes, a lot – especially if you want to sell that car.
Learning a customer’s name isn’t just about making you a more likable car salesman, it’s proving that you have manners – something that shouldn’t be taken for granted in this industry. You should make a conscious effort to introduce yourself and then ask the customer’s name, before repeating it back to them, for example:
You: Hello, welcome to XX, I’m XX
Customer: Hello XX, I’m Jason
You: Hello Jason, great to meet you.
A top tip from us is to then silently repeat their name in your head, training your brain to associate that name with the person. It might be tough, but ideally (and to prove yourself as the ultimate car salesman) you could do with knowing that person’s name so well that when they next come in, they don’t have to remind you.
And remember, it shouldn’t be just when you’re physically seeing that customer when you should reference their name. You need to be adding those personal touches at every possible customer touchpoint, whether that’s via email, telephone calls, or for SnapCell customers, SnapCell Messanger. Even if you’re creating personalized videos using SnapCell, you need to kick off the clip with a bespoke greeting to that customer, with a mention of their name.
But why does knowing a person’s name matter so much? It might seem simple but asking for a customer’s name and then remembering it is the first – and most important – step to becoming a more likable car salesman. It will show you respect the customer and better still, make sure the customer trusts both you and your dealership.
Don’t just focus on the sale
There’s nothing customers hate more than feeling like just another car buyer – another number, another sale, another dollar sign. To be a more likable salesman, it’s essential that you treat the customer like a human being – which means, and although this might be tricky, you have to focus on more than just the sale.
The selling process, should instead, involve more of these three things:
- Asking questions
Asking questions will show you’re taking an interest in what the customer needs and wants from a car, so be sure to ask all of the right questions, so you can get to know the customer as much as possible.
Ultimately, you want to know their story and their requirements – not only will this enhance their experience but knowing what a customer wants means you could potentially upsell the sale. For example, if you find out the customer is a busy mother-of-three, with a pet dog, who wants to be able to use the car for regular commuting and family staycations, then why not suggest the latest four-wheel drive package your dealership has available?
In theory, you should be listening to the customer twice as much as you are talking to them. Although tempting as it is as a salesman to overtalk, you need to make a conscious effort to listen to shoppers.
No customer wants a car salesman who doesn’t let them get a word in edgeways, right?
It is absolutely vital for you, as a car salesman, to empathize and not patronize. This means showing empathy when talking to the customer. The way you communicate, your tone of voice and body language should all show consumers that you understand their needs, and respect them.
Like a customer’s name, you should try and remember their story, background, and requirements too. When the customer has left your dealership, make notes using your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, so you can follow up over the next few days. Consider using SnapCell to create personalized videos to send to customers following their initial inquiry – and remember to reference their needs or requirements in that clip, just as you would their name.
Make sure you wear your smile
Greet customers with an undeniable enthusiasm – which means, whether you’re welcoming them either into your dealership, or liaising with them over SnapCell Live, you need to appear confident, without compromising on warmth and kindness.
As well as making regular eye contact, you need to be wearing your smile. It’s tricky to get the balance right but you need to avoid those big fake smiles, that customers can see right through, but instead, wear a smile that shows you’re ready to help them, without appearing overbearing.
Remember, even if you’re talking to a customer over the phone, smiling can make all the difference. Honestly, smiling can actually have an impact on your tone of voice, something that is imperative over the phone.
Don’t be pushy
Unfortunately, the stereotypical pushy car salesman image is one that so many are constantly trying to shake off. Still, pushy car salesmen are reported to be one of the top reasons why people don’t like shopping for cars.
Of course, it’s very tempting as a salesman to want to ask ‘so, are you ready to purchase the car yet?’ – especially after the customer is on their third or fourth test drive. To be more likable though, you need to battle those inner temptations and do all you can to let the customer make the purchase in their own time.
A top tip from us is to ask indirect questions instead. For example, an alternative to ‘so, are you buying this car?’, could be, ‘can you see yourself driving this car?’ Without knowing it, you will subconsciously be encouraging the customer to make the purchase, but without appearing too forceful.
Never rush, never seem bored
There should be no clock watching, no tapping of pens, and no yawning. The last thing you want to do is appear bored or like you’re rushing the customer.
Buying a car can be a big decision, so be patient with the shopper – we promise you, in more cases than not, it will pay off.
Dress the part
Does your dealership have a dress code? If the answer is yes, then follow it. If it doesn’t, then make sure you create your own – you want to be looking professional, clean, and approachable. Believe it or not, your outfit and your likability go hand-in-hand.
And remember, that first impression can determine the final sale or not, so make sure it’s a good one. Whether you choose a three-piece suit, or a smart shirt and trousers, just be sure to look neat and tidy. Even if you’re not always seeing the customer in person, you should always look presentable – especially with the likes of SnapCell Live allowing dealerships to communicate with customers digitally.
Be transparent and honest
Don’t be a sneaky salesman, be honest. Don’t try playing games with the customer, or being tactical but instead enhance their trust and improve your relationship by being honest with them. If you don’t do this, you risk losing the sale and worst, severely damaging the reputation of your dealership.
Never lie to the customer – which means, if you don’t know the answer, tell them you don’t but explain you’ll be asking a colleague and find out. If you don’t have a car available, or the car the customer wants might have a longer lead time, let them know. And please try to avoid all of that technical, industry jargon – while you might think adding fancy words into the conversation will make you seem more professional, it can actually do the opposite and indicates you don’t necessarily know what you’re talking about.
An honest car salesman is much more likable than one that lies. Plus, dishonesty makes customers angry – and nobody wants an angry customer.
Enhance the customer experience with SnapCell
According to recent research, around 10 percent of car buyers would like to buy their next vehicle via an entirely online process, with almost 70 percent admitting they would prefer a hybrid experience. There’s an obvious shift in the way people want to shop for cars, and car salesmen need to be able to adapt their selling techniques to reflect this.
The SnapCell app is making it easier than ever for industry experts to rejig their selling style to match the demands of the modern-day buyer. What’s more, the video creating tool, helps to enhance the likeability of a car salesman, by ensuring industry professionals offer the same excellent customer service digitally, as they would if they were meeting the shopper in person. Schedule your free demo of SnapCell.