Fear is the greatest enemy you’ll ever encounter as an automotive professional. Fears appear on both sides of most sales situations, so you really need to understand them and master how to overcome them.
Hopefully, you’ll learn to recognize and conquer your own inner fears. Those common fears most salespeople have of not getting enough business, making mistakes, or losing face will be conquered with knowledge and experience. Being educated and well-prepared to perform in this industry brings about self-confidence.
Fear is also what builds that wall of resistance you so often run into. The toughest job you’ll encounter in sales is when you have to help others admit to and overcome their fears so you can earn the right to serve their needs.
There are skills you must master in order to climb over or break through that wall. But first, you must understand what the fears are.
What are the most common fears you’ll have to overcome with buyers?
Your prospective client is initially afraid of you. You are a salesperson. I think you’ll agree with me that salespeople are not generally accepted with open arms—even by other salespeople. Even if you are going to help someone you already know—a friend, acquaintance, or even a relative—when you enter their lives in the role of a sales person, certain fears will arise. It’s bound to happen in 99 percent of your presentations. (I’ll give you a one percent non-fear situation with your parents or grandparents, simply because in most cases they’ll believe in you and trust you no matter what role you play with them.)
What you need to do to conquer the “salesperson fear” is to master the skill of putting people at ease. Learn to use a relaxed manner and tone of voice. Use rapport-setting comments and questions that show them you are interested in them, not just in the transaction. You need to come across as warm, friendly, and inviting. If you truly believe in your products and the quality of service you and your dealership can deliver, it should show.
Smile. Give the client a sincere compliment. Thank them for the opportunity to serve their needs. In other words, treat them as you would a guest you are honored to have in your home.
The next fear you’ll encounter is their fear of making a mistake. Hey, we all have that one, don’t we? We’ve all made decisions we’ve later regretted. Since you’re working with one of the larger investments average people ever make, you must take the time to talk them through every aspect of the transaction very carefully.
You are the expert. You know this business. You may have knowledge about aspects of it that they hadn’t thought of, and if they had, their decision may have been different.
You must go into every demonstration with a very curious interest in the who, what, when, where, and why of the transaction. When you’ve satisfied yourself that it is in their best interest to proceed, then it’s your obligation as an expert to convince them that this decision is truly good for them.
The next fear is a fear of owing money. People may make irrational statements or ask questions that seem out of place. They may even mistrust what you have to say. They may want to negotiate.
Please realize that it’s simply a symptom of the fear they are feeling about the transaction. When you notice something along these lines, pause in your presentation. You might want to do a brief summary of what’s been discussed thus far to be certain they understand everything you’ve covered.
This challenge may appear in many variations, depending on the negotiating skills of your clients.
They may stall making a decision to go ahead and you’ll have to draw them out.
They may be point blank about it and you’ll have to sell them on the value of the vehicle and the service your dealership provides.
A good way to handle most fears is to confront them head on, but gently. You might simply say, “John and Mary, I feel you have some hesitation about going ahead with this purchase. Would you mind sharing with me what it is?” Then, be quiet and wait for their reply. It could be that they’ve had a bad past experience and are sitting there fearful of having another. They’re waiting and watching you for signs that you’re not like that other salesperson.
Get them talking about their fears so you can determine something concrete to work with. Help them to see how different you and your dealership are. People won’t do business with you if they don’t like you, trust you, and want to listen to you. Learn how to get fear out of the way.