In the ever-changing world of automotive sales, there is one thing that remains the same: Customer relationships are key. A main tenet of this business has always been “win customers for life.” but how do you win people over “for life” when you have such a short amount of time to get to know them?
Use Your Time Wisely
Dealerships are fast-paced. Every dealership wants to sell as many cars as possible in the shortest amount of time. While customers want their time respected, they also want to feel seen and heard. If customers feel like they’re being treated as just another number, they’re less likely to return. When it comes to shopping, car buyers are accustomed to answering the same surface-level questions everywhere they go. Questions like, “Do you have a trade-in?” or “Are you considering financing?” While these questions are necessary, it’s important that you don’t stop there.
It is imperative to ask the right questions to find out what motivates your customers. Perhaps a customer who is “just looking” has wanted a car for a while, but hasn’t been able to find something within their budget. Maybe the customer needs a car with good mileage because they have to do more driving than they’d anticipated (taking a loved one to and from appointments, unexpectedly traveling for work, etc.). Getting to know the customer means getting to know their needs and that benefits everyone.
Identify a Customer’s Priorities
Every customer is different. While one might be focused on how easily the second-row seats fold down, another might only care about a vehicle’s safety features. You can’t sell a car to someone if you don’t know what matters most to them. Instead of asking a customer why they picked out a certain car, be more specific and intentional with your line of questioning. For example: “Can you describe what you like about this car?” Ask the right questions to get better results.
The Power of Active Listening
Working in automotive sales means talking to dozens of people a day. It can be hard to keep track of every single customer’s name, let alone anything else about the potential sale. If you’re too zoned in on your own process, you won’t be able to fully digest what the customer is telling you. Active listening is a way to remedy this issue. If you are interacting with a customer in person, jot down quick notes or focus on making eye contact. If you have trouble remembering why a customer wants to look at a specific vehicle, doing a verbal recap will help you confirm what was said. This also shows the customer you really listened to them.
While these strategies can help you make the initial sale, it also creates the opportunity to build a real relationship. That’s how you win customers for life.