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Social Advocacy Learning: 5 Ways to Peel the Onion

I’ve been talking a lot about the next evolution of learning recently. I honestly believe for the health of our industry we need to be focusing less on “steps to selling” and then watching training videos and more on building communities. Let’s not worry so much about “If” the prospect is going to move forward to the next step of the sale and worry more about their needs and motivations so taking that next step is logical. Let’s stop triggering customers with questions that are meant to push them into action and instead meet them where they are and slowly peel back their trigger points like layers of an onion.

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This method of selling is a consultative process we call Frictionless Selling and it is then sustained with the first-ever Social Advocacy Learning platform. During the training and sustainment in community the sales team and service advisor team learn five skills to make this work for your dealership:

1. Understand the prospect’s style, create relationships and the next steps forward.

The next evolution of selling will be entirely relationship driven in order to move on to the next steps. What is the car buyer’s style? Are they no-nonsense or relational? Are they interested in conversing and developing a rapport or just ready to finish up as quickly as possible and head home in their new vehicle? A service advisor and a salesperson must know that this is first step to moving the sale forward.

2. Use powerful new questions, whether in an email or phone call, to learn about needs and motivations.

Today’s top sellers ask questions built to get results, over email, text and in person, to learn not just about what vehicle the buyer wants, but their motivations behind it. What does this car symbolize to the person? Learning how to discover real motivations and needs is the key to success for any salesperson or service advisor.

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An example of a powerful question could be, “Out of all of the 4Runners you’ve seen, describe what is it about this one that appeals to you?” or “Help me understand when you say the brakes need replacing – can you describe what you feel, hear or sense?”

3. They connect the value of the vehicle or service to the customer in ways that create profit.

Once you know the customer’s motivations, you can connect individual value for them. Using the point above, the buyer may have selected the 4Runner because she has a growing family and a dog, so she needs leather seats and an easy way to get her kids and their gear to sports. But she is also interested in driving something that looks good for her and her husband’s nights on the town. Knowing this, when your sales person gets to the presentation, are they going to focus on the navigation system? No! They’re going to go back to the need for leather seats, fold down chairs for sports gear, and how good it will look in valet parking next to the swanky restaurant. No more feature/benefit advantage with a shotgun approach and hope to hit the target.

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4. The ability to minimize resistance and discuss how to move forward, not if we move forward.

When we follow the above example and tie the sale to the motivations of the customer, we build value and trust. The old guard says you had to take the prospect on a test drive, ask if the person can picture themselves driving away in the new car and sell it to them on the lot. The new guard stops asking these triggering questions all together. The new guard shares a process to move forward with the buyer information on the vehicle and payments and make sure everything meets the needs of the customer. If so, then the customer can let the sales associate know what timing they have in mind for the purchase of the vehicle, and oh, by the way, does the buyer want it home delivered?

Do you see the difference between these two styles? In service we talk about the steps to keep the car running great, we plan a path for doing the 30K now and then needed things over time — we stop asking if and we plan how we help them.

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5. The ability to build lifetime value with that customer.

Today’s most successful salespeople and service advisors understand that the lifetime value of the customer far exceeds the individual sale. How do we make the people who are coming into the dealership feel that they are our partner, not our customer? How do they start to see us as their “advocate”? How do we enable salespeople and service advisors to sustain the relationship and not just assume a CRM does it all?

It is no longer enough to sell a customer a car or do their warranty work. We must take it to the next level and sell them a car, be the advocate for them in service, and build that relationship for the next car, and the needs of people they know.

Isn’t it time we turned down the heat on selling and turned it up on being skilled at facilitating them doing business with us forever? Isn’t it time we stopped trigging these customers? Isn’t it time we learned their motivations and catered the sale to those needs? Isn’t it time we peeled back the onion?

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