Could I beat my targets year in and year out? All kidding aside, the job of a car sales person is really difficult.
Many sales people have outdated methods and buyers are all to familiar with their approach. Buyers know what to expect when they drive on to. It can be hard comparing someone selling used cars for example to someone That being said, there are principles of sales that don't change. People buy from people and in a world full of competition it can often boil down.
I also may be a little slower, I like to reflect on the customer situation and think about the best approach to solve their problem. Part of being a great sales person is being excited and passionate about what you are selling. Years ago, I was Vice President of Sales for a technology company. They had a wide product line. The core products were, for me, uninspiring—I was really excited about a few product lines that were more complex, much more interesting.
It was a real struggle for me. Fortunately, we had sales people that were passionate about the core products.
A rose by any other name is still a rose—but selling is not selling is not selling. While at its core, B2B and B2C selling may be similar, to be successful requires very different skills, competencies and attitudes. Both are challenging, but for different reasons. One is no better than the others, though there is a lot of posturing about B2B and B2C.
Both are challenging, they each require passion, great skills, real competencies. But they are different! Any sales leader interested in their personal, professional and career development will want to join this community. Join us on January 14 for the kickoff conference.
For a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link. Free Sample. Even in the very narrow market my company serves I see it.
More online services Do you remember feeling hesitant about your purchase because the salesperson was not knowledgeable? According to McKinsey , the average number of times a consumer visits a car dealer before buying a car has dropped from 5 to 1. Like teaching, for example. About the Authors Tom Bird is a keynote speaker, business trainer, author and a coach. Hi Jon Thanks for this great article.
You are correct, the principles are same but the people reps and customers are not. You are spot on with this analysis David. Thanks so much for joining the discussion Mark! Keep commenting, you have good insights. Regards, Dave.
I agree with your contention that a good salesperson can sell anything. Another thought.
I agree that while a good salesperson can sell anything, the real good ones know what they sell best. There are excellent automobile salespeople who would not be as comfortable selling in a B2B sales environment. The selling environment we work within matters as does what we are asked to sell. Brian, thanks for the comment—actually, I may have miscommunicated. While the underlying principles are similar, the environment, sales cycles, relationships, …….. And, as you point out the opposite is true.
There is selling and there is professional selling or consultant, or complex. A good salesperson is not necessarily a good professional salesperson. In B2B we have to convince our customer with the facts. And when the facts are not enough, we are able to discuss with the customer the right way to tailor not only a product, not only a service, but a solution.
Thanks for the great comment Ivano—and for your contributions to the blog this year, best wishes for ! A good salesperson probably could sell anything…but not everything. A good salesperson not only needs to be passionate about what they sell, but also needs to research and have information to hand.
I meet B2B reps all the time in my work and I deal with customers directly. John: Thanks for joining the discussion and for the very nice words! Your comment is right on target—passion, knowledge, expertise, curiosity are all critical for sales. David, agree with your insightful sharing. So this may vary as the motivation is deeply associated with individual values and background.
Hard to say a succesful salesperson for fast moving consumer goods can well fit the position of technology account manager. David, A well-conceived and thought provoking article. This way of thinking precludes many potentially excellent salespeople from opportunities. As a sales professional, your most powerful asset is not your mouth. It is your ears. By listening to your customer, you can figure out exactly what makes them tick or perhaps more appropriately, exactly what makes them say yes.
The car buying process is an excellent example. A good salesperson asks all the questions that may be relevant to the buying process. Interestingly enough, many customers do not know what type of vehicle they would like to buy and this is your opportunity to put your product knowledge to use. You also need to know what they typically use the car for.
For instance, is this vehicle going to be used to take trips to the beach or is it a vehicle that will be used simply to commute to and from work? The trick is to ask questions that get to the underlying issue of features and benefits. Features and benefits are one of the most powerful tools you have as a sales professional. Continuing with the car buying example, your job is to point out features and benefits based on the information you have learned from talking with the customer, understanding their needs and listening. This idea transcends every sales process for any product.
Almost as important as understanding the needs of your customer is being honest with him or her. Everybody has heard the stereotypes about sleazy sales people bent on misleading customers intentionally. This is not a strategy used by sales professionals and it is not something you should include in your sales repertoire. The key thing to remember is that you are on the same side as the customer. Sure…you may be sitting across the table from them during the deal, but always realize that an honest approach works better for you and for your customer.
Customers are human — just like you. Although they may come to you to make a purchase, most customers are scared. They are scared because money is difficult to come by for many people especially given the state of the economy. This is a stereotype that every good salesperson must learn to overcome. The easiest way to overcome this perception is to be genuine with people. Although your customer may not understand every detail about the product you are selling, most people know when they are being lied to. That means you need to spend a great deal of effort being of genuine assistance to your potential clients.
Your honesty shines through the preconceived notions a customer might have about you going into a deal and makes for a functional business relationship that could be profitable for years into the future. You should have a very gentle mentality when dealing with customers. Although these things may be true, you will be better served by leaving your ego at the door and being the best listener you can.
Customers appreciate this genuine interest in their needs much more than any slick sales tactics you might learn along the way. Obviously, customers need to agree to the terms of the sale in order for you to become a successful salesperson. One way that many sales professionals accomplish this is to keep the customer saying yes throughout the sales process. Rather, it is a way to keep the tone of the conversation positive throughout the sales experience. You can do this very simply by asking questions designed to keep the customer in a positive buying mindset.
Instead, a good car salesperson will ask the customer if they would like a dark or a light colored vehicle. You could also make statements where yes is the only logical answer. When combined with a genuine interest in the needs and wants of the customer, this tactic provides a very positive overall experience for the customer. If a customer has enjoyed the experience and does not feel that they were pressured into something they were uncomfortable with, you are in a much better position to ask for the sale and join the ranks of elite salespeople worldwide.
As a sales professional, you should also focus on the customer has an individual when appropriate. Building rapport is a two-way street. As you are attempting to be personable and learn more about who your customer actually is, you are also showing the customer that you are a person too. Referring to the sales stereotypes mentioned previously, an easy way to break through to a client is to be yourself. If you try to build a friendship during the sales process, it becomes much easier to not only ask for the sale at the end, but your chances of actually closing the sale also improve greatly.
In The Natural Selling System , you learn how to provide a high value, low pressure environment for your customers that will greatly improve your rapport and ultimately, your bottom line. Unfortunately, many sales people become complacent. If you have been in the sales world for any length of time, you have probably encountered these individuals.
They try to pre-qualify customers based on traits that have nothing to do with the sales process. Not only is this unfair to the customer, but it can also cost you a lot of sales. Another aspect of this complacent attitude is not performing a full product demonstration whenever possible. Especially when it comes to big, expensive purchases, customers want to see the product actually work so they can assess for themselves whether the product meets their needs.
Far too often, salespeople skip this step. Even if you are fortunate enough to still get the sale with a substandard or non-existent product demonstration, you will have to combat more objections. Specifically, many customers want to haggle over price. Since you did not show customers why your product is a perfect solution for them, most customers will have difficulty seeing the value in the product and may look for steep discounts before making a purchase.
An often overlooked aspect of becoming a sales professional is making sure people know what you do for a living. A successful salesperson never misses an opportunity to share their profession with others. It could be your family, friends or people you meet during community activities.
Business cards are a good way to spread the word about your product, but this is quickly becoming an antiquated method in the Information Age. If you do use business cards, try to have keep them simple and straightforward. Other options include creating a personal sales website where people can look at your products, learn more information about you and hopefully contact you when they are ready to learn more or make a purchase decision. This and other tactics are discussed in Sales Hacking: An Introduction.
In addition to letting people know what you do, you should always be looking for new opportunities as a sales professional.
If you hear an opportunity to mention your product or services, take it. Of course, there is a fine line between coming off as tacky and coming across as a professional that is confident in his or her product, so use your own judgement when deciding if a sales pitch is ill-timed or not. Simply move on and look for another opportunity. As a general rule, if you are genuine with people in every aspect of your life, you often find sales opportunities that would not be available otherwise.
Their consumers, when at a systematic information disadvantage, have no choice but to trust the vendor. It ranges from the cover up of minor product flaws up to planned obsolescence , the most blatant manifestation of information asymmetry, in which products are designed to fail prematurely. If you ever wondered why your expensive smartphone suddenly takes forever to open a text, this might be the reason.
In his paper Reputation and Feedback Systems in Online Platform Markets , Steven Tadelis even identifies information imbalance as the root cause of friction and mistrust in online sales. According to him, it impairs trust most strongly when it appears to be actively upheld or exploited by the advantageous party.
Eventually, it creates a stigma, the suspicion of which is enough to hurt sales. The role of reputation and feedback systems is to promote trust and trustworthiness in online marketplaces so as to reduce frictions caused by asymmetric information, and in turn increase the efficiency of these markets. The seller often exploits this through a hard sell — e. Test Userlike for free and chat with your customers on your website, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram. Alternatively, the add-ons are falsely labeled as part of the standard setup or first show up in the fine print of the receipt, after the purchase is made.
This technique starts with advertising a crazy good price for a certain car that is not actually available in the store. With the prospect now in reach, the salesman can offer her similar, higher-priced cars. When using the bait and switch technique, sellers abuse the commitment bias , our tendency to stick to doing something once we have decided to do it. This can make us go along even if the expected outcome has changed for the worse. This practice is punishable by law unless sellers exonerate themselves through slick wording or clear disclaimers, as described in The Balance.
This technique technically is a bait and switch scheme as well: a product is advertised through a very compelling, ultimately misleading price to lure consumers into the funnel. Once they hit the store or site, they are presented with an inferior no-frills version that lacks major features not visible in the add, like parking assist or, some years ago, AC.
To get these rather inevitable features, the prospect has to fork out some more. Another technique sharing some characteristics with bait and switch, the low-ball is exclusively used in single transactions.