Regardless of the industry you work in, you will always find salespeople who are more successful than the rest.
These associates seemingly steer clear of the pitfalls that plague their peers and always know what to say.
What’s their secret?
Truth be told, there is no magic formula to selling. But there are basic skill sets that – when combined with training and hard work - can form the foundation for a long, profitable career in sales.
Sales in the automotive industry is no exception, especially given the high staff turnover rates and lofty sales goals found at many dealerships.
Here are nine essential skills from some of the top salespeople we’ve surveyed:
1: Be Confident
The best sales teams are not only confident about the products they sell, but also in their ability to sell them.
They are able to convey this confidence to their customers, making the customer more confident about the purchase. Self-confidence is a skill that is developed through knowledge and practice. Confident salespeople are self-assured because they know their products and they consistently practice their sales techniques.
2: Be Persuasive
Being persuasive and exercising influence over your customers comes from an understanding of the psychology behind selling. Legendary author Robert Cialdini describes his principles as influence as Liking, Reciprocity, Authority, Scarcity, Social Proof, and Consistency.
Salespersons who understand customers’ mindsets and can tap into these influence principles will have a better chance of turning a “no” into a “yes.”
3: Be a Good Listener
Let’s get serious:
Being a great listener is perhaps the most important step to becoming a great salesperson.
Only the customer knows exactly what he or she needs, and will communicate this need only if provided with the opportunity. Take a moment to listen to the benefits and features that the customer is looking for in a vehicle or product... then offer them the product that best fits their needs.
Even if a salesperson has excellent sales skills and product knowledge, they will never be successful if they’re not motivated to sell.
4: Be Inquisitive
Once the customer finishes telling you exactly what he or she wants, it is time to start asking questions.
Does the customer seem focused on a particular vehicle model?
Find out why.
The customer may be shopping for a specific model they saw in an ad, but they may not know about new or different models that are a better fit.
Learning more about the customer’s desires can help you better understand the customer and make a more effective product presentation.
5: Be Trustworthy
So...there are plenty of dealerships out there selling the same brand of vehicles as your store.
How can you differentiate your process?
One of the only things separating you from your competition is the relationship you build with your customers. Customers are more likely to buy from a salesperson they like and trust, even if it means getting a lesser deal than at the store down the street.
Greet your customers professionally, show genuine interest in their needs, and work hard to establish a trusting relationship with them.
6: Be Motivated
Even if a salesperson has top notch skills and product knowledge, they will never be successful if they’re not motivated to sell. The best salespersons always stay hungry for the next opportunity.
They don’t wait for an online lead or for a customer to walk into their dealership... they find creative methods to attract new customers and make the most of every opportunity in front of them.
Don’t push the customer to do something they don’t want to do. It is important to stay committed and focused on the objective by providing the customer with all the information needed to make the purchase.
7: Be Able to Identify Buying Signals
Salespersons who are able to accurately identify a customer’s buying signals and capitalize on them will always stand above the rest.
As part of this skill, they perform a trial close throughout the sales process. A trial close helps them figure out whether or not they have placed the customer with the right car, and identify whether the customer is ready to make a purchase.
An excellent example of a solid trial close is, “Mr. Smith … Now that you have driven the car, is this the car you want to buy or would you like to look at some more options with me?”
8: Be Able to Handle Objections
On average, salespersons who excel in overcoming objections go to the desk less often and sell more cars at a higher gross profit.
And salespersons who develop their skills in overcoming objections will consistently sell more cars.
It is important to remain calm during the objection handling process and remember that objections aren't personal.
Just stay friendly and focused on the customer's needs when addressing the concern.
9: Be a Strong Closer
The best closers know that the most important part of the close is everything leading up to it.
The key is to encourage the customer to buy the vehicle before they actually get to the closing stage of the process.
But don’t push the customer to do something they don’t want to do. It is important to stay committed and focused by providing the customer with all the information they need to make the purchase.
While many successful salespersons seem to have been blessed with these skills, the truth is: all of them are learned over time.
Anyone can acquire these skills through solid sales training programs, motivation and practice.