Ups, customers, clients or clientele – it’s not about words, but about the attitudes they drive. Simply changing the words sales teams use can change their attitudes and drive an increase in closing ratios and bottom line profits. For example, instead of referring to every individual who walks into a show room as an “up,” sales teams should call him or her customers. A customer has purchasing power and is likely to buy, while “up” is simply a direction and really has no place in a sales person’s vocabulary. While this is an important first step, ultimately the goal is to convert customers to clients, people who engage the professional advice or services of another over time.
It is a proven fact that when a customer comes into a dealership and asks specifically for a particular sales person, the closing percentage is 60% or higher as compared to an average 12% to 15% for the average prospect who is drawn into the dealership through advertising and general awareness. When a client comes in, not only do they ask for a specific sales person, but they rely on his or her advice. And, knowing the client, the sales person is able to sell them vehicle which may cost a bit more, but meets their needs so precisely, that there is little room for discussion. So, which would a sales person rather have?
Sales people cultivate customers through prospecting and referrals. They convert customers into clients by establishing and maintaining personal communication that allows them to get to know them and build a sense of trust. It’s this trust that allows clients to trust the sales person for advice, and allows the sales person to secure referrals and higher value and volume sales.
In creating clients, the most effective tool a sales person has is the telephone. Yet it is often the least used; most sales people are reluctant to call customers after they take delivery because they are afraid of being put in a negative situation where the customer “gives them an earful” of what is wrong with the car. This negative attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If, however, the sales person approaches the call with a positive attitude and chooses the words that will guide the conversation to a positive outcome, success is virtually guaranteed. Consider this simple conversation:
- Sales Person (SP): “Hi, this is Steve calling from APB Motors. I know you just drove home your new automobile, and I have to ask you a question. Did you park the car in the street or in your driveway?”
- Customer: “I parked it in the driveway.” (Of course - they wanted to show it off to their neighbors!)
- SP: “So, how’s it look?”
- Customer: “It looks great!”
- SP: “Have your neighbors seen it?”
- Customer: “Yes, they are drooling. In fact Fred couldn’t wait to have a ride.”
- SP: “Hey, would you mind if I gave Fred a call?”
- Customer: “Sure, that’s a great idea! Here’s his number.”
Now, was that a positive or negative experience? It certainly was a better approach than calling and asking, “Is it running ok?” and then hearing about all the minute “problems” the customer discovered. If a sales person starts a conversation on a positive note, not only will it make the conversation easier, but it will allow the sales person to guide it to a positive outcome.
When sales managers make the commitment to train their teams to adopt a positive attitude and help them develop clientele, the pay back is tangible and exponential. When customers become clients, they begin to rely on their sales person (and by default the dealership) to help them make decisions for all their transportation needs, from new vehicles, to additional vehicles for family and friends, and for service, accessories, and other products. All this leads to higher sales, higher commissions, and larger bottom line profits.