The Curse of the Expert Car Sales Consultant

 So, you are an expert in selling vehicles? You want to be an expert? Let’s look at the word expert.

So, you are an expert in selling vehicles? You wanting to become an expert? Let’s look at the word expert.

Expert (noun)

a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.


Majority of the people I have met in my life are not experts. They are actors. They have a skill to make someone say yes. That doesn’t mean you “sold” something. I despise the word “sell”. It sounds dirty and cheap. I have never really been sold something as I ask too many questions. I usually purchase or buy into a belief through consultation and research.


Mindless order takers never make good managers. You can take 30 vehicle orders a month and it does not equivalate to management or director material. If you are going to grow your management staff correctly to where they can deal with employees. They need to learn consulting skills. Understanding needs, the big picture and the firm grasp of the entire operation (yes, go write service for a bit!!). These are just a few amongst the many that evolve sales consultants into managers.


To consultant is to make the person or people involved believe in what they are purchasing, doing or understand the idea. I really hate the word “salesman” or “sales consultant”.  I like product expert, product consultant or something of that nature. You get my drift.


Every position I have ever held, I have had to consult. I was car salesman, sales manager, service manager, parts manager and so on. You ask, “You had to sell if you were any of those!”. I did if you still want to use the word sell. It is all you know to use. Change your thinking and evolve your mind.


When I was in my late teens, I studied new and used vehicles religiously. My whole life, vehicles were a part of it. When I was a sales consultant and someone came on the lot looking at trucks, I approached them. I had no slick gimmick word tracks. I politely asked if I could help them. They would say the usual, “just looking”. I would acknowledge that and introduce myself. I would then open the lockbox on the window and show them the truck. I would go over all the features and even inform them of specific information on the model. Not really asking about buying, I continued with comparison of like models and other makes. Usually gave them data on what maintenance these required and even explained the tires and quality. Going over all the perks with getting a new vehicle, I went over the warranty, roadside assistance, maintenance plans and so on. I knew my product in and out.


I never once asked, “You ready to sign up?”. I simply asked if there were anymore questions and what were their thoughts. I tended to start with yes or no questions to see what they liked about the vehicle and ended with open ended questions. After about a half hour or so of conversing, I usually had made a friend. That’s just my personality. 8 out of 10 times, they told me they were ready to buy or see what it would cost them with their trade.


Leading them to my office, I would go over everything they needed to know about the process, time frame and pertinent information. Total transparency. I made more money in my life delivering vehicles to people and families. It was not a “cold” transaction. It was one that garnered repeat business and service business.


So back to experts! Most places want you to push out as many as you can. Put on the fake smile and make some deals happen.  Make promises you can’t deliver on. Yea, I can assure you that might push volume, but repeat business is going to be tarnished. I see so many dealers that have salespeople who couldn’t close a screen door. They never get proper guidance due to the fact their managers were trained the same way. Most are just the guy that sold the most cars last year. What? Yes. Eventually the managers become GM’s in a few years of pushing out loads of cars. Trial by fire. You think large successful companies flourish by this business model. HELL NO. Not even small companies.


The bottom line is, you must believe in what you are selling. You can pick up one of the thousands of books that state this, this is common sense. Currently, the internet is the king. Most consumers are aware of prices and options. It’s your responsibility to go over their choices, show them the value of doing business with you and your dealership. Consult with them on financing options and get their trade evaluated.


The back and forth to the sales desk usually pisses people off. “But people love to haggle!”. No, they don’t. They want to know they are getting the best deal. They also want to feel like they are appreciated and getting more than what they are paying for. This means giving them the ultimate customer experience and hopefully retaining a customer for life.


There are thousands of scenarios that can be thrown out there. I assure you, I can overcome and make all a smooth transaction.  It’s about honesty, integrity and genuinely caring that you make sure consumers are happy. Period.


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