Used car salespeople often ask themselves, “Do buyers like me? Like really ‘like’ me?”
Its not egotistical. It’s a perfectly reasonable concern for anyone who has to put themselves out there to connect with customers and close deals. Beyond factors related to vehicles and service, dealer likability is one of the top things that impact people’s used car buying decisions. After all, no one wants to make a major purchase from someone they don’t like spending time with.
Based on our personal experiences with pre-owned vehicle dealers, here are some things that make salespeople likable.
Always be positive and keep smiling. Even when things go wrong, don’t complain, don’t explain. If a customer is difficult or indecisive, never express frustration or displeasure, even in small ways like sighing, slumping or wringing your hands. Instead, remain attentive and helpful. If your customer has a negative attitude, you may be able to turn things around if you stay positive no matter what happens.
Be aware: If you go negative when working with a customer, the impact won’t be limited to that single interaction. The shopper will share the story with their friends, family members and coworkers. It could even go viral online. You won’t lose one sale. You could potentially lose many prospective customers.
People love validation. That’s why it’s a good idea to compliment their auto-related choices, including the models, colors and options they like. It makes them feel their ideas, insights and preferences are good ones when a professional approves of them. It’s more likely they’ll purchase a used car from you if they feel validated.
Tip: Limit your compliments to things related to the car buying experience. Mentioning anything too personal, such as someone’s hair, clothes or shoes, could come across as creepy, not complimentary.
Reflect your customers.
It’s never a good idea to change your personality to appeal to shoppers. It makes you seem artificial and inauthentic, which will cause customers to lose trust in you.
However, it’s a good idea to mirror the behavior of the people you’re selling to. For example, if they’re soft spoken, lower your tone if you typically talk at full volume. If they like to step back and think, you should mirror this and provide them with the space to do so. Adjust the car buying process so it moves at their pace, not yours. Reflecting customer behavior creates an unspoken bond that will help you sell more cars.
Demonstrate a sense of humor.
This is one of the more challenging tips. What’s funny to one person may not be to another. Try to see the lighter side of things when you find yourself in challenging situations. Be able to laugh at yourself when something awkward happens. Diffusing difficult situations with humor could transform a deal breaking situation into a deal making one.
Tip: Humor is good. Comedy is bad. Don’t allow your sense of humor to turn into a comedy act. You may find the joke your brother told you last week really funny, but your customers may not.
Create a safe space.
Most people are dealing with personal challenges because of the pandemic and resulting financial crisis. They could be afraid of catching COVID-19, may be dealing with family issues or are worried about losing their jobs. During times like these, it’s important to be extra-sensitive to the feelings of customers. Create a safe environment where they can openly share what’s going on in their lives. It will make the used car buying process more comfortable for them, making it more likely they’ll buy from you.
You don’t have to be physically beautiful or handsome to be attractive to your customers. Do simple things like:
- Dressing appropriately in clean, freshly pressed clothes.
- Taking time for proper grooming.
- Applying the right amount of cologne (not too much!)
- Avoiding smelling like cigarettes, garlic or onions.
Looking and smelling nice will go a long way toward encouraging shoppers to give you a shot… and find that they like you, really like you. And want to purchase a used vehicle from you.
Go above and beyond.
Always take time to listen to your customers’ concerns. Make an effort to understand where they’re coming from. Treat them like you would a family member. Look out for their interests. Be a friend. Earn their trust. In the end, they want the same thing you do: To buy a used car. A little understanding will help get you there.