Car Sales Qualifying Questions

by Dan

Question: I need some advice for car sales qualifying questions. I am currently spending way too much time with people who can't or won't buy today.

I need a questioning sequence that will expose the real buyers and flush out the others. what do you do to minimize time with the ones who won't buy?

Answer: Hi Dan,

There are several different ways I could go here, but the one that sticks out the most in my head is your frame of mind when dealing with potential customers.

I could be way off base here and I certainly am not trying to be judgmental, but I've seen it quite a few times where a car salesman gets into a bit of a mental rut (oftentimes they don't even realize they're in one) and everything seems to be going wrong.

This rut leads some salesmen to feeling like the world is against them and thoughts like "All I get are tire kickers" or "Can I just get one customer with the credit to buy?" start to creep into their heads.

I would guesstimate that 80% of car buyers are not ready to buy today and will tell the salesman exactly that, but in reality they are scared/nervous to buy today and need help in making a wise decision.

Remember that a vehicle purchase is the second largest purchase most consumers will ever make and it's a big commitment.

But, keep in mind that of my 80% figure from above a very large percentage of those people will end up buying within the next 3 days.

This is a proven statistic and I don't recall the exact number, but I believe it was in the 70-80% range. I can't even count how many times buyers have sat in my office to sign contracts and told me that they had no intention of doing this today.

If the customer took the time to drive to the lot to look at cars, they are there for a reason and that's where a salesman needs to shine...

Sell them the sizzle not the steak! Show them the value in you, the dealership and the vehicle and build a sense of urgency to buy today!

Of course, if you are dealing with service customers, they may be legitimately just looking at vehicles to kill some time.

Even in this case, you're still working with a potential customer now or in the future and it doesn't hurt to offer to pay their service bill and help them get into a new more reliable vehicle with full factory warranty and low monthly payments...etc.

You also can be direct with customers and ask them straight up, "When do you plan on purchasing a vehicle?" This benefits you in that it will help to tear some of the wall down that many customers put up when dealing with a salesman.

They subconsciously view statements like these as you letting them off the hook and not pressuring them to buy today, but you know that them buying today is exactly what you want them to do and you begin to work towards building that sense of urgency.

I would highly recommend you take a look at some of Grant Cardone's
sales materials. It's a highly effective, yet pressure free way to sell and has helped me immensely.

In addition, be sure to always turn every customer with even an ounce of potential to be a buyer to a sales manager prior to them leaving the lot. Many salesmen skip this step and it costs them deals.

Also always stay on top of your follow up and get a manager involved to help calling customers back after they've left the lot. Every customer you make contact with is building you a pipeline...

Some will pan out and become buyers and others may not, but you certainly don't want to abandon them if they don't buy today.

Regarding customers with credit issues and their ability to buy...One of the best and least intrusive ways to learn about their ability or lack of is to ask questions about their trade or whatever vehicle they've driven up in.

Lead in with a compliment and then start asking your questions...

Wow, you've taken great care of it and I have another customer that I think would love it! Do you owe any money on it? Who is your current lender (this will tell you a lot about their credit)? If it's paid off, who was the lender?

What are your monthly payments? No matter what the answer, wow, how did you get the payments so low? I've got 0% or I put 10K down (if so do you plan on doing that again?) or "Low! They're way too high, because I'm paying 22% interest"!

One way or the other, a lot of information can be learned from talking about the trade in. You don't want to be too forward and start asking specifically about their credit, but more than likely they will volunteer information if they feel that their credit might be a problem while you're asking these other questions.

Even with all this information be very careful trying to determine who can and can't buy. Be sure to not skip steps and let the Finance Manager have a shot at their credit prior to potentially costing yourself a sale.

Sometimes, yes, you will waste time with someone that can't buy, but you've got to keep in mind that car sales is a numbers game. The more people you get in front of the more cars you are likely to sell.

Even though it's a numbers game you still want to make each number count. You could take two salesmen, one with a proven track record and one with no record, and put them in front of the same 100 customers.

The proven salesman might sell 35 cars and the unproven one may only sell 10...A lot just has to do with how each opportunity is handled.

I didn't mean for this whole reply to be put back on you and I'm certainly not trying to say that you aren't doing your job, but what I've written above is just the way that I've seen it many times.

Definitely look into Grant Cardone's sales training as I think this could help you to convert more of the opportunities you have daily from "not today" to "where do I sign?"

Hope this helps,

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