There are varying levels of commitment to salesperson training at RV dealerships across the country, ranging from extensive time and effort to literally no training at all. Even for those who invest thousands of dollars to help salespeople keep up with product enhancements and customer buying habits, very few spend any time on the techniques needed to help customers trust their salesperson.
Customers have many pre-conceived thoughts about salespeople, based on previous experience, feedback from friends or negative comments viewed on-line. This increases fear, apprehension and lack of trust that becomes an emotional roadblock, even before walking into a dealership. They’re typically afraid of being taken advantage of, being sold the wrong thing, spending more than they can afford, or paying more than something is worth.
Many customers also fear that salespeople would rather make a sale than solve their problem or will promote higher profit products to them rather than one that fits their needs. The number one fear though, is that they fear their salesperson will not be honest, and they will not be able to trust them. Sadly, some are not honest and some customers paint with a broad brush and put all salespeople in that boat.
Unfortunately, when customers walk into the dealership, it’s so easy for the salesperson to get caught up in sales steps, product knowledge and getting them in front of a product, that they never take the time and effort allow trust to be built. The customer gets distracted by the excitement of looking at RV’s and forgets about their lack of trust until it’s time to take out the credit card for the down payment. Then BAM, everything comes to a sudden stop, and they realize that buying just doesn’t feel right.
The customer may LIKE their salesperson, but once they TRUST their salesperson, all the information the salesperson needs to make the sale becomes more available. Taking the time in the first few minutes of a customer visit to build trust will open the door for customer comfort and lead to the trust needed to:
- Pass along information needed to match the right product for them
- Be more open to solutions your product offers them
- Ask questions before coming up later as objections
- Accept your presentation more openly
- Allow you the opportunity to solve problems for them
- Indicate their willingness to buy
- Be honest about financial capability
- Allow you to challenge them when they get interested in a product that doesn’t fit them
- Reveal how they like to be sold
- Not withhold important information
- Be able to say “yes” when the time comes
- Be more willing to refer their salesperson to friends or campers around the fire at the campground
The techniques that allow trust to be built are not overly scientific, but are simple steps that the average person values in a meaningful conversation:
- NAIL the greeting by showing how sincerely happy you are that they stopped in.
- Put the customer first, and make sure they feel that.
- Be honest; no cheesy, phony salesperson talk using slang words.
- Explain how you’d like to try to help them and why it benefits them.
- Be authentic; ask questions with a sincere, respectful approach.
- Be an active listener by being patient waiting for them to answer.
- Ask for clarification to show your desire to understand them.
- Build the conversation by asking follow up questions based on an answer they just gave.
- Be authentic; if you don’t know, say you don’t know and go get the answer from another source.
- Recap and repeat what you heard for their confirmation.
- Verify that their verbal responses match their body language, asking for confirmation if they seem uncomfortable.
- Understand that customers don’t always know what product is best for them, despite their extensive on-line research.
- Use examples to show them why their needs are more important than their wants.
- Follow through: Do what you said you would do when you said you would do it – every time, no exceptions.
- Sell to them in a style that matches their behavior, as people like to buy from people like them
- Smile and have fun as they want to as well.
The side benefit of all these things is that these integrity-based behaviors can also be effective in non-business-related personal relationships. Why? Because the business of sales isn’t about selling. It’s about people … and what turns customers off is when salespeople stop acting like people once they put the company name tag on.
Thomas Morin is a Certified Sales and Career Coach. After joining Alpin Haus in Amsterdam, New York, Morin quickly became a top RV salesperson and was named as Trainer for all new salespeople. He was subsequently promoted to Sales Manager, followed by Director of Employee Development, responsible for company recruitment, succession planning and training of all salespeople. For more information on Morin and his coaching company, visit his website at: Unlock Your Career Coaching.