by John Ingrisano
I was in a serious buying situation at a used car dealership several months ago. One thing above all else killed the deal: The salesman kept telling me I was wrong. He may have read, Winning by Intimidation. However, to the best of my knowledge, there is no book titled, Selling by Intimidation.
I went in with a fair amount of research under my belt and a strong desire to get a fair, win/win deal. I wanted to have a dialog, a negotiating discussion. However, the salesman, who seemed intent on impressing me with his knowledge, didn’t discuss or negotiate, but simply kept telling me where I was wrong every time I opened up my mouth. It got really old really fast.
When I said, “The car is nice, but I’m a bit concerned about the high mileage,” he never acknowledged my concerns, but instead came back at me with: “For today’s cars? No, the mileage is not too high at all.”
When I said that the price was rather high for a car with that many miles,” he told me, ”You obviously have not looked online at comparable cars.”
When I asked about a trade-in, he flat-out insulted the car: “These cars may have been getting top dollar in the past, but I’d be lucky to unload it today for what I’m offering you. Nobody wants them.” (I sold it a few weeks later for 40% above what he was willing to take it off my hands.)
When I asked if he could come down a bit on the price, he said, “We price our cars to sell, and there is no wiggle room.” (Later on, when I finally had enough of being treated like the Moron of the Year and stood to leave, he knocked off $500. By that time, I wouldn’t have done business with him if he had wanted to give me the car.)
Whether you are selling a product or a service, never forget that you never win a sale by winning an argument. No, maybe the customer is not always right … but, well, the customer is nonetheless always right.
If you want to prove you’re smart, play Scrabble or join a debate club. But if you want to close a sale, work with the prospect and NEVER, NEVER attempt to make that person feel stupid or uninformed.
What he should have done: Acknowledge my concerns/questions/objections and then guide me to where he wanted me to be. Example: “Now, that’s a good point, and I would normally agree with you. However, let’s take a look at the special features that make this car just a bit special and worth every dime we’re asking for it.”
Or: “Now, that trade-in is a fine car, one of the best in its class. My problem is that, with gas prices at an all-time high, I’m having a hard time selling these big old beauties these days. You might want to consider selling it yourself, cutting out the middleman. Or, I tell you what – It is in good shape for its age. I can go up another $200. It may not seem like much, but, well, selling it online yourself might be more trouble than you want to invest. If you can take the additional $200, we have a deal … and you don’t have to worry about the hassle of advertising it, dealing with no-shows and strangers coming out for test drives, worrying if the check will clear, that sort of thing. Deal?
The bottom line: Be tactful and respectful … always. Address or ignore prospects’ objections as the situation requires. However, never get into an argument with them.
Work hard. Make money. Have fun. And play nice … always. – JRI
The Freestyle Entrepreneur – winner of the 2010 Top 35 Entrepreneur Blog awards from OnLine MBA.
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