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The Salesman That Couldn’t Lie

usedcars

Kurt Russell in Used Cars [1980]

Once upon a time, there was a car salesman that couldn’t lie.

At least this is what he told all the customers who came into his dealership.

None of them believed him.

The End


Isn’t that sad?  I mean, it’s funny, but in a sad way.  Especially because it’s a true story.

That’s right. The car salesman was me. I really was completely, 100% honest with my customers.  I was so transparent to my customers that they almost rarely believed it.

Car salesmen have gotten such a [deservingly] bad rap that it’s almost impossible to get passed the stereotypes.  Not just with the public. I struggled to gain trust from friends who know me and my integrity. For some reason, once they came into the sleazy dealership environment, they looked at me differently, until I proved to them that I was completely on the level.

Staying away from dishonesty as a sales person isn’t easy either. Most companies actually train their sales team with exaggerated info, padded stats, tricks, traps and cheats to ‘get the sale’.  Many of these companies have scripted their process so strictly that the sales person is advised that they may not stray away from it.

When I interviewed for the job with a local Ford franchise, the most important point I made with the manager at the time was, “I won’t lie”.

His response was great and made me feel comfortable.  “You don’t need to lie,” he said. “Just show them the car and be passionate about it and the car will do the sales work for you.”

I liked that response. I took the job.  I sold 9 cars in my first two weeks on the job. [Just to give you an idea, a decent salesman at that location sold 10-12 cars per month.] After that, I averaged 16-18 cars per month, winning salesman of the month multiple times and quickly promoted to “Closer/Assistant Manager” and then “Internet Sales Director”.

What was my secret to success?

My commitment to honesty.

I stayed true to being true because I made a point to actually have genuine care for my customers.  I didn’t just sell them a car, I built a relationship with them–before, during and after the sale.

I did whatever it took to make them feel comfortable and satisfied with my service.

  • I got them drinks or food while they waited to go into sign their contracts.
  • I made sure they got a great teaching on all the features of the car.
  • I followed up with them all the time after the sale and offered them extras like free car washes.
  • Heck, I even counseled and prayed with many of them.

I was more then their salesman; I was their friend. And I never let them down by not standing behind something I said.

Integrity = Success in all businesses.

Don’t take short cuts or play games with your customers.  The truth will set you free.  You won’t always have the largest commissions in the company, but you’ll have more customers, more referrals and you’ll be able to sleep at night.

And if you’re really good, maybe you can re-write a more positive ending to the story of “The Salesman That Couldn’t Lie”.

Have a great day!

 

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“Please say ‘yes’; my rent is due!”

computerAs a salesperson, I’m pretty sure that the words “please say ‘yes’ because my rent is due” have never come out of your mouth.  It would be pretty hard to close any deals with that kind of desperate, transparent approach.  I mean, you may find one or two peeps that would make a sympathy purchase, but most prospects would tell you to pound sand.

jebJeb Blount said on Quickanddirtytips.com, “Desperate people fail. You must get this emotion under control. Desperation is described by the Universal Law of Need. This law simply states that the more you need something, the less likely it is that you will get it. The Universal Law of Need comes into play most often in sales when lack of activity has left the pipeline depleted.”

So, what do you do? What do you do when you’ve been hunting for a job for so long that by the time you land one, you’re so broke, the guys at the end of the freeway ramp start handing you money when you pull up to the light?  What I’m saying is, thank God you got hired, but the reality is your circumstance has you feeling that if you don’t start selling immediately, your car is gonna get repo-d, your lights are gonna get shut off or worse yet, you’re soon to be living on the street.

Hang in there. Hang in there because you have no choice. Unless you decide to start selling drugs or become a stripper (not recommended–especially for some of you older hairy dudes), there’s really no immediate money available to rescue you in any job you get hired for. Salary, hourly or commission, you’re gonna have to wait till your next check, regardless.

That said, you have to shift your focus off of your need and push all that energy into focusing on their need.  Meditate on the solution for your prospects or potential customers. Learn the product that you’re selling, research the market and master the problem solving benefits that you will be bringing to the clients.

It’s really weird. The customer always seems to subconsciously know when you’re selling in desperation.  Even if you’re a solid sales professional, you ooze some kind of unpaid bills cooties, and they repel away from you like a mosquito dodging Citronella.

It’s not just individual sales peeps that struggle in this arena. Small businesses need to be aware that they will face the same challenges in sales if they treat every individual close as the one last chance to keep their doors open.

christinaChristina Mayer from Visitorz Targeted Traffic Booster posted a piece on LinkedIn called How to Sell Without Obviously Selling.  Below I listed a few points from her article that may help you reach your customers better (and faster):

  • Use social media marketing like it’s you, yourself, are using it – I get it that you and your brand are two different characters in marketing, but how can you be more engaging if you act as if you’re just a brand. As marketers, we already know the benefits of being “human” in marketing. And what is the best way to be human is by being human in using your social media profiles! But of course, you must have certain limitations to keep in mind when connecting through social media.
  • CTA does not always work like a charm – “Call to Action” buttons may trigger your audience’s minds to actually follow your command, but our audiences are smarter than what we think they are. For me, a button that, when I click, could cost me a couple of bucks shouldn’t be clicked at all. If you really want to engage conversions, state the benefits of your product. Tell them what they could miss when they do not patronize your product.
  • Use humor as an ingredient in “advertising” – This is one repetitive concept that I won’t stop from sharing. Putting in the “fun” element in promotion changes the message in greater depths. Happiness is one of the most enjoyable feelings that any customer could feel. And you know what they say, a happy customer is a happy buyer.
  • Create a big connection – One of the best tips that I learned from marketing is this. “If can’t advertise, let others advertise you”. Use your connections as your asset in marketing. Let them flaunt your stuff with grace. A buyer would most likely believe something if it came from another one’s mouth and from another brand’s mouth.

Good stuff. I encourage you to read her whole article here.

Bottom line:  I have found that honesty is the best policy, yes, even for sales people.  The truth comes with gifts of favor, referrals and longevity.

Lie-selling frequently yields instant success that doesn’t last long and could detriment your company or career long-term.

The best sales peeps are straight shooters who present the need and provide the solution.  Of course I am aware that companies pad numbers, stats and add fluff to things.  I’m not so innocent that I haven’t played into that or used some of their flow charts for my own gain.  All I’m saying is, a solid individual with integrity, who believes in the product they are selling–is unstoppable.

And…

It’s always nice being able to sleep at night.


Check out my iTunes Podcast “Trade Show On-Air” –  HERE


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Best Sales Tip I Heard All Week

businessA salesman (or saleswoman) has a tough gig.  Especially an honest sales representative.  Seriously, if you haven’t ever stepped into that role in a job, you probably don’t understand the frustration that comes along with it.

They say, depending on the product, a good example of a successful salesman is one that closes 8-10% of their prospective customers (leads). 10 out of 100.  1 out of 10.

Think about that.  A good sales person faces rejection more often than not.  Out of ten people, nine tell them to take a hike.  Heck, all ten may have denied them, but a good sales person can take that no and turn it into a yes.  The expression goes, you’re not a salesperson until they say “no”.  If everyone says “yes”, you’re just an order taker.

I was reading Matthew Pavli’s blog over at Trade Show News Network and mixed within a good number of solid sales tips, one of his pointers really stuck out at me….

“Call to Solve Their Problems, Not Sell Your Product”

How easily we forget that the reason our product is on the market is to fulfill a need.  If you don’t buy into your product and believe it’s the answer to a serious hole in the market, you’re never going to meet the sales goals your company sets.  The customer will feel you and it won’t feel good to them.  You’re just a guy with a thing trying to bamboozle next month’s rent.

People have said a good salesperson can sell anything.  And that’s true.  I like to think that I’m a decent sales person and yes, I could probably sell just about anything.  But to have All-Star kind of success, I have to believe in my product. When I do, it flows out of my pores and the customer buys my passion and conviction.

Know your product then know your prospect. When you discover their need specifically, it will give you a much stronger reason to call on them because you have the answer to their problem.

Powerful!

Read Pavli’s entire piece HERE.