Sales is a game, and we are good at it.
It is a chess board built of grit, instinct, adrenaline, and caffeine. Good players make money by utilizing subconsciously understood communication skills while grandmasters consciously train in them.
As leaders in the automotive industry, we can confidently say that we are comfortable in any sales scenario. From a phone call to a final signature, most of us understand a conversation’s nuances on an intrinsic level. But do we know why those nuances matter?
When a new agent starts in my department, the first conversation I have with them begins with a warning: “The learning curve is heavy. You have been talking to people your entire life without understanding the subtle art you are engaging in. I am about to bring a subconscious action to the forefront of your mind, and it will be overwhelming.”
By becoming consciously aware of why we speak the way we do we can understand how others incorrectly perceive us as manipulators. When we realize the full power of conscious communication, we come face-to-face with the reality that most people are incapable of personal responsibility and are perfectly willing to let someone else make their decisions.
A few weeks ago, a customer called and demanded to speak to a manager. He had bought a 2015 Chrysler with over 125,000 miles, and it had broken down.
“When I was buying the car, I told my sales associate that I thought it wasn’t working. He said you had it inspected when it came in. Even when I was signing papers, I was uncomfortable with buying it. I just knew something was going to happen.”
“Did you, by chance, purchase an extended warranty?” I asked.
“No. Those are scams. I’m not going to be tricked into buying one of those. But that’s not even important. I want to know how you are going to fix this.”
A skilled salesperson can disconnect themself from the personal responsibility of their customer because they understand the communication chessboard they are on. They know where they are, how they got there, and where they are going. Awareness is empowerment and control over the outcome.
Often, we blame lack of training on a lack of motivation, time, or priority. Yet, when we take a step back and attempt to examine the problem through a more clinical perspective, we must ask ourselves—what is the root cause for avoiding training as heavily as we do?
Perhaps we do not train our teams because we do not have the training, ourselves. Instead of an inexcusable management flaw it is a knowledge gap. Where would we even start to train?
Leaders teach the skill sets needed to create a better future. Communication is one of those skill sets.
The Next Step
Some of the most basic ways to enhance our dealerships and employees begin with bringing consciousness to communication.
“You don’t have control over your customer.”
“Someone’s being sold, and it’s not the customer.”
But do we explain the why or the how of doing these things? What are the rules for each of these chess moves? Why do we use these moves?
Do we, ourselves, know the answers to these questions?
Over the next month, we at DTVMS will tackle these questions through a series of posts breaking down the why and how of an industry-established phone call framework—Proper Introduction, Feature Inquiry, Trade Inquiry, Asking for the Appointment, and Selling the Dealership. We hope that by creating a basic understanding of conscious communication, we can contribute to a better future for the industry we love.