Becoming a Master Communicator


Your dealership puts a large amount of effort in helping to ensure your teams can communicate with each other and with your customers so you can increase your conversions. The mistake that is often made here is that too many people believe that practicing speaking and negotiating skills will automatically make them a better converter. From a leadership perspective, the same thing applies. Leaders often work on their presentation and motivation skills, but they tie them directly to the outcome they are trying to achieve. 

Communicating to Convert

What is the essential element being overlooked in that equation? Communicating to convert might be able to help you achieve some results, but if you add a third element to the equation, it becomes a much sturdier base, which you can build upon. I refer to this as the 3C Model, which stands for: Communicate, Connect, Convert.

Master communicators understand that the goal of communication is to connect. Only after you have achieved a connection can you reach for the next level, which is to ultimately convert someone. Others have found that converting people, whether selling an automobile or selling your ideas and leadership direction, is more effective when your communication is focused on achieving that all-important connection.

What is the difference between communicating to connect versus communicating to convert? Communicating to convert is often a one-sided monologue. However, communicating to connect is a two-way dialogue.

Are good speaking and presentation skills important? Absolutely! This is something that is practiced and trained on (hopefully) in your dealership on a constant basis. The best communicators understand that, no matter how fluid their presentation or how skilled they are at negotiating, not everyone speaks the same language.  Just ask anyone who has ever been in a relationship. We can all tell stories about the time we said one thing and the other person seemed to hear the complete opposite. Well guess what? Your employees and customers face the same challenges. As a master communicator, you can help overcome that potential roadblock and your retention and sales will thank you for it. 

What Makes A Great Communicator?communicator

Much has been said about speaking skills through the years. Let’s fill in the gap that separates good communicators from the great ones though. The great ones understand that a certain percentage of the people they speak with, whether in a group or one on one, will naturally connect with them. This is because they share similar communication styles. They also know that there is no “one style” that will connect with everyone. Because of this, they learn to assess the current situation they are in, identify the other person’s preferred style of communication, and then they respond accordingly. These are the people who simply seem to have a knack for connecting with anybody. When speaking to a group, they are the ones who have the entire group walking out saying “I felt like they were talking directly to me”. 

Model of Human Behavior

While some consider this an art, the truth of the matter is that it is just applying a proven science known as the Model of Human Behavior. Apply this concept and you will find that you are immediately able to connect with people at a higher rate.  There are two things to look for:

Let’s assume you needed to connect with someone quickly, so your goal is to find out how to best communicate with them as fast as possible (sounds like a typical day on an auto lot, right?). Observe the person you are speaking with and determine if they seem more outgoing or more reserved. Outgoing people are much more open and also tend to operate with a higher motor of activity. Some people are just wired to be on “Go” all the time. Others seem more steady and even keel in their approach. When observing someone who is outgoing, raise the energy level when you speak. For someone who is reserved, you need to lower your pace so you don’t overwhelm the other person.

Some people are more process focused while others are focused more on the people side of the scale. For example, shopping is a task to me. I want in and I want out, preferable as fast as possible. On the other hand, shopping is an experience for my wife. A simple question such as, “What are you looking for out of your next vehicle?” can help you determine which way someone leans. A process-oriented person tends to answer in terms of specs, details, etc., while a people oriented person is already visualizing their new vehicle and telling you the story they have in their mind.  Note: Too many salespeople rushing to make the sale try to by-pass the story. The more you let them complete the story in their mind, the more they start taking ownership of that new car.

Consider each option as two halves of a circle. Put an outgoing person at the top and a reserved person at the bottom. Then consider the process-oriented person as a left circle and the people-oriented person as the right circle. Place the two together and you have four quadrants. While people are not “one or the other,” science has shown that everyone falls into a basic area with their primary communication style. 

Learn the Primary Communication Style

An outgoing and process-driven person wants results. This group is not usually a “tire kicker”. If they are on your lot, they want to make a purchase. This is often the group that responds most positively to the “Can we make this happen today?” question. Let’s face it, they want to get it done in one stop whenever possible.

An outgoing and people–oriented person is all about the experience. They aren’t buying a car; they are buying recognition. Funny enough, that’s why the “Puppy dog close” works so well with this group. They park the car in their driveway and then a neighbor walks out and says “Hey! Did you buy a new car?” Instant recognition. Yep, the paperwork may not be done, but they just made the decision to purchase. Priceless!

Someone who is reserved, but people-oriented is often the one most turned off by a salesperson they feel is attacking them. Because they value security, you have to slow down and help them lower the barrier of risk in their mind. Focus on everything your dealership does for them AFTER the sale. It calms them and makes them feel safer about the decision they are making.

A reserved, but process-oriented person is one who has probably already done all the research. They value the research they did on their own and being right. Instead of telling them everything, let them tell you what they know and affirm their decision. Because they are critical thinkers, help them see that the purchase is simply the next logical step in the process.

We sell everyday, whether on the sales floor or with the people we are leading in the dealership. Determining the way to communicate to each individual in order to connect with them faster and at a deeper level will inevitably help us to convert at a higher level.  It is the most effective path to achieving consistent and predictable top and bottom line growth.