Auto salespeople

Auto salespeople should adopt six techniques to keep rejection in a proper, and healthy, context. BY GRANT CARDONE

Rejection is commonly defined as dismissing or refusing a proposal, idea, etc. It has destroyed the careers of more automotive salespeople than any other single influence.

Look, no one likes rejection in their professional or personal lives. Yet, the reality is that it’s everywhere. A guy once told me he could never be a salesman because “I hate the rejection.” I thought to myself, “Life is gonna be tough for this guy.”

In automotive sales, you’re dealing with customers on the phone, in person, and over the Internet all day. If you want to rise to the top at your store, you must learn how to manage the effects of rejection and understand that it is not a selling issue, any more than it is a special condition in the BDC or service drive.

How you handle rejection is the key. Try to avoid it and you are doomed, because you will withdraw. If you start to think less of your product or offer after being told “No,” then you are being shaped by someone else’s agenda and ideas. You will only experience rejection as a negative sensation if you are not taking full responsibility for the situation and its outcome.

Let me offer six techniques I use to get through the rejection cycle:

1) Be rational about rejection

When I am told “No,” I interpret the reply as “not yet” – meaning, the buyer just is not ready to close right now. But, don’t give up! Most buyers will say “No” a number of times before they say “Yes.”

Be rational. The buyer isn’t rejecting you, just what you are presenting to him or her. In a recent mystery shop campaign my firm performed for a major OEM, more than half the time we found the customer was being asked about the wrong product. Your customers will seldom say “Yes” to a product they do not feel will solve their problems.

Ask your customers good questions to help ensure you present them with options they find agreeable.

2) Figure out what the rejection is really about

Think about this: How many deals have you closed in which the buyer at some point insisted, “We are not buying anything today” or “We need to think about it” or “I need to talk with my spouse”?

Buyers typically say “No” reflexively when they don’t know what else to say, or when don’t want to tell you the real reason they can’t say “Yes.” A true professional salesperson knows that under behind every “No” is a “Yes” and tries to find out the rationale.

The next time a customer tells you he or she needs to talk to a spouse, try replying, “I understand. Let me ask you: What would you do if your spouse says ‘No’?” If that customer would not buy the car in that situation, then you should inquire about exactly what the spouse would say “No” to – the color? The model? The monthly and down payments? Nine times out of 10, your buyer will eventually divulge the REAL reason for talking with the spouse.

Auto salespeople3) Have your pipeline so full that rejection actually becomes a relief

Think back on one of your dead days with no ups, no appointments, no phone calls. Then, the 4:30 appointment you’d been looking forward to all day cancels. BOOM, rejection shows its ugly face. You feel let down, defeated and likely hate the car business.

Now imagine that it’s noon, you have two deals on the board and four appointments back-to-back from 1 p.m. through 5 p.m. And, oh yeah, you are double-booked at 4 p.m. When one of your 4 p.m. appointments no-shows, will you feel a sense of loss or relief?

See how this differs from the first example? Rejection is felt only by those who rely too much on too few opportunities.

4) Don’t become discouraged by or emotional over rejection

Riding an emotional rollercoaster will kill a salesperson’s productivity. One trick I used was assigning a dollar value to every customer interaction. For example, let’s say you talk to 150 people in a month when you sell 20 cars and make $10,000. Divide the commissions by the number of customers you spoke with, and in this month each interaction, regardless of outcome, was worth $67 to you.

Now that you know you get $67 for every person you speak with, how many people will you talk to today? See what I’m saying?

5) Reap benefits from strong customer personalities

The stronger the buyer’s personality, the more you want that person as a customer. I am being serious here. The toughest buyers tend to become the most loyal, once convinced.

Bone up for the challenge from an aggressive customer. Remind yourself about the great opportunity to show you are a truly exceptional professional who is different from everyone else in the market. You will not cower to the customer’s bravado, feel rejected or run scared.

Stick it out, maintain your composure and positive attitude, and be persistent until the customer does the right thing – do business with you. Trust me, that customer will respect you more.

6) Strive to become a master closer

Above all, the best way to handle rejection is to become a master closer. Nothing gives me more confidence in a deal than knowing I am prepared to handle ANY objection or curveball thrown at me.

Think about how different your perspective would be if you knew, and I mean 100 percent certain here, that you can handle EVERY objection a buyer could possible raise. You would feel unstoppable. Your confidence would be through the roof. People would label you as cocky and arrogant because you think you can close anyone … except you actually can.

A master closer does not feel rejection because he or she knows how to handle it. Bottom line, show me a salesperson who cannot deal with rejection and I will show you an amateur who spends little to no time training, preparing or refining his or her craft and too much time complaining and making excuses.

Start keeping an objections log. Every time you hear a customer’s objection, write it down in your book. At the end of the day, think about possible closes in response to every objection you’ve logged. I have done just that on a daily basis – logged objections, videoed myself in negotiations and role-played.

In my career, I have negotiated more than $500 million worth of deals with some of the most shrewd and savvy businessmen you will ever meet. The reason I never feel rejection is because I apply the principles in this article every single day.

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