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How Assumptive Selling Can Dramatically Improve Your Results

I’m pretty sure every dealer reading this article wants their salespeople to close a higher percentage of the prospects they encounter. To help achieve this, your dealership spends thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours each year educating your sellers; yet, your market share doesn’t budge. You might see a small spike immediately after a particularly good training session, but the results quickly return to their pre-training levels after that.

While a new word track or tactic your team just learned might get credit for the initial success, the truth is their confidence in closing the next Up is the greatest driver of these quick results. They left the training believing they could close their next four prospects and they closed three; not bad, considering they usually close one out of four.

The only real difference was they approached those four prospects as if it was foregone conclusion that a deal was going to be made. They assumed the sale. There was no need to interrogate these buyers because your salesperson already knew they were buyers. He knew he was going to sell them because he was armed with a super-cool, can’t-miss talk track or technique. The training gave him confidence and his confidence allowed him to assume the sale.

Green Peas

Have you ever wondered why Green Peas [a new, inexperienced salesperson] tend to do so well in their first few months and then fall to average or below after that? It’s simple/ They follow the steps you taught them (because they don’t know any better) and they assume everyone is a buyer who wants to buy today (again, because they don’t know any better).

Without realizing it, successful Green Peas are practicing assumptive selling; that is, they’re assuming everyone is a qualified buyer who is going to buy today. Even though they lack the confidence and polish of a seasoned 30-car seller, their belief that everyone is a buyer carries them through their first full month to a spot near the top of your sales board. Then, they start to figure all this stuff out…

They begin to freelance the sales steps instead of using the ones you taught them (because they’re now smarter than you) and they start to assume everyone is a deadbeat tire-kicker who is out to waste their time (because they’ve been burned a couple of times). Quickly, their results level off and they end up somewhere in the lower third of the pack for the rest of their career.

If only they could remain a Green Pea forever and always assume the sale.

Assumptive Selling

Assumptive Selling, to be clear, is not new. Assumptive Selling has been around as long as there has been salespeople; and, despite what you’ve heard about people who assume, assumptive sellers have always been more successful than their peers. In automotive retail, Assumptive Selling is about knowing there are no tire-kickers, no unqualified buyers. Everyone is a buyer, and everyone is buying today.

Assumptive Selling is not about closing; it’s about leading. It’s about leading the customer down your path (whether on the lot or on the phone). It’s about taking charge, being direct and providing guidance — all while understanding that every Up wants to buy and they want to buy today.

Assumptive selling is about believing everyone is a buyer… and knowing that the first time you believe someone is not, you’ll be right.

Today’s connected customers want to buy; they’re just afraid of being sold. They show up on the lot with all the information and they don’t like being interrogated.  Salespeople who win today are the ones who recognize this, speak to their customers like human beings, and then pull them through a buying process in an efficient manner that makes sense to the customer.

Salespeople who interrogate their prospects with old-school qualifying questions do a good job of figuring out who the 480 and 520 Beacons (credit scores) are, but their tactics end up chasing away the 780s and 820s. No one objects to being treated like a qualified buyer, but those with good credit scores won’t stand for being treated like a deadbeat.

When salespeople assume every sale, they close more deals. In fact, when they assume every sale they very quickly achieve a near 100 percent demo drive percentage. What does that do for their write-up and closing percentages? Yes, they may occasionally “waste” 15 minutes on a demo drive with someone who can’t buy, but they more than make up for this in the additional deals they’re closing with those who enjoy being treated like a prospect instead of a suspect.

Do you want your salespeople to dramatically improve their results without you having to spend more on marketing to drive more Ups? Make sure they always assume the sale. When they assume every Up is a buyer who is going to buy today – just like they did when they were Green Peas – they’ll close more deals more quickly for more money and for better CSI. All because they treated everyone like a qualified buyer who wanted to buy today.

Good selling!

Steve Stauning
Steve Stauning
Founder, Steve is the author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers; as well as a respected automotive industry veteran and founder of pladoogle, LLC – a leading training & consulting firm – and the free sales video training website Prior to his involvement with pladoogle, Steve served in various automotive leadership roles, including as the Asbury Automotive Group’s (NYSE: ABG) director of ecommerce, the director of the Web Solutions division of Reynolds & Reynolds, and as the general manager of Dealer Web Services for Dominion’s Dealer Specialties.

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