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Is it better to be likeable or trustworthy in car sales?

For most people, when they think about someone they can put their trust in, a car salesperson doesn’t usually come to mind. To trust is to have a firm belief in someone’s character. Trust is not free—you have to earn it. On the latest episode of Straight Talk, host David Lewis, President of David Lewis & Associates, discusses the problem with establishing trust with your customers and why likeability is a more effective tool.

You and the customer have conflicting goals. Unless you can convince your client that you are not ‘out to get them,’ they will settle into a defensive posture. Likability is better than trust. Once your customers like you, then you are halfway to winning the sale and earning their business for future sales. There are four conditions of likeability that you must establish with customers, including:

  1. Consistency: Be a good listener and use the customer’s time efficiently. Listen to them and respond with solutions designed around their wants and needs, not yours.
  2. Compassion: Deal with your customer’s objections and obstacles with empathy. This can reduce their defensive posture and free them up to enjoy having you as their salesperson.
  3. Communication: A salesperson who cannot communicate is like a truck driver who can’t drive. Avoid sales jargon and slick talk. Be energetic and enthusiastic. Treat customers with honesty and respect.
  4. Competency: You owe it to your customers to become an expert in your trade. Study and practice proven techniques that work. Absorb the techniques until they become a part of your process. Never attack the customer’s objections. Instead, ease them with honesty and solid product knowledge.

The most important thing to keep in mind is building relationships with your customers. You can accomplish this by being reliable, consistent, and working hard for them. Do this successfully, and your customers will always come back to you when they’re in the market for another vehicle.


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David Lewis
David Lewis
David’s firm is a national training and consulting business that specializes in the retail automotive industry. He also is the author of four industry-related books, “The Secrets of Inspirational Selling,” “The Leadership Factor,” “Understanding Your Customer” and “The Common Mistakes Automotive Salespeople Make.” Visit his website at www.DavidLewis.com.

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