Why is it important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes?

On today’s Saturday Morning Sales Meeting, David Lewis, President of David Lewis & Associates, discusses how car dealers and salespeople can better understand their customers and communicate more effectively with them.


David Lewis:
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying that, “We’re not all cut from the same cookie dough.” Now, whether that’s true or not, it is a good way to look at people when you are trying to sell them a car. How would you feel if a salesperson was treating you the same way that you treat your customers in their shopping process? We’ve all heard the saying, “If you want to know what someone is like, then walk a mile in their shoes.” Fortunately, you can’t do that physically, but you can certainly imagine yourself in their shoes experiencing what they’re going through as you try to earn their business and sell them a car. Too many salespeople today do not take the time to understand their customers. The best way to do this, is not by talking, but by listening to what they have to say about what they want and need and doing your best to help them find it.

When you can do that, you’ll steadily build a base of satisfied customers who will see you as their go-to person for all their transportation needs. Unfortunately, by and large, people don’t like to go to a car dealership to shop. It may be, they have had bad experiences in the past, or that they’ve been tutored by others about what to look out for when dealing with a car salesperson. So what do they do? They come in with a prepared agenda, an agenda that is designed to keep them in control. That is why they make statements like, “I’m just looking, can I walk around alone?” Or they intentionally not bring their spouses with them, or their trades. How they handle these initial obstacles, or how you handle these initial obstacles will truly determine your success.

The best salespeople understand the importance of releasing the customer’s defensive posture. They do that with words and phrases like informational gathering, “You need to buy a car today?” And when the customer says, “No.” They respond with, “Great, that takes all the pressure off me as a salesperson.” The more you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes, by listening and showing genuine concern for helping them accomplish their agenda, the better your chances are they will open up and allow you to do your job and help them find a car they want to purchase from you. Good luck everyone. And please be safe.

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