Scenario: You’re trying to help a customer buy a car.
Your customer has brought along one or more people who’ve been given the responsibility to provide your customer advice and try to keep you from being a pushy salesperson and talking the customer into making a bad decision. This person or group of people has a name:
The Trusted Advisor(s)
Often salespeople, like the one who made this post, don’t appear to appreciate the trusted advisor nor understand the best ways to accommodate and encourage the trusted advisor.
When you’re in a trusted advisor situation, it’s critical to think about these factors regarding the trusted advisor:
- The customer and the trusted advisor have spoken previously about this shopping experience
- The customer has agreed that the trusted advisor should be there
- The customer values the trusted advisor’s advice
- The customer needs the trusted advisor’s buy-in to make the sale
You must understand that having a trusted advisor helping the customer is always good.
Let’s look at why:
The customer and the trusted advisor have spoken previously about this shopping experience.
I often attempt to remind you that if a customer is at your desk or on your lot, they have done a lot of shopping and research before being there. They did not walk into your dealership blind. They know what they’re there to look at. Yes, you’ll begin the sales process as usual with a great greeting and effective needs assessment, but it can look a little different.
Approach this sales process more consultative
The trusted advisor is there to ensure you don’t pull any funny car sales trickery on the customer. So, don’t!
- Slow the sale down
- Build more rapport
- Find out how the customer and the trusted advisor are connected
- Make this the most professional car purchase that this customer and trusted advisor have ever made.
Rather than investigating on the lot, sit down at your desk to perform a consultative needs investigation.
- It’s quieter, so everyone will feel as though they are heard
- You will appear to be sensitive to what the customer is trying to accomplish
- Show Appreciation that the customer has brought the trusted advisor along with them
I’m glad you’ve brought your daughter along on this shopping trip. This purchase is a big decision, and getting the most support from people you trust must be comforting.
What are we trying to accomplish here today?
Ask the customer the questions, and look for validation from the trusted advisors.
With a notepad in hand, a pen at the ready, and direct eye contact with the customer, begin your needs assessment:
Is this a vehicle that you’ll be using day to day or just for special trips?
Listen to the customer directly, and turn your head to the trusted advisors to confirm that you heard the customer and are also interested in hearing what they have to say if they wish to contribute.
If the trusted advisor contributes, write their answer down on your notepad.
Give everyone a chance to speak and feel that they are heard.
Great. This gives me a lot of information we can use to help you. Is there anything else you’d like me to know before we start looking at the cars?
Don’t let the trusted advisor give the customer outdated or incorrect information. Correct them gently with your experience
(Nodding). Sure, that was true a few years ago. But with the redesigned high-performance Automatic Transmission Fluid, the CVT shifts ratios about 30% faster.
Being the expert who informs confirms that the trusted advisor has done quality research. Realize also that the customer and the trusted advisor have come into the dealership even though they believe your car has this fault. The trusted advisor brought up the perceived flaw, so you can help them set this concern aside and buy the car!
After the product presentation and demonstration, you’ve confirmed that the car you’ve all selected is the right car. You have the tools to overcome one of the most challenging objections in car sales.
This purchase is a big decision; I’ll have to think about it.
The customer may present this objection, but you need to understand that the customer isn’t talking about leaving and talking about it overnight. They’re saying they need a few minutes right now.
After all, they brought their trusted advisor along. They’re ready to make a decision.
I can understand that you need a few minutes to talk it over. I’ll step away so you can talk about it without me being here. Would 5 or 10 minutes be enough? Great.
Then step away and let them talk themselves into it. When they appear to be ready. Return to your desk, and sit down. Give them a moment to offer their agreement. If they don’t, say:
So, we’re good then? I’ll start getting the car cleaned up for you?
Suppose you’ve done your job and have gained the trust of both the customer and the trusted advisor. In that case, eventually, the trusted advisor will tell the customer:
"It’s your car. It’s your decision."
This statement is permission for you to assume the sale. You’ve made a sale if you can do it tactfully and continue the consultative sales process. After the trusted advisor says this, pause, nod, look at the customer, and give them permission to buy.
It really is the right car. It’s a good decision.
Then look at the trusted advisor, nod, and look back to the customer and hand them the pen.
Don’t look at the trusted advisor as an obstacle. Look at them as an opportunity. I often use the phrase, "assume the customer has the trade title in their glove box and their checkbook in their back pocket." Having a trusted advisor is essentially the same buying signal.
The customer has brought along the person they trust to give them permission to buy. If you can approach the sale correctly, there’s no reason you can’t deliver a car today.