In sales, there are three types of salespeople.
- The Order Taker
- The Presenter
- The Closer
Each is important, and most organizations have all three working in different departments throughout the business. While the definition of each may be somewhat self-explanatory, it may be helpful to examine each one a little more closely and how learning to be a closer can help you sell fewer dealer-trades and more inventory vehicles.
The Order Taker is just that. Someone who takes orders. They typically process the order that the prospect wants to place. They may suggest add-ons based on the customer’s initial request (such as, “Do you want fries with that?” or “Would you like to super-size your meal for an extra dollar?”), but The Order Taker does nothing to initiate the sale, they do nothing to entice the prospect to buy. They may answer questions for the prospect, but they take no control of the sale other than to ask, “Will there be anything else?”
The Order Taker typically doesn’t know why the prospect is making the choices and does very little to investigate needs, explain how the product or service the prospect is ordering will help them solve their problem, or entice the prospect to buy in any way.
Often The Order Taker sells an unfortunate number of dealer trades. The Order Taker becomes so fixated on what the customer wants that they fail to inform the customer about better, more efficient, or perhaps less expensive ways to accomplish the desired result.
Presenters have immense product knowledge and a thorough understanding of their product or service. Presenters are typically very confident and work hard to educate and teach prospects how the product or service operates. Presenters are intelligent, well-spoken, can present to several prospects at once, and can do a great job of demonstrating the product or service in use.
Presenters know why the prospect is interested in the product or service and rely primarily on their product knowledge and presentation skills to create enough excitement in the prospect that will cause them to buy.
Presenters also get trapped into selling more dealer trades than are necessary by doing what I call a feature dump on the customer which results in the customer being confused and wanting to look at more vehicles than is needed. For example, a customer says, “I love leather seats!” and the sales consultant mentions the leather package in the super-elite trim level that isn’t in stock. The customer wants to see a picture, then wants to see it in person, and since there isn’t a matching vehicle in stock, you’re working numbers on a dealer trade. All the while, the customer would have been exceptionally happy with the leather seats in the in-stock trim level.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not suggesting that you should mislead your customers, I’m simply telling you to first concentrate on the vehicles you have in stock.
The Closer is different. The Closer knows the sales process. He understands what questions to ask to keep the sale moving forward. The Closer has the product knowledge and skills of The Presenter and the ability to build Total Mental Ownership in the prospect while presenting.
The Closer can see when the prospect is engaged and when he has lost interest. The Closer knows how to uncover needs (the value), match those needs to features, and match the benefits of the feature to the customer’s needs.
Most importantly, The Closer knows when to ask for the sale. He knows what objections to expect and how to differentiate between reflex objections and genuine objections. The Closer can see buying signals and knows how to capitalize on them.
The Closer knows who their prospect is, what their prospect is trying to accomplish, what their vehicle needs are, and how they will benefit from having the vehicle.
A Closer genuinely believes that what he is selling will be the best solution for his prospect and is eager to help them buy.
A Closer controls the sale.
In auto sales, you will often find all three. In my experience, the Order Taker is a 3 to 10 car guy. The Presenter is the 10 to 20 car guy. The Closer is the 20+ car guy.
The Order Taker greets a lot of prospects and sells only the ones who came to buy a particular car. The prospects who leave without buying go down the street and buy from a closer. There are usually one to three Order Takers on every sales floor.
The Presenter greets fewer prospects but manages to sell more of them because he educates the prospects on the product. Often his presentation will confirm what the prospect already believes he knows about the product.
The Presenter is often called The Unpaid Consultant because he will spend a lot of time educating the prospect but doesn’t understand how to build TMO (Total Mental Ownership) nor how or when to close the sale.
The Closer sells the most cars to new prospects, his loyal customer base and a steady stream of referrals because he not only educated the buyer he also demonstrated that he was looking out for the best interest of the prospect by taking the time to understand the who, what, why and how of their unique situation.
The Closer also controlled the sale, asked for the close at the right time, and hung in there until he got it.
The Closer delivers more cars out of stock because he asks better questions, listens to the answers, and filters the information through the inventory list he keeps in his head.