Dealing With The Price Shopper

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Darin B. George - Also by this author

To give the best price or not, that has been a serious question for many years.

Should we do it, when to do it and how to do it.

The Manufacture Suggest that our Retail Price is, “MSRP” X?

So! If the manufacture suggests that we sell our vehicles for MSRP, how do we, as sales people and managers, deal with a customer who has been shopping other dealerships selling the same product for a better “BEST” price.

Does this mean we have to be great negotiators or just order takers?
Something I teach in my seminars is that 10 percent of the people you see in a month will buy from you just because you are standing in the showroom. I like to call this just “having a heart beat”. It’s not a new concept, but it’s true in almost any sales business. Giving a customer our best price to shop around with can be done by the receptionist or a salesperson with a heart beat. If you see 50 potential customers in a month, then you should have delivered a minimum 5 vehicles. Our goal on the other hand is to deliver at 20 to 30 percent.

Price shopping is not new. We all do it. It always boils down to who’s going to be last sales person the buyer will deal with – you or someone else. The decision can be yours.

Consider the following two examples when handling “THE PRICE SHOPPER”.

Example one:

Possible Sale Now if done Right.

Price Shoppers are very bold and brisk in their approach to you. They will tell you exactly what they want, package numbers, color, options etc … and that they are not going to play any car sales games.

These people have made many sales calls all over the city and have actually been to several dealerships researching and test-driving vehicles. They already have some best prices and a good idea of how low we or some other dealer will be willing to go.

As a professional salesperson, not the receptionist, you should be extremely polite with these customers because they have probably had several unpleasant car buying experiences to this point and you do not want to add to their list.

You must always begin with a proper introduction and proceed with the your contact questions. It is very important to ask all the contact questions. Example: Will there be anyone else involved in the decision or will it be just yourself? Ask the customer if they have driven the vehicle. This is a great indicator that they may be ready to make a purchase today. Ask them to follow you, and lead the way to your office. Proceed directly to your office and pull out a worksheet telling the customer that you would like to clarify exactly what they want. Tell your customer you are going to check your inventory, and that you will be right back. If you have the right vehicle or close in stock, then pull it up to your showroom and have the customer come out and see it to re-clarify that it is the right vehicle. Do your best to do a vehicle presentation and demo drive. If they have driven the vehicle at another dealership, then make sure you get them to test drive again with you.

Re-confirming mental ownership is critical to doing the sales now. If it is the right vehicle and you have achieved mental ownership, bring your customer back to your office and complete your worksheet. At this point be very precise and ask for the sale.

Ask the customer:

“What you are telling me is that you know exactly what you want and are prepared to get this vehicle now if we can agree on a price / payment / difference figure? Is that correct?”

If everything is ok, then proceed with your negotiations and close the sale. If not, use example two.

Example Two:

No Chance of a Sale Now But maybe in the next couple of days.

When a customer wants to get your best price and shop it around at other dealerships, you can try the following process:

First, try and close the sale without letting them shop around. Use example one. If this does not work, then clarify exactly what they want, ask your contact questions, do a presentation etc … Ask for the sale now, today. If you can not close NOW, then excuse yourself from the customer and go and discuss the situation with your sales manager. Your manager should introduce themselves to your customer and verify the situation. This shows the customer you and your dealership are serious in helping this person get a new vehicle. The manager’s involvement is critical to closing the sales today or in the near future. Refer to July’s sales meeting.

When the manager leaves your office, then ask the customer:

“What you are telling me is that you know exactly what you want and are prepared to get this vehicle in the next day or two if we can agree on a price/payment/difference figure? Is that correct?”

Tell the customer:

“Mr. Customer, will it be OK if I call you later today or tomorrow with our price / numbers? I’ll need some time to work it out for you. Is this OK? Great! Where can I call you, at your home, cell or office number?”

When you call them back - and you must – give them a better price than your MSRP and wait for their reaction. Do not go too low on your number over the telephone. Most, if not all, of these potential customers will say that they have a better deal somewhere else. Don’t worry, just proceed with negotiating the exact same way you would as if they were sitting right in front of you. Your goal is to close the sale over the phone, get a credit card number over the telephone and get them back to the dealership. Refer to my sales meetings on negotiating and taking sales calls.

Best price shopper sales are often low grossing deals, but they get you closer to your month end sales bonuses and targets.

Professional salesperson or order taker / receptionist, you make the call. Don’t just have a heart beat.

And remember everyone wants the best price. So do I.

Darin’s Wrap-up

The point of this sales meeting is to show you when to give the price shopper your price. It’s all about timing. I hope this sales meeting has given you something to think about and possibly an extra sale or two or three or four…

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