How to Sell Cars – The Car Salesman Training Manual
How to sell cars with the car salesman training manual and its 11 steps to the sale. These are the most common steps I’ve seen taught in almost every dealership that I’ve worked for.
Dealerships will refer to these steps as “the steps to the sale” and any car salesman new to the business will more than likely learn these steps, either formally or informally, on day one.
The information on this page works for both aspiring car salesmen and car buyers that want to understand the sales process so they know what to expect at the car dealership.
These steps are really a psychological process and each of these sales steps is intended to increase a prospective car buyers mental ownership of their new car throughout the car sales process.
Following this how to sell cars guide will help you to build a solid base, that can lead you into a prosperous car sales career earning 100k + per year.
The Meet and Greet
The first step to learning how to sell cars is the meet and greet and is pretty straightforward. This is simply when the sales person meets with the potential car buyer for the first time and should sound something like this:
Hi. Welcome to ABC motors. My name is John Smith, and yours? (buyers name).
Great to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Jones, what brought you to ABC motors today? “We’d like a new car.”
We’ve got plenty of those, follow me and I’ll help you save a bunch of time and money.
You’ve got 15 seconds to make a great first impression, so:
- Dress professionally
- Brush your teeth
- Be upbeat and pleasant
The Guest Sheet and Fact Finding
Of all the steps on how to sell cars, this one is extremely valuable to the dealership and the car salesman. This step involves filling out a Guest Sheet, where the car salesman will ask the buyer some personal info, i.e. phone number and address, which of course they won’t always easily give up, but that’s where your charming and trustworthy personality come into play.
As you can imagine, having the buyers contact information is crucial in case they do not buy a car that same day.
The second crucial element of this step is to keep the buyer from walking the lot and losing focus. In other words, you lose control if you allow them to walk you all over the lot looking at fifteen completely different vehicles.
At this point you’ll want to ask questions about:
- The buyers needs/wants.
- If they will be financing.
- What a comfortable monthly payments you are wanting.
- How much they’re looking to spend (if a cash buyer).
This is one of the steps to the sale that the dealership feels gives you, the salesman, the the most control from the beginning.
You want to try to discover a customers “core” needs more than get a long laundry list of wants. Trust me, if you write down all of their wants you probably won’t have the car in stock and now you become an order taker as opposed to a problem solver.
The third step of how to sell cars is vehicle selection. This is the point where a good salesman, that’s been listening and knows their inventory well, will show vehicles to the buyer that fits both their needs and wants.
The cars you show will have to meet the customers needs, but usually only has to fulfill some of their wants in order to make a deal. This is where the selling comes in.
Some dealerships you may work for will try and make up the buyers mind for them. They’ll have you pull a car around (while the buyer stays in the showroom) that they want you to sell to the customer.
Sometimes this approach will blow up on and customers get aggravated, so if you are going to attempt this, then make sure you have been truly listening to the customers needs and wants.
This method can be very effective and profitable.
Sell Cars Demo and Test Drive
The fourth step to learning how to sell cars is the demo and test drive. Some cars will sell themselves, but I’ve found that most of them just sit there and don’t say a word…
This is where the really good car salesmen shine and you should give the buyer a complete walk around of the vehicle while pointing out key features and benefits of the vehicle.
Emphasize the features and benefits they’ve told you are most important to you from the fact finding section on how to sell cars.
The test drive will usually begin with the salesman driving the car off the lot, with the buyer as passenger, heading off on a pre-determined route.
The salesman should typically drive for roughly 5-10 minutes while pointing out additional features and benefits of the vehicle.
Then, stop the car somewhere scenic, so as to amplify the beauty of the new vehicle, and then it’s the buyers turn to drive back.
On the ride back don’t talk much, remain quiet so that the buyer has an opportunity to take mental ownership of the vehicle. Of course, answer any questions they have, but don’t aimlessly ramble on about the crazy weather.
In other words, let the buyer play with the radio, program the preset radio stations, adjust the seat, mirrors, really relish in their own thoughts about what a great vehicle this is…
Once you return to the dealership, this is where you’ll ask the buyer to make a mini commitment to purchase the car.
Something like this:
So, Mr. and Mrs. Jones how do you like the vehicle? Great! So if we can get the numbers to be agreeable for you would you buy this car now?
Trade Write Up and Drive
The fifth step to learning how to sell cars is the trade write up and drive. This is where you will perform, what’s called, a “silent walk around.”
This is where you will try to tear down the buyers trade in without saying a word.
If you notice a scratch or dent on the vehicle, run your hand over it and look a little flustered, then scribble some notes.
This is designed to get the customer thinking of the flaws in their trade vehicle and that it’s worth less than what they may have originally came in thinking it was worth.
Do not let the customer sit in the showroom while you perform this step it is very important for setting up the negotiation.
Service and Parts Walk
The sixth step to learning how to sell cars is to walk the customer back to the service and parts departments to introduce them to the managers there.
This step to the sale is designed to get the buyer rolling down the “commitment hill” and to show them who to speak with if their “NEW” car, they’re buying right now (hopefully), needs service or a repair after the sale.
“Mr. and Mrs. Jones this is Tom our Service Manager and he will be the person you deal with when you want to get your new cars oil changed.”
It also acts to kill some time while the used car manager is figuring out what they want to give the customer for their trade in.
Remember it’s all about
helping the “buyer” take mental ownership.
A lot of salesmen skip this step, because quite frankly, they don’t care what you do after the sale and will want to get to working the numbers as soon as possible, but it helps to get that mental ownership “snowball rolling.”
Four Square and Write Up
If want to learn how to sell cars, then you’ll definitely have to learn how to negotiate and most dealers do that with a four square.
I’ve written a whole page devoted just to the four square and you can find it here Four Square Negotiating.
Keep in mind when you read it, that this is a car buying tips website and that was written from a buyers perspective, but this page will tell you what it’s all about and how the dealership will want you to use it.
The sales manager (the desk) will show you some kind of huge (just for show) discount and very inflated payments, with a huge down payment and the negotiations have begun…
Present Figures and Negotiate Offer
At this stage in this guide to learning how to sell cars you are looking to get one or more of the following:
- Cash Down
- A Written Commitment
- A Signed Credit Application
Your goal is to get the customer to say yes and buy the car with the first set of numbers you present to them. This doesn’t happen often, but it will make your day when it does.
The written commitment is simple, the desk starts with:
- $22,000 sale price
- $5000 down
- $2000 for your trade
- and Payments of $650 for 72 months.
They don’t actually expect the buyer to say yes here, but they are trying to get their thinking up.
Of course, if they do say yes, then fill out a deal jacket (quickly) and get them on their way into the finance office.
What you are really trying to do is get the buyer to commit to buying at some price, payments, etc…
For instance, they are willing to buy if:
- The price is $20,000
- It’s with zero down
- They get $4,000 for their trade
- and Payments are under $300.
Now you know where they stand and if your sales manager can get to those figures you’ve got a car deal. Of course, the sales manager won’t give in that easy, but I think you catch my drift.
Keep in mind, the desk manager/sales manager is the dealerships orchestrator of the negotiation process and they will try to lead you into a sale that makes the most money for both you and them.
The cash down is pretty straightforward, the more you get them to put down the more money you and the dealership stands to make.
Most salesmen will tell the buyer it’s to:
- Lower their payments
- Lessen the negative equity
- Reduce their finance charges.
All of these are true, but ultimately you are trying to get their down payment to increase the profit of the deal.
Credit Application Is Very Important To Sell Cars
Lastly, the credit application. This a huge commitment from a buyer and this deal. Once you’ve received this from, unless their credit dictates otherwise, the deal will more than likely be made.
I’ve rarely seen deals where a credit application is obtained (and the buyer was financially able to buy) and it doesn’t end up with a sale. So you can see the importance of getting the credit application.
You’ll probably learn the “If I Could, Would You” negotiating approach in most sales training a dealership will give you. “If I could lower the price $5,000, would you buy now?”
Manager Turn Over (TO)
This is when the “Big Dog” comes in. Want to learn how to sell cars? Great! Shut up and listen up. The closers at most dealerships are the best of the best. Not always the case, but they typically wouldn’t be closers if they weren’t.
If you feel that you are losing control and/or just outright losing during the negotiations, it’s time to call in the relief closer.
The closers are usually smooth talkers that have heard all a buyers potential objections before and has a mental bag full of solutions to help the buyer to say yes, today!
If a closer does come in on your deal…Do Not Talk While They Are Closing!
Let them do their job and be happy that you don’t have to split your deal with another car salesman.
Close Deal and Deliver
If you’ve made it this far in the sales process, then congratulations! You now know how to sell cars like a pro.
At this point, you’d need to know your dealerships policy for delivery. You’ll probably need to make up a deal jacket and get copies of:
- The buyers drivers license
- Insurance card
- Any bank requirements (paystub, utility bill, references, etc.)
You may also need to:
- Take the car back to detail
- Possibly put gas in the car
- Order accessories/parts if promised during negotiations
- Remove the license plate from the trade in
- Put the customers temporary tag on the new car
Follow Up After You Sell Cars
Following up is extremely important when discussing how to sell cars and how to sell them successfully. Follow up works for both sales and no sales.
If your customer bought a car, then you should follow up within three days to answer any questions they may have and make sure they are satisfied with their car.
A good car salesman will also ask for referrals of any friends or family the buyer knows of that may be interested in a new car.
Repeat and referral business is very important if you want to know how to sell cars and make a six figure income year after year.
If they did not buy, you, or your sales manager, will want to stay in touch to see what may have gone wrong and/or what you can do to earn their business in the future.