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Closing Techniques Noticed From Car Sales

Tuesday’s post about an assumptive close (link) got me thinking of other recent events where sales pros used closing techniques – both were at car dealerships.
Car sales seems to elicit the shudder of many people, and my recent experiences at car dealerships just played into the common stereotypes. I have both bought a car and went perusing with family recently.

Here were two primary closing techniques used:

The Alternative Close

I went to a dealership recently to buy a new 4Runner. I already knew what I wanted having owned a couple 4Runners including the vehicle I was replacing.

I’ve always loved having 4x4, and I wanted the following options/ packages: Limited, dark exterior, and a redwood interior. I first saw the redwood interior and loved it, and knew that’s what I wanted. I had pretty much closed the deal for the salesperson – coming in to buy. However, the exact vehicle was not in stock, and needed to be custom ordered. This would incur two months of delays.

The salesperson kept pushing me with questions, and providing options of vehicles that were on the lot – showing me red Limited 4Runners that were 4x2 and another Limited 4Runner 4x2 in the redwood interior. He was offering me alternative vehicles – nudging me towards available inventory. I had to keep pointing out that I knew what I wanted, and that I was willing to wait.

I knew the owner of the dealership. Otherwise, I would’ve taken my business elsewhere. I knew what I wanted, and I did NOT want anything otherwise.

The Ask-the-Manager Close

My father and brother were window car shopping recently. They were curious about the new F-150 Raptors. The salesperson was using every tool in her arsenal to get my brother and dad to buy a vehicle today even after explicitly saying they weren’t going to.

After one of the final attempts to get at least a money-down order for a vehicle to be custom ordered then, the salesperson brings in the manager. This is very common in car sales – bring in the manager to signal your importance, and to help wiggle a deal forward. However, my father stuck to his guns, and said thanks and walked away.

Though I might’ve been perturbed in some of these experiences, I’ve also appreciated them. It’s a fun experience to take a step back, and try to assess what tactics others employ. Also, by being on this side of the table, it’s good to remember how our own sales practices make our prospects and customers feel.

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