THE RATIONALE OF PERFORMING A PRODUCT PRESENTATION WALK AROUND
Performing a solid vehicle sales consultant walk-around is a very important sales step, but it’s probably one of the most neglected and poorly performed car sales steps. The idea of a complete and thorough walk around once they have chosen a vehicle is to educate the car buyer and create excitement with the features and benefits of the vehicle they have selected. They know they want or need a new car, but it’s your job to reinforce the guests selection and create an overwhelming desire to own the car.
You should compliment their choice during the car sales walk around step and tell them about an accolade or award that this vehicle has received. For example; “Great choice the (Model) is has been awarded bestselling sedan for 5 years in a row”, or “the (model) is a top ten pick by Kelly Blue Book” or “this is the most reliable car in its class according to JD Powers”. Just make sure you know a couple pertinent facts or awards for every one of the new vehicles you sell. This type of statement will compliment them and reassure them that they have made a good vehicle choice.
The Selling Starts With the Car Sales Walk-Around
Now pull the vehicle of choice out the row and isolate from the others. Now that you have the vehicle out of the row of cars and allowed plenty of room for the sales walk-around it’s time to get started. If you don’t isolate the car and allow plenty of room to get completely around the vehicle you will only annoy and distract your customer. If they have to squeeze in, out or around the car to follow your walk-around you will only be hurting yourself and ultimately your sales. Keep the keys in your pocket in order maintain control of your customers and to keep them from jumping ahead. Then tell your customer (not ask) to come here because you are going to show them a few things about this vehicle.
Rule Of Thumb: 40 Yesses Equals A Sale: As you perform your walk-around and talk about features and benefits you want to ask them yes or no questions that can only be answered with a YES about the feature or benefit you just mentioned. The more times that customers say YES, the more they will say YES. I have never really counted the number of times a customer says yes during the walk-around and test drive, but the old school theory says that car buyers that say YES 40 times are much more likely to give you the ultimate YES and buy the car. (Examples: I am sure you can appreciate that feature, right? I bet higher gas mileage works for you, right? I am sure you would like to feel safer in your car, wouldn’t you? I am sure safety is a concern, right?)
I like to start a car sales walk around at the hood of the car. I don’t care if I am selling Grandma and Grandpa, a middle-aged couple or a female first-time car buyer, I am going to open the hood and point out items that I feel would be important or at least pertain to them. Your presentation should change based on your car buyer. If I am going to open the hood for Grandpa, but and I don’t want to lose Grandma’s interest so I will touch and demonstrate some of the safety features such as front-end collision crumple zones and anti-lock brakes. For Grandpa’s interest I mention a point or two about the engine and transmission and for both of them I will mention something special about the engine or fuel injection that provides great or improved fuel economy.
If I am doing a sales walk around with a female first-time buyer I may mention some of the same things, but also emphasize power, reliability, and styling. Everyone has different things that are important to them and when you tailor your walk around to them and their interests you will reinforce their choice and avoid losing your attention. (Gas mileage is just one thing that interests practically every car buyer.) The pace of your presentation throughout the entire walk-around should be based on their level of interest. If you notice your customer is looking everywhere, but where you are pointing or an area that you are talking about or if they start to yawn and look at their watch you are going too slowly or you haven’t touched on their interests. Pick up the pace and move on to something that interests them. Let the customer dictate how fast or slow each step of your walk around takes to cover.
After the hood I move to the driver’s side back door intentionally skipping the drivers’ door at this point, open the door and show them the easy access and the amount of room available for their passenger’s comfort. If they have very young children you can point out or mention the LATCH hook-up for child car seats and any other safety feature like side curtain airbags. Again tailor your hot spots and points to mention by your customers level of interest. You may even ask them to jump in the back seat to get them to participate in the walk-around and demonstration; however, you might want to skip that part with Grandma and Grandpa. Some will be more interested in safety, others styling and still others performance, use some common sense here and appeal to your audience. Depending on the vehicle and the location of the gas filler hatch it might be a good time to point it out and especially if it has an inside latch.
Key Point: You (and your competitors) do several workarounds every day and take many of the features that are standard in today’s new vehicles for granted, but your customer only buys a new car every 3 to 7 years on average. Therefore you need to include these features in your presentation, which will make you and your vehicle standout when compared to your competitor.
Now it’s time to move on to the trunk or rear hatch. If the vehicle has a remote trunk release or power hatch use it to demonstrate the convenience. You don’t need to spend much time here unless there is a special feature or benefit. You can point out a rear wiper and washer if equipped (safety feature), a trailer hitch if it’s included or if your customer has the need to tow. Possibly rear crumple zones, backup camera, any special bumper features or anything that is unique to your product. Often your vehicle may have standard features that you never even think about, but if your car buyer hasn’t bought a new car in several years it might be of interest to them and needs to be mentioned in your car sales walk around.
While you are moving around the outside of the vehicle makes sure you point out things like body side moldings, alloy wheels or anything else that may create value for the customer. Have them stand back a little and admire the lines of the car, the styling, and even the color. Now you should be at the passenger door, open the door and point any features and benefits accessible from the passenger seat.
At this point, you should have made it all the way around the vehicle with your potential car buyer. The last part of your walk around will be your interior features and benefits. I like to incorporate this into the test drive because you and the customer are inside the vehicle, which makes things easier to cover.
Car Selling Walk –Around Summary
The car sales walk-around is not rocket science; in fact, it’s more like a show and tells. You don’t need to be a genius and you don’t need to memorize every detail, capacity, and specification of every car you sell. However, you do need some product knowledge to make a great impression and build value in the vehicle and you their car salesperson. The customer sees you as the expert and they like to be educated, but that doesn’t mean that you need to bore them to death with details. Talk about things that will interest your customer and build value in your product for them. Every car buyer is different and so should your sales walk around.
The most important part of the car sales walk-around is enthusiasm. When you demonstrate and present the features of your vehicle with enthusiasm you will a much better impression on the customer. When you talk about the different parts of your vehicle with enthusiasm and excitement it can become contagious and before you know it your customer is enthusiastic and people that are enthused about your product typically want to buy your product. Make your presentation, informative, interesting, entertaining and enthusiastic, plus keep it moving. A car sales tip: a great walk around will sell more cars and earn you more car sales commission.
The saying “Presentation is Everything” must have started in the restaurant industry. Good food is important, but how it’s presented distinguishes a great dining experience from being just another meal.
The presenters at the major auto shows are well rehearsed and trained so they can deliver top-notch product presentations to the crowds. Manufacturers want and need these presentations to be outstanding. If you take the same approach at your dealership, you will see a consistent increase in demonstration drives, sales, and overall gross profit.
After or during your contact questions and when you have chosen a vehicle to present, where do you start your vehicle presentation?
A vehicle presentation should always start at the front of the vehicle, because your end result has to be the customer sitting in the driver’s seat. I’ve heard others say suggest starting at the point of interest to the customer. This is OK, but remembers you are giving the customer control of your presentation. The bottom line is you have to get the customer into the driver’s seat.
Determining what type of customer you have will affect the time you spend with them. Visual person = less time; Auditory person = more time; Kinesthetic person = both, depending on your initial rapport established.
The average presentation should be 10 minutes. Your product knowledge is critical during your walk around. Professionals know every detail of their product and the competition’s.
No one is perfect, but your credibility is at risk if the customer asks a question you can’t answer. Be sure to acknowledge when the customer raises a point you are not familiar with. Say something like, “This is an excellent question and would it be OK if I find out the correct answer for you a bit later?”
It is important not to avoid the question; write it down and answer it later.
Do not interrupt the flow of your presentation to look for the answer unless it is of critical concern that influences the selection.
Six Position Vehicle Walk Around
1. Explain the front of vehicle, styling and aerodynamics of the vehicle.
2. Explain everything about the engine.
3. Explain the passenger side of the vehicle and open doors.
4. Explain the trunk and rear of the vehicle.
5. Open driver’s side door and go over the interior features.
6. Seat the customer in driver’s seat and explain gauges etc.
When you can, you should always show a vehicle feature and explain any benefits that are related to it.
At the end of the walk around, with the customer sitting in the driver’s seat say to them: “Let me show you the vehicle properly. I’ll be right back.”
Do not hesitate; just go and get a dealer plate and come back to the vehicle and put it on the car. When you are back to the vehicle ask/tell the customer: “Mr. Customer, for safety reasons could you please sit in the passenger seat while I drive the vehicle out of the dealership?
Never ask the customer if they would like to go on a test drive, because if you do; statistics show you have a 50/50 chance of actual going on the test drive. If you just assume the demo drive your chances climb to a 70/30 that you will be going on the demonstration drive. More demonstration drives, always results in more sales.
It’s all about presentation. Your goal of a vehicle presentation is to get the customer to the next step, the demo drive. The proper amount of professional quality time spent during your vehicle presentation, combined with your contact question and a demo drive, will separate the great sales people from the average.
Brandon K. Hardison