Whether you call yourself a salesperson, product advisor, or customer experience specialist, customer objections are an intrinsic part of the job. But today’s car salespeople perform less of a sales role, really, and are much more about matching car shoppers with a vehicle that meets their needs. Over the course of this match-making exercise, there are consistent objections that you have to anticipate.
While every sales rep should undertake sales training, Inc.com explains that great salespeople typically possess a set of ‘must-have’ traits. These traits include meeting a customer on their level, deciphering the decision-maker, and being a great question asker. These are ideal qualities for overcoming objections as they naturally come up.
How to Deal with Common Sales Objections
Whether it comes intuitively or is learned the hard way, a good salesperson needs to have a certain degree of emotional intelligence. You could find that Gen Xers expect their salesperson to be more assertive in the sales process, whereas millennials commonly disassociate as soon as the salesperson appears ‘pushy’.
With this in mind, it’s good to adopt the right behaviours for modern-day objection handling. Ask anyone in sales, and they’ll tell you: how you relate with the customer is more important than what the objection is. These steps will help you successfully navigate every objection and close more sales:
- Acknowledge the objection: “I can understand why you might feel that way. It’s a common concern for many of my good customers.” It helps to let your customer know that you’ve heard their concern.
- Address the concern head-on: Decipher if price objections are truly about price or an easy out for a vehicle they don’t want.
- Listen more than you talk: The longer you listen to the customer, the more you’ll get to the root of the objection and determine if you have the right solution for them or not. Not every prospect turns into a sale and by listening, you can learn if your shopper is a buyer or not.
- Never interrupt: The best way to turn your lead off is by interrupting when they talk. You show you’re not interested in hearing their perspective and you devalue them as an individual.
Common Car Sales Objections and Responses
Customer objections don’t always use the same language, so you’ll need to be actively listening to determine what the customer’s true sticking point is. Studying these ten common objections will help you prepare the right response for almost any scenario:
1. “I’m just looking.”
Anyone who has been in sales for a decade or longer is used to hearing, “I’m just looking.” Historically, the most common way to research vehicles was to walk car lots and check out different models. It used to mean, “I’m just looking. I don’t want to talk to anyone yet.” But this type of objection doesn’t mean the same thing anymore.
Today, we know that car shoppers average just 1.6 visits to the dealership before making a purchasing decision. It’s much less likely that the customer has arrived on your lot without short-listing one of your models. “I’m just looking” is an opportunity for a savvy salesperson to make an introduction, discover which models are of interest, and give walkarounds.
2. “I’m not ready to buy today.”
Even after a decade of working toward transparency and honest practices, salespeople still have a tarnished reputation as aggressive and conniving. Some shoppers think that their first visit to the dealership will result in being tricked into a sale – sometimes from their own past experiences.
“I’m not ready to buy today” is telling you that they need a slowed-down, informative sales process that values them as a customer and focuses on their needs, not on the vehicle. You’ll be surprised how many are ready to buy when the environment is right.
3. “It’s out of my budget.”
It’s common for car shoppers to browse models outside their pricing comfort zone. The budget objection isn’t a pricing objection, and it doesn’t refute the vehicle’s value – the opposite is true.
The salesperson has a two-prong approach for this objection:
- “Would you like to see if we can get this vehicle into your budget?” or,
- “I understand why you might feel that way. Can I show you something that might be more comfortable?”
4. “It’s too expensive.”
If you hear, “It’s too expensive,” you may have failed to show the vehicle to the customer properly. The customer doesn’t see how the car will tick all the boxes they want. The walkaround was rushed or phoned in, the wants and needs assessment was skipped, or you were unable to touch on the important facets for the shopper.
Respond by reviewing how the vehicle meets their needs to reinforce value. However, it can be a difficult objection to overcome after the fact.
5. “I can get it cheaper at your competition.”
In sales, the relationship is as important as the product or service. When the customer has price objections and mentions your competition, it means you’ve neglected to create the relationship. It’s at this point that the salesperson needs to show value beyond selling car features. They need to sell the dealership.
Respond with: “Would you mind if I show you why I believe we’re your better choice?”
Instead of giving away all the gross in the deal, establish your store as the value proposition for the customer. Show the customer your service process and introduce them to your after-sales team. Emphasize key points that differentiate your store from the competition. All the while, you’re building a deeper relationship that goes beyond a few dollars on a car payment.
6. “You aren’t giving me enough on trade.”
Anyone who trades in a car wants to know that they’re getting a fair shake for their vehicle.
“I understand that it can be difficult to let go of a vehicle. Here’s why we’ve assessed your trade as we did.”
Most shoppers haven’t considered the time and effort required to sell a vehicle themselves, the investment to certify the car first, nor the tax savings on the trade value. It’s often enough to revisit the benefits of trading in a car, or perhaps reviewing the market assessment again is necessary to bump the trade value.
7. “I need to think about it.”
The most ambiguous objection is always when a potential customer wants to “think about it.” This objection commonly comes after talking price or payment, but it doesn’t explain what the concern is. There’s always something else going on under the surface.
“I understand you want to take your time to make a decision. Is the price too high, or maybe the vehicle doesn’t quite fit your needs?”
You’re trying to gently flush out the real objection without pressuring the customer to buy. Some customers aren’t negotiators and will shut down the conversation instead of working through concerns. If you can keep them in dialogue, there’s still a chance you can make a deal – possibly today.
8. “How do I know I’m getting the best deal?”
It’s no secret that manufacturers drop prices, and it usually feels like it happens right after the customer buys their car. They want a great deal, but it’s important to focus on today.
“If you’re willing to wait, there may be additional incentives that come up. But what I can’t promise is that the vehicle you want will still be available. Plus, your trade-in may diminish in value.”
The customer wants the car – that’s not the issue. They just want reassurance that today is the right time to buy.
9. “I have to do more research.”
Zillow reports that car buyers spend more time researching cars than home loans. It’s all but guaranteed that if a shopper says, “I need to research more,” there’s something else going on.
Respond with: “Absolutely, I can see why you’d want more information. Can I show you some of the vehicle’s features and specs?”
You need to keep this person in conversation. There’s another underlying objection that needs to be addressed, and only time face to face will get it out.
10. “I don’t have time today.”
Today’s workforce – millennials especially – choose irregular office hours that can make it inconvenient to visit the dealership. If you encounter a time objection, don’t sit back and wait for them to be available. Pursue the sale.
“If you don’t have time to come to the dealership, maybe I can bring the car to you?”
Meet the buyer offsite at a location that’s convenient for them. Maybe you could let them take the vehicle for a day or two to trial it. Be creative with how to make the sale and find a way to work around schedules that don’t line up perfectly.
Remember, practice makes perfect
As much as everyone enjoys it (or not), the only way to get better at handling objections is with practice. Regular role play with your colleagues will give you the confidence to think on your feet and help reduce the number of objections that turn into lost sales. The better you get, the higher customer satisfaction will soar, and the more revenue you’ll generate for the business!
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