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8 Common Automotive Sales Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

8 Common Automotive Sales Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Some people are natural-born salesmen. They are charming, personable, and influential. However, for most people, being a salesperson means learning how to live in a world of rejection.

And that’s okay. Part of sales is accepting that every customer you talk to isn’t going to buy from you. But that doesn’t mean can’t continue to grow as a sales team member. 

The more you grow and learn, the better you’ll be at talking to customers and making sales. Part of this experience is learning what not to do. You need to avoid deal-breaking automotive sales mistakes.

Keep reading for eight examples of mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

1. Not Knowing the Product

One of the biggest automotive sales mistakes you could make is not being able to answer important questions from the customer. If you don’t know the product you’re trying to sell, you’re not going to instill confidence in the customer. Furthermore, your lack of expertise may make the customer question the entire car dealership. 

On the other hand, by taking the time to learn everything there is to know about the types of cars you offer, you can be a more persuasive salesperson. You can listen to what the customer is looking for in their next vehicle and use your expertise to explain why a particular vehicle is perfect for their needs. The more you know about vehicle specifics, the more leverage you’ll have in making a sale. 

2. Talking Too Much and Not Listening to the Customer

When training your sales team, it’s important to discuss the importance of being an active listener. Salespeople need to genuinely listen to customers to better understand their wants and needs. Don’t make the mistake of talking too much and assuming you know what your customer wants.

Salespeople often profile customers based on their appearance. They assume they want a certain type of vehicle or are working with a specific budget. Not only can this approach be offensive, but it can also ruin a sale. 

Instead, teach your sales team how to encourage customers to speak up and tell you exactly what they’re looking for and why. A good salesperson can identify a customer’s objectives to further aid them in getting the right product.

3. Being Too Pushy

Coming off as a pushy salesman is one of the most common automotive sales mistakes. While most customers understand that you work off of commission, they still won’t appreciate feeling pushed or bullied into a sale.

Remember, you’re there to guide the customer to the right product, not to insist they buy something. Though your position is necessary for making sales, people don’t like being sold to. The harder you push, the faster they’ll want to ditch you.

4. Making Promises You Can’t Keep

Talking to customers about the vehicles they’re interested in is key to encouraging a sale. You should also talk about promotions and discounts they may be eligible for. 

However, there is a line between promoting a sale and outright lying to a customer. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

For example, if you feel a customer slipping away, don’t offer a price you know your boss won’t sign off on. You’ll get the customer’s hopes up only to disappoint them. 

5. Having Poor Communication Skills

As noted above, some people are born salesmen. They could sell a bright red popsicle on a warm day to a woman in a white dress. These skills, though natural to some, can be learned

Training your sales team means helping them perfect their communication skills. Salespeople need to be charming and friendly. They also need to know how to talk to customers in a way that’s engaging and memorable.

A customer coming in for a follow-up visit should be able to remember the salesperson who spoke to them initially. If not, they didn’t make a strong enough impression. 

Finally, every member of the sales team needs to have a positive attitude, regardless of which way a sale is going. If a customer is on the edge of walking away and they sense a negative shift in your demeanor, it will only drive them away faster. 

6. Focusing on Cost Instead of Value

One of the more innocent automotive sales mistakes is talking in terms of cost instead of value. Yes, customers want to know they’re getting a great deal on a car. The more money you can show them that they’re saving, the better. 

However, selling a product is also about selling value. Focusing on value instead of price is an effective automotive sales strategy. You need to convey to the customer how the car will make their life easier or offer a solution to their problems.

7. Not Knowing How To Close

Another common sales mistake in any industry is not knowing how to close on a sale. This typically happens for two reasons. 

First, a salesperson may lack confidence. They are the complete opposite of a pushy salesman and don’t know how to close a deal. 

Alternatively, some salespeople leave things open-ended. This often happens when a customer says “let me think about it,” or “I need to talk to my spouse.”

Building a strong sales team means teaching your people not to leave things open-ended. They should always schedule follow up appointments or gain contact information from prospective customers. 

8. Not Following Up 

Finally, remember that most people won’t make big purchases without taking the time to weigh the pros and cons. They need to consider their finances, talk to their spouse, come up with down payments, etc. 

However, a customer who walks away isn’t necessarily a missed sale. Don’t make one of the worst automotive sales mistakes of failing to follow up with potential customers. You can do this through emails, text messages, phone calls, or personal meet and greets.

Avoid Automotive Sales Mistakes and Maximize Your Profits

Are you looking to maximize your car dealership sales? If so, it’s vital that you avoid the automotive sales mistakes listed above. But more than that, you need to invest in your sales team.

We want to help. Contact us today to learn more about our training services. Our company exists to help dealerships like yours become more profitable.