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Steps in the Right Direction

Published in
Ward's Dealer Business, Sep 1, 2003


We should tip our hats to whomever developed the great steps of the sale. They give us timeless guidelines to tailor our presentations and focus on the needs and desires of our dealership customers.

Ultimately, the steps are sales-training solutions that encourage professional excellence and superior customer service. The steps lead to success, yours and the dealership's.

They're tailored to your presentation, but not deviated from because they build the repeat business you desire and they create the professionalism customers expect.

I'd love to credit whomever came up with the steps of the sale, but I can't find who it is. I'm convinced it was not a sales trainer. If it were, he or she would have trademarked them. So, to this anonymous person or persons let's say, “Thank you!”

The steps have been updated, refined, and reworded over time. They remain priceless for their ability to track where the sales consultant is in the process.

Moreover, they address the concerns of customers.

They remain posted on the walls of many dealership sales rooms, on the agendas of most sales meeting, and in the heart of professional sales consultants.

The steps are timeless because as long as you remain in the process you create the positive results you desire. Remember this: the customer's desires have not changed nor will they. The steps are in place to allow you to remain focused on the customer and continue in the process of the sale. Doing those things creates trust and builds character.

Exact contents vary but here are the basic steps:

  • Develop a Mission Statement — This is your road map to success. It's You Inc.
  • Greet, Meet, Excite — Approach your customer with genuine enthusiasm. This is where you build your profit.
  • Client Evaluation — Discover customers' needs and past buying habits.
  • Trade Evaluation — Silently walk the trade with your client. Maybe even take a short drive in the vehicle. Remember staying in the process builds trust.
  • Walk Around — A professional is always prepared. Brush up on your product knowledge. Master the language of your product brochure. People believe what is in print.
  • Demo Ride — Never ask customers if they want one. Go for it. Always drive first. Have a planned route. Be selling. Have a distinctive and designated “Sold and Delivery” section clearly marked at the dealership.
  • Tour the Dealership — This is a stretch for many people, but it gets your customer in a buying mood. Seeing the dealership's attributes, such as the service department, also creates value and encourages a lasting relationship.
  • The Write Up — Before you begin this (which includes negotiating), ask the receptionist to hold your calls. Do this in front of the customer. It assures them they'll have your undivided attention.
  • Business Manager — Always set him or her up for a great presentation of F&I products and services. Make certain your paper work is error-free. Make a commitment in this crucial area.
  • Delivery — This process is the difference between a 5-star hotel and an unrated hotel.
  • Follow Up — What does the swing of a golf club or the tracking of your goal-setting have in common with this step? It's like the rudder on a ship — it guides where you're going.

Ron Coxsom, a motivational sales trainer, is a 20-year veteran and president of GME Consulting Inc. He's at, 615-673.2187 and 866.coxsom1 (269-7661).

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