Saturday, November 01, 2003

The Selling Cycle - Part V Product Selection

Matching the customer with the right vehicle is the art of the deal. How often have you worked with a customer who comes in for a particular vehicle and leaves with a completely different type of unit? The answer should be “all the time!” The non-RVing public does not know the requirements for towing, hauling, and all the gear that they need to take a RV on the road. That’s where you come in. Your customer is counting on you to translate their recreational possibilities into ready-to-roll practice.

During the interview (Step 4 of the Sales Process), you used good FORM to learn about the customer’s Family, Occupation and Recreation so that you can now deliver your Message – a product recommendation based on the customer’s needs. If you listened well, you will be on target.

Select three units that will satisfy the customer's wish list. Keep the customer’s budget in mind-- and remember: that for the right unit, a budget can flex.

Present the most economical unit first and work your way up. If showing the least expensive vehicle first seems counter intuitive, ask yourself: Is it better to sell a smaller unit, make a large gross profit, and have a happy customer who will return to upgrade? Or is it better to sell a larger vehicle you have to discount in order to fit the customer’s budget? Once you begin to discount the price your customer may think that the entire inventory is over priced. Since you can always enhance the unit options, you want to make sure that you first help the customer save face, gain trust in you and see value in the dealership.

Be prepared to answer questions about any other unit that catches the customer’s eye. "Oh, how much is that one over there?" your customer may ask as you escort them to the first vehicle you are going to present. Chances are the one they are pointing to will have a higher price tag than the one you have in mind.

Your response should be, "That particular vehicle runs in the range of $_____ and $_______ depending upon options. I thought I heard you say your budget is $_______. My desire is to match you up with the RV that satisfies your needs and meets your budget requirements. How flexible are your financial plans?" Sometimes customers do not disclose what their true financial resources are until they see a vehicle that fires their imagination. Your objective is to use the customer’s query as another opportunity to either verify or “flex” your initial product selection.

All too often sales consultants select vehicles they themselves wish to be seen in rather than choose units that accommodate their customers’ financial resources. When this occurs, the typical customer reaction is to make an excuse to leave the lot. Before going home they will stop by another RV store to check out the inventory. When the sales consultant steers them to another high-ticket item they will simply say, “Oh, no, that is way too much, may we see another one?” When we fail to listen to our customers, we turn buyers into shoppers and shoppers into non-buyers.

Your product selection should leave no doubt in the customer’s mind that you heard what they said. The three units you select should give the customer incremental choices within their financial means. Your flexibility about additional product queries should convince the customer you have their best interests in mind.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of the deal, you’re all set to move to the heart of the deal – the Product Presentation.

RV Executive Today, November 2003, p. 17-18