Thursday, January 01, 2004

The Selling Cycle - Part VII Product Demo

After presenting the products, it’s time for a test drive. Before you go, make a copy of the customer’s driver’s license. The dealership will require this documentation if the customer is involved in a traffic accident, but the customer information on the license must be protected. Put the copy of the license in either a file on the sale manager's desk or another secure area--the license should never be left in public view. You must comply with the Safeguards Rule and follow dealership policies and procedures regarding every customer’s non- public information.

Safety First

If you are demonstrating a motorized unit think “safety first!” Use the established demo route, which typically includes all right-hand turns. If you are not comfortable being alone with the customer in the vehicle, notify your sales manager so that someone from the dealership can accompany you. You or another sales consultant should drive the vehicle off the property to a predetermined transfer place. Stop the engine, get out of the unit, and before you put the customer in the driver’s seat, make a quick visual inspection, commenting on one of the exterior features that appeals to your customer: "Wow! The ________ looks great, doesn't it?" The typical customer will glance back toward the vehicle, catch a glimpse of the unit in a mirrored building or in front of a park and anticipate anew the prospect of ownership.

Dollarize the Price-But Monetize the VALUE

The demo ride time should pay big dividends. When you demonstrate a product you dollarize the price-but you should also monetize the VALUE. So how do you take the [ICE] out of PRICE? Demonstrate the value in your product. Differentiate between the unit you are demonstrating and the other vehicles your customer is comparing it to. Dollarize the quality of materials and craftsmanship that show the unit is built to use and built to last.

Research by Jeffery Fox reveals that consumers will spend money to save money they already have before they will spend money at a discounted rate. One example: Salesperson A sells double-paned windows, saying the windows are on sale for $100 off the regular price. But Salesperson B presents the same windows by saying to the customer: “Purchasing these double paned windows will save you $700 in heating bills during the winter." The products are equal--the difference is the dollarization of the customer benefit. Customers spend money to protect what they already have. Dollarization of VALUE means Salesperson B sells more windows.

See how many benefits you can dollarize for a unit during the demo ride. Here is a sample word track: “Owning this vehicle before your next holiday will provide you and your loved ones with a comfortable, secure place to stay, saving you as much as $150 per night for each room you are able to book in a hotel.” When you dollarize benefits, you de-ice price.

Be Flexible

You may very well have to demonstrate more than one vehicle. You may need to switch vehicles in midstream. Be flexible, and watch for customer signals. They will tell you if you are on target or if another vehicle will be better for them.

If you see any signs that you are losing the customer’s interest or losing control of the sales process, turn the deal to a colleague. Half of a deal is far better than no deal.

When the demo ride does not light a fire in the consumer to own that unit, walk to either a manager or senior salesperson and say, " Excuse me, ________. I would like to introduce you to some nice folks, Mr. & Mrs. ______________. We have looked at ___________ and ___________. While they each have some features Mr. & Mrs. __________ like, the unit(s) lacked ____________. Is there another unit coming in or one becoming available with __________?" This word track will give the next person a heads-up on who your customers are, what you have been looking at, what is missing, and will give the new salesperson an opportunity to say, “I have an idea, let me get a key.” or “Did you preview __________? It will be available in a few days.”

Don’t be afraid to turn over the deal-turn your customers before you burn them. Do not let your ego get in the way of moving business ahead. That’s why dealerships have sales TEAMS. Together Everyone Achieves More. When your demo time pays big dividends, you will have more to WRITE UP in Part 8!

RV Executive Today, January 2004, p. 18-19