March 1, 2012
Taking his customer all the way around the truck is a good way for a salesperson to make his point.
Denise L. Rondini, Executive Editor
Today’s truck buyer is more savvy than ever and has almost unlimited access to information. He can spend a great deal of time researching vehicles before meeting with a dealership’s salesperson. This puts additional pressure on today’s salesperson to be very well versed on the vehicles he represents.
In the past, customers were less familiar with all the available options as they tried to put together the truck best suited for their application. Now they have a great deal of knowledge and they expect the salesperson to be even more informed in order to guide the customer to the right vehicle. It is the salesperson’s job to translate the customer’s desires into an actual vehicle specification.
But spec’ing a truck still is a complicated process, and to be successful a salesperson must know all the options and alternatives available to the customer.
Just how important is product knowledge? One salesperson put it this way: “Without product knowledge, we are only offering price. If all truck buying decisions were based solely on price, there would be no need for salespeople.”
A good way for the salesperson to demonstrate his knowledge of the truck is to literally walk the customer around the vehicle and explains its features. A walkaround also gives the salesperson the chance the present information on the various systems on today’s trucks.
But before doing that, the salesperson needs to spend time making sure he thoroughly understands the customer’s needs. This will allow him to tailor his walkaround presentation so it addresses areas of concern to the customer. It also allows the salesperson to present as many facts about the vehicle as he can without sounding like he is reciting from a sales sheet.
During a vehicle walkaround, the salesperson walks with the customer all the way around the vehicle stopping at various points to explain a specific feature on the vehicle, and to talk about the advantages and benefits of that feature. The salesperson should translate the benefits into those areas most likely to influence the customer’s buying decision.
In a typical vehicle walkaround the salesperson may stop 10 or more times and at each of those stops cover five to six items. He can make stops at the engine, brakes, suspension, cooling system, etc.
For example, if a fleet’s main concern is driver retention, the salesperson should plan to spend more time taking about things like seat options, ergonomic enhancements and what the vehicle manufacturer has done to reduce in-cab noise.
If safety is the fleet’s hot-button issue, the walkaround should focus on things like stability control, collision mitigation systems and tire pressure monitoring.
Top salespeople will use this opportunity to attach a dollar saving figure whenever possible. For the fleet who is concerned about retaining drivers, information about the cost to recruit and train a new driver can be used to offset the cost of any driver amenities. Where safety is concerned, the savvy salesperson should remind the fleet that the cost of an accident goes beyond the damage to the vehicle to include lost productivity and damage to the fleet’s reputation.
Additionally, during the walkaround the salesperson needs take time to compare the vehicle he is trying to sell to a competitive vehicle in a way that highlights the strong points of his own vehicle, showing the customer how his manufacturer’s vehicle is the one most likely to meet the customer’s needs.
There is no set script for a successful vehicle walkaround. Each must be tailored to address the needs of the customer.
However, walking a customer around the vehicle gives the salesperson an opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of not only the product he is selling but also the competitive product, and perhaps offer even the most educated customer a bit of information he might not have known. And that can be what secures the sale.