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What do you have in common with your client?

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Have you ever been asked by your sales manager when you walked into their office with a deal worksheet: "What do you have in common with these people?" It is a great question that a sales manager could ask you about the people you are trying to sell a car to. Does thinking about what your answer would be to this question make you uncomfortable? Would you say something like: "Uhhh… I don't know boss. We're both wearing brown shoes?" 

The problem with the interview process in many cases is we spend a lot of time on the vehicle but not enough on lifestyle issues.

Lifestyle issues are the key to establishing common ground and really understanding their needs. We use the F.O.R.M. acronym to remind ourselves to interview to the lifestyle issues of Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Money.  Changes in these lifestyle issues mean changes in their vehicle requirements.  Just by them walking into the dealership we know that something has changed!  The only way we can make an accurate product selection and make our presentation personalized is by finding out about these lifestyle issues.

See how many great lifestyle issues come out when you ask questions in these two powerful areas:

1. "What has changed in your life that makes your current vehicle unsuitable?"  Variations on this theme could be: "What is it about your current vehicle that no longer meets your needs?"  Or "What don't you like about the vehicle you have now?"

2. "What does your next vehicle need to do really, really well?" Or "What does your next vehicle have to do much better than the last one?"

These open-ended questions not only give you insight into changes in their life but they also give you the D.B.M. - Dominant Buying Motivation for the next purchase!  Once we have what's most important that the next vehicle do well we can focus our presentation on features and benefits that satisfy that need.

What's more powerful? Showing them a roomy cargo area or showing them a roomy cargo area and suggesting: "that looks big enough for your son and his buddies' hockey bags doesn't it?" Remember your clients don't buy features they buy what that feature does for them personally.  If you can't link the feature to their life then it may be meaningless.

We have all met a product knowledge expert who gives a 355 point walk-around presentation and consistently talks her/himself past and out of the sale. Save your breath. If they don't care about the technical features of the engine don't even pop the hood!

Try asking more open-ended lifestyle questions and let the client talk. They will tell you how they will buy – if you're listening… 

"Rowing harder doesn't help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction."
- Kenichi Ohmae


Automotivaters is highly recognized and one of the most respected automotive training and consulting companies in Canada. Since 1987, the company has acquired an international client base throughout Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia, French Polynesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and New Zealand.

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