How to handle customers insisting on discounts

June 10, 2009

The question is commonly asked, “If I price my cars to the market, how do I overcome the shopper’s expectation to negotiate?”

Yesterday I heard a story from Keith Kocourek in Wausau, Wisconsin that I think really tells a story. His salesperson was contacted by someone that saw one of their Suburban’s on AutoTrader. The customer’s first question was, “How much less will you sell it for?” Fortunately his salesperson had just been through AutoTrader’s telephone training class and new exactly what to do. Without hesitation, the salesperson explained to the customer that his Suburban was one of 8 in a hundred mile radius and all of the other ones were higher priced. The salesperson promptly acknowledged that his had less equipment and that’s why it was listed for less. The knowledge and forthrightness of the salesperson stopped the customer in his tracks.

Wisely, the salesperson asked the customer if he could send him pictures of the vehicle along with information about other sport utility vehicles that could be purchased for less. The salesperson then said, “Do you have any other questions,” and the shopper over the phone said, “Yes, do you take credit card deposits over the phone?”

The moral of the story is that customers that show up in your dealership, physically or virtually interested in specific vehicles are doing so because they have probably already satisfied themselves that it’s a fair deal. Unfortunately, they do not announce this fact, but it’s a healthy standard operating procedure to assume that’s the case. What made this interaction work was the fact that the salesperson was well trained and knowledgeable about the marketplace and competition for that vehicle. Moreover, the salesperson demonstrated credibility by actually explaining why his lesser equipped vehicle was being offered for sale for a price lower than the competition. Training, live market knowledge and transparency carried the day. Congratulations to Kocourek Motor Cars.