Although I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience thus far working at Victory Toyota of Canton, and despite the fact that I think I have further developed my communication skills, my experience hasn’t been perfect, and I still face difficult situations and obstacles which I must overcome.
Arguably the toughest situation which I face on a daily basis is trying to read, or feel out, individual customers’ personalities. Understanding a customer’s personality is paramount in the car sales business, as certain individuals may respond differently to the same selling tactic. For example, some customers know what car they want and they don’t want to be told otherwise, even if there is a better option available to them. With a customer like this, it is important to know when to stop pushing, and start reaffirming their belief in the car they want, because if you don’t, there is a good chance they will walk out without buying. Conversely, there are some customers who need direction, or who need to be pushed to make a commitment. These customers typically love the car, but keep finding excuses for why they can’t reach a deal. In that situation, it is important to not pressure the customer too much or make them feel uncomfortable, but also make sure they realize that they’re going to have to make a decision, whether that be to buy the car from our dealership or from a different one.
Undoubtedly the toughest customers however are those customers who come in with one price in mind and refuse to budge at all or even negotiate. For example, just last week I had a customer come in and say that he wanted to pay 20,000 for a certain brand new car. The problem was that we were asking over 23,000 for the car. In fact, our cost was more than 20,000, meaning that there was no way my manager would ever take a loss and sell that brand new car for 20,000$. Furthermore, this customer refused to look at different models, or at a lightly used vehicle.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, tell the customer that it’s too bad and to move on, because we would never sell that specific car for 20,000$. And believe me, that thought has crossed my mind many a time, and sometimes we do end up having to stop working with a customer because they just refuse to make a reasonable offer, but that is the last resort. The reason that we don’t immediately tell those people goodbye is because although certain people are just unreasonable, a lot of the time those people who seem like they won’t negotiate do actually end up buying cars. Normally, they just want to see us come down in price some, or basically see some good faith from us that we are trying to meet them in the middle.
In short, this is why these type of customers are so hard to read, and therefore work with. Because on one hand, they may just be wasting your time, visiting 4 dealerships a day and trying to see who will accept their crazy-low offer. But conversely, if someone has a specific price in mind, that normally means they are ready to buy a car- having done their research already.
I have tried my best to work with these customers successfully, and I have closed some deals in which the customer initially wouldn’t budge. But there are certainly others in which I look back and wonder if I made the right decision, or if there was something more I could have done to get them to buy a car from us.