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When you’re a new car salesman, training tips that promote honesty, trust, and integrity will help you rise to the top quickly.

Beginning a new job in auto sales is exciting — your entire career is in front of you, and there’s so much opportunity to succeed and learn. You have books full of car salesman training tips, car manuals, and a subscription to every industry magazine you could find. If you’re new to the industry, though, or just sales in general, you may be a bit confused by the way the customers at your dealership interact with you. You know that you’re an honest person with good intentions, but they’re treating you like you’ve already done something wrong. What gives?

The frustrating fact is that like many trustworthy salespeople, you have to overcome a stigma. The car buyers you’re meeting have either been burned in the past by sketchy dealerships, or they have a wall up based on stereotypes that continue to haunt auto dealerships around the country. In a Gallup poll measuring perceived honesty and ethics in professions, car salespeople were near the very bottom of the list — tied with telemarketers and members of Congress, and only above lobbyists.

Forget those car salesman training tips that don’t feel right

How can you move past customer baggage and preconceived notions? Think about the car salesman training tips you received when you started at your dealership. Did some of them make you uncomfortable? Chances are, your intuition was right on.

For example, some salespeople swear by holding on to keys for a trade-in negotiation as they run back and forth between multiple rounds of “let me ask my manager.” They think they’re engaging in a foolproof sales tactic, while they’re failing to hear the customer say “I’d like to leave, please give me my keys back.” Don’t be that person.

Sometimes, it’s best to assume that a potential customer walking onto your lot has had a bad car-buying experience in the past, or they’ve heard plenty of stories from people who have. This gives you an opportunity to change the way you sell and not just make a sale, but hopefully, alter their perception — for the better — of car salespeople.

How can you give a car buyer a clean slate and let them know off the bat that this will be a new experience? Try these essential car salesman training tips.

10 quick car salesman training tips that can make a huge difference

1. Get customer names upfront (and remember them)

Your first inclination may be to approach a customer and say, “Welcome to XYZ Dealership, I’m John. What can I help you with today?” That, however, is wrong. Never forget the Dale Carnegie quote from How to Win Friends and Influence People: “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Get the customer’s name immediately — “Welcome to XYZ Dealership, I’m John – and you are?” — remember it, and use it throughout the entire sales process.

2. Listen more than you talk

01-10-car-salesman-training-tips-that-create-an-engaging-car-lot-01You probably got into sales because you’re a people person, and you love engaging in a good conversation. Top salespeople don’t just talk, though — they listen. And they listen even more than they speak. If you throw the ball into your customer’s court and actively listen to what they’re telling you, there’s a greater chance you’ll have a better understanding of what they want and need.

3. Look customers in the eye

Eye contact creates a connection, and when you’re purposely or subconsciously avoiding that contact, it creates a disconnect with customers. There’s a happy medium, though, because too much eye contact can seem too intense and condescending. Aim to make eye contact about 30-60% of the time during a conversation — more when listening, less when speaking.

4. Be patient, not pushy

02-10-car-salesman-training-tips-that-create-an-engaging-car-lot-01You want to make the sale, and you want to make it now, but that should never be the vibe you give off when working with customers. Purchasing a car is a big decision, and if a person feels pressured to make a quick decision, they may just decide to walk off your lot. Give people space and let them feel supported.

5. Know the product inside and out

Car salesman training tips are usually so focused on how to speak to people, that they forget to include an important fact: you need to know what you’re talking about. Prove to the customer that you’re more than “just” a fast-talking salesperson — you know your inventory inside and out and can share fascinating information. Take the time to educate yourself regularly and you’ll find your knowledge builds trust with customers.

6. Don’t say negative things about other car dealers

If a customer comes in and starts telling you about a negative experience they had at another dealership, fight the urge to be negative. You can certainly acknowledge their feelings, but quiet confidence goes much further with customers than trash-talking competitors.

7. Don’t tell customers what they want to hear

This can be a tough pill to swallow, especially for people-pleasers, but keep it real with customers. If you’re going to need an extra 30 minutes to get their car ready, don’t tell them it’s only going to be 15 minutes. When you overpromise and under-deliver, customers will begin to doubt your trustworthiness.

8. Keep your desk clean

At some point in the sales process, you’ll probably bring a customer over to your desk. Is it covered in piles of paper, protein bar wrappers, and photos of you partying with your friends? Clean up your act. Take as much pride in your desk as you do in your appearance because a messy desk can signal to a customer that you’re scatter-brained and will probably let some details slip through the cracks.

9. Do unto others

03-10-car-salesman-training-tips-that-create-an-engaging-car-lot-01Most people know the “Golden Rule,” but they don’t stop to think about it in daily life. You may get so focused on your job and making the sale, that you forget your customers are real people. They are making a significant investment, they may be stressed out, there could be a lot going on at home — you just don’t know what they’re up against in the current moment. If you treat others the way you would want to be treated in a dealership, you’ll find many more return customers and referrals coming your way.

10. Follow up

Want a customer to think you don’t care about them and were just interested in making a sale? Don’t follow up. Following up, whether by phone, e-mail, or even snail mail, shows you care that they are satisfied with their purchase — not just taking their money.

Being a salesperson in the auto industry can be incredibly rewarding, and if you remember these ten car salesman training tips, you’ll be well on your way to Employee of the Month.

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