Last week the family decided to do a little post-holiday shopping for a new television. We went to a big box electronic store and were immediately confused by all the technical jargon and buzzwords. We knew we wanted a bigger screen, but had no idea about resolution, refresh rate, or anything else. A salesperson approached us and we figured she would just push the newest and most expensive model on us.

We were wrong.

She started by asking us questions about what we liked to watch. Sports? Movies? What kind of shows were our favorites? She then asked the age of our kids and what they liked to watch and whether anyone would be playing video games on this new TV. Armed with this information about our family, she then showed us several models and explained the key features and why they’d be perfect for our family’s viewing needs.

She cut right through all the technical information and made us trust her by making a personal connection. She didn’t simply sell us a television; she gave us an entertainment solution.

It’s a great lesson for car dealers—how do they treat the customer that comes into their dealership looking to buy a car. The typical dealer asks the same questions of their prospective customers: what make, model, and color of car are you looking to buy? Do you need specific features? What’s your budget? No wonder people have a specific stereotype in mind when they hear “car dealer”!

Often your competition is just looking to sell the latest and greatest without thinking about the specific needs of their customer. But same is lame, so why not take a different approach?

Ask your leads questions about their life and how their car fits into it. Find out what they do day-to-day and why a newer car will make their routine easier and their free time more enjoyable. Learn what has prevented them from adding a new car to this point. Ask questions about how their car shopping experience has been so far—are you the first dealer they’ve visited or have they been shopping around?

The more questions you ask about their life and how their auto fits into it, the more you will build trust and help them to see you as an expert, not on selling cars, but on an overall automotive solution. Remember two things—anyone that steps into your showroom is ultimately ready to buy a car, but to make that happen, you need to break through the wall of mistrust that stands between you and that potential customer. Every question you ask cracks that wall and makes the car-buying experience less of a hassle and more of a joy. You are connecting with a customer who could be a lifelong buyer of automotive solutions from you.

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