How to Sell More Cars at a Dealership


Cars are more sophisticated and convenient than they’ve ever been, but people are buying fewer cars

However, just because the big U.S. automakers are seeing a decline in sales, it doesn’t mean your dealership has to as well. The fact remains that millions of cars are sold each year in the U.S.

With the right vehicles for sale and an effective approach to selling them, you can increase your profits. 

Read on to discover how to sell more cars at a dealership, and close sales quicker. 

Get Personal

Potential customers don’t want to feel like another number when they walk through the doors. As a salesperson, you can create immediate engagement by learning the person’s name and using it in your conversation. 

It may seem like a simple thing, but referring to someone by name can make a difference in the sales world. It shows that you’re listening, and you’re opening the door to a meaningful conversation. 

Once you’ve established their name, you can ask them questions about their needs to best pair them with a vehicle on your lot. For example, if they tell you they do a lot of solo highway driving, then you can suggest a mid-sized car that’s great on gas. 

Don’t Waste Time on Converting People

There will always be people that come into a dealership with the sole intention to browse, and that’s okay. Browsing is a good first step in their journey to buying. 

You can engage these people and ask if they need any information, but recognize whether they’re moving towards buying, or just kicking tires. If they seem really unlikely to make a purchase—for example, they don’t ask for a test drive or what kind of buyer options there are—then hand them your business card. 

They may call you when they’re more serious about buying a vehicle. Until then, you can move on to the eager young couple looking for a baby-friendly SUV today. 

Take the BANT Approach

This is an extension on the last point to help qualify sales leads. BANT is an established sales technique that stands for budget, authority, need, and timeline.

Ask your potential customer what their budget is, and then point them to a vehicle in that price range. Don’t try to oversell. Also, determine if the person has the authority to make a buying decision. 

Of course, the vehicle you recommend should fill the particular need of the client. If they have three kids they need to cart around to soccer practice, they’re likely not going to want a compact car. 

Regarding timeline—this is whether you can deliver the product in a timeline that’s feasible. If the car they want is already at your dealership and doesn’t need to be ordered in, then that’s a big plus. 

Learn More About the Products

You may be a people person that’s great at talking to potential customers. However, that sometimes only takes you so far. At some point, the customer will want to know more about the vehicle’s features, and you should be able to answer without hesitation. 

Knowing the product inside and out will help build confidence in the buyer. It can also help you better recommend a vehicle to a potential buyer based on features they’re looking for. 

If you happen to drive one of the same vehicles you’re selling, use this to your advantage. Use anecdotes about how great the mileage is, or how easy it is to park in the city. 

That being said, don’t make up facts about a vehicle. Politely tell them that you’re unsure, but you will get the right information for them. Customers will appreciate that more than being lied to. 

Learn About What They are Selling

On top of learning about your own dealership’s products inside and out, you should also have some knowledge about what other dealerships in the area are selling as well. 

That way, when a customer tells you about cars they’ve looked at already, you can show them your dealership’s options with similar features in the same price range. 

It’s important not to badmouth other products or dealerships when doing this, or you can leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth. Take the high road, only pointing out the positive features of what you’re selling. Let your products speak for themselves. 

Share Information About Incentives 

Tell the potential customer about any current deals on the vehicle, or whether the dealership is offering great financing rates. Tell them how long they have to take advantage of incentives, and let them make the decision without pressure. 

You can also outline any other benefits that may entice the customer. Perhaps there is an on-site garage that can affordably service the vehicle. People love sales incentives, so use them to your advantage. 

Create a Referral Program To Sell More Cars

This approach has been shown to increase sales for auto dealers. Basically, you tell your existing customers that if they refer someone to buy a new vehicle from you, they’ll get a better deal. 

Some dealerships are using online referral programs with success. You send an email with an invitation to join the rewards program and then offer prizes for vetted referrals from them.  

Don’t Be Too Pushy

One of the biggest turn-offs for customers is an overly aggressive salesperson. If you come in smelling blood, your potential customers will likely sense that and walk away. Buying a vehicle is a major decision for anyone—respect that. 

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use techniques to close a sale once you’ve had a conversation. Politely ask them if they want to take a test drive, or to work out a price for what they want.  

Don’t Pre-Judge Buyers

Just because a potential customer comes in dressed in a fancy suit, it doesn’t mean they want to buy your most expensive vehicle. 

The same goes for someone who comes in with a t-shirt and ripped jeans. Try not to judge a book by its cover. There are some people who may be willing to spend more than you’d think for a new car. Or they may be in the market for a subprime car loan that your dealership can accommodate. 

Approach anyone who comes into your dealership with a warm smile, and ask them how you can help them. 

Host a Public Event

You can’t sell anything to people if they don’t know about your dealership. You may know how to be a good salesman, but that won’t help if the foot traffic isn’t there. 

One way you can become more front and center in people’s minds when they’re shopping for vehicles is to host an event. Buy a load of hot dogs and hamburgers, set up a barbecue, and invite people to come for a bite at your dealership. 

You can raise money for a local charity through hosting a car wash, or you can make it a sales-focused event where you offer visitors a limited time deal on a new vehicle. Either way, more people will remember the name of your dealership, which can be turned into a sale down the road.  

Try Direct Mail Marketing

Some customers may be on the fence about buying a vehicle due to costs or financing. However, you can target leads through mail campaigns that let them know their credit will be accepted without a hassle. 

These direct mail pieces can have the dealership name on them, and even your name as the salesperson to contact. This will eliminate some of the worry and paperwork involved for your customer. 

Walk The Talk

An often overlooked sales tip is to dress well and pay attention to personal hygiene. While you shouldn’t judge what your customers are wearing, be aware they are probably judging you if you have bad breath or have a stain on your pants.

There’s some truth to the term “dress for success,” as first impressions can make or break a sale

Follow Up

After you’ve had a conversation with someone in person or on the phone, make some notes about what was discussed and how likely they are to buy. 

Set aside some time during your day to make some follow-up calls to see if people are still interested. Don’t waste time by going over what you’ve already discussed (check your notes)—take them to the next level by letting them know why your products are the best option for them now. 

If possible, when getting a potential customer’s contact info, ask them when the best time of day is to reach them. They will appreciate your attention to detail, and you’re less likely to get an answering machine. 

Follow Leads To Sell More Cars at a Dealership

Getting people through the door of the dealership is one challenge, and closing a sale is another. With a combination of sales techniques and incentives, you can see your sales soaring. 

However, one way to eliminate some of this work is by finding subprime leads that can more easily be converted into happy customers. To find out more about how to sell more cars at a dealership through car sales leads, contact us today.

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