The Dreaded “Just Looking” – How to Overcome Objections on the Lot
The number one objection car salespeople heard 30 years ago is the same objection they’re hearing today: “No thanks, we’re just looking.”
Ugh, the dreaded “just looking” objection! It seems every prospect you approach is just looking!
(Here’s a quick hint: If you’re practicing Assumptive Selling, you’re hearing this objection 70-80% less often than your peers.)
Of course, 30 years ago, they were just looking. There was no Internet; prospects had no access to pricing (beyond what they saw in your newspaper ad); and most of their research was conducted in-person – on dealer lots.
Today… they’re lying. They’re not “just looking.” They’ve completed their research; they’ve done their own needs analysis; product selection; much of their qualifying and even conducted a miniature feature presentation on your website.
They’re ready to buy your car; they’re just afraid to tell you that.
Overcoming Lot Objections: The Goal
Even those practicing Assumptive Selling will hear objections, of course. However, these will come less often since you’re treating everyone as a qualified buyer instead of a suspect. Interestingly, many of the objections traditional vehicle salespeople receive are a product of the antiquated processes that buyers hate.
That is, you’re inviting objections by using old-school meet & greet questions!
For nearly all objections (and objections disguised as questions), it’s important to remember your goal. If you’re in the meet & greet, then your goal is the demo drive; if you’re on the demo drive, then your goal is the write-up, etc. This means you’ll want to make sure that addressing the objection includes a move toward the next step in your process.
You cannot sell a car during the meet & greet; but, you can lose a sale there. You cannot sell a car during the demo drive, but you can lose a sale there, as well. That’s why it’s important to remember the goal of each step on your road to the sale. It’s also important to keep in mind:
- You cannot sell a car until you do the numbers, right?
- You cannot do numbers until you have their trade info, right?
- You cannot do numbers until they come inside, right?
- You cannot do the numbers until they test drive, right?
- You cannot test drive until they select a vehicle, right?
So, why are you trying to fully overcome objections out on the lot before doing the write-up? Your goal should always be to take them down your road to the sale (which should be to guide them to the next step in your process). Keeping this in mind, let’s work on addressing (not overcoming) the most common objection automotive salespeople still face today.
To be clear, the word tracks you use to address objections are less important than the goal of moving your buyer to the next step. As I’ve done here, the verbiage you use can be a mix of new-school and old-school language; provided it allows you to take charge, be direct and guide your prospect to the next step.
Just Looking – How to Overcome the Most Common Sales Objection
Customer: “We’re just looking.”
Salesperson” Excellent! Are you more looking or shopping? (Whatever they answer) Great! That’s exactly how most of my customers start out. So, tell me, are we your first stop or have you already been to a few places?”
Customer: “You’re our first stop.”
Salesperson: “That’s outstanding to hear, thank you for choosing us first, I really appreciate that. I’m hopeful I can save you from having to visit multiple stores. Now, which vehicles would you like to test drive today?”
Your goal here is to move them to the demo drive. If that was already your first question of the meet & greet (“Which vehicle did you come to test drive today?”) and they answered they were “just looking,” your response would still be tailored to move them through your process:
Salesperson: “That’s outstanding to hear, thank you for choosing us first, I really appreciate that. I’m hopeful I can save you from having to visit multiple stores. Now, when you are ready to buy, are you planning on trading in your Taurus?”
This will likely move them to the next step and give you a chance to appraise their trade (meaning they’ll need to come inside for the write-up later). It will also keep you in the game and in control of the buying process.
Alternatively, you can ask them why they chose you first. If you do this, their answer will reveal the reason they want to do business with you. Your job is to use that reason to help them buy from you. For example, they may already service with you or you have a vehicle they’re interested in seeing. Whatever the reason, use it to move to the next step:
Customer: “You’re the closest dealership to our house.”
Salesperson: “Great; so, it sounds like you’ve probably got a full day ahead of you. Let me do this; let’s get to the vehicles you want to see first and get you all the information, then you can leave here knowing all you need to know quickly. Does that sound fair?”
Assumptive Selling teaches you that no one wants to visit two dealerships. They chose you first because they want to buy from you – even if you’re simply the closest dealership to their home. We know that most everyone expects a hassle when they start the car shopping process, so let’s remove the hassles right away and let them know we can help them gather the information they need quickly.
Our first goal is to get them to the demo drive, not to get them to buy our vehicle. Focusing on helping them gather information quickly will open them up to your next steps. If they answered your earlier question that they’ve already been to a few place, then you’ll want to deep dive on that:
Salesperson: “Great, most of my customers who’ve already visited a few places tell me they either can’t find the right vehicle or the right price. What’s been your biggest headache so far?
This is where knowing your inventory and understanding the unique benefits of your new vehicles comes into play. If you have decent product knowledge, you can begin asking questions to move them through your process and onto the test drive. For example, if they say they haven’t found the right vehicle because they need something good on gas that’s large enough for seven people and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, you might answer with:
Salesperson: “Okay, it sounds like you’re looking for a larger vehicle that’s also efficient. If I’ve got a suitable alternative you love with the right rebates, I assume you’re ready to stop this endless shopping and get the vehicle you’re looking for. Let me do this. Let me show you some new Explorers with the EcoBoost engine. Then, I promise to put together all the information and pricing on the Explorer you like best. Does that sound like a plan?”
In this case, we’re already teeing up the customer for the write-up even before we have a demo drive set. That’s okay, because it’s just a soft trial close on the write-up without just vomiting all the information about our vehicle. Contrast that with a salesperson who just blathers on about how fuel efficient and affordable the Explorer is (which sounds like you’re selling them instead of helping them buy). Once we find a suitable Explorer we’ll assume the demo drive.
Conversely, if they just comment that one thing (like price, selection, salesperson, etc.) was the problem, they’ve given you everything you need to know to move them through your process.
Customer: “The last dealer wasn’t willing to budge on price.”
Salesperson: “Okay, thank you; that helps. So, what I’m hearing is that if we can agree on a price you like, you’d like to own the Tundra today; is that right?”
This is a very traditional (and still very effective) closing technique sometimes called the Concession Close. You don’t agree to the concession, you merely acknowledge it. If you agree to a concession, you end up inviting more customer demands throughout the rest of the buying process.
Want to learn how to overcome more than 60 additional objections automotive salespeople hear on the lot and on the phones (and so much more)? Check out: Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers.
This article is an edited excerpt from this 400+ page book written for all automotive sales professionals, including managers, dealers, salespeople and BDC agents.
To learn more or to receive discounts on bulk purchases of 10 or more copies, visit AssumptiveSelling.com.