Texting While Selling? Even I Was Shocked by This Behavior!
This one is hard to fathom.
Sure, I’ve been in an Uber while the driver carried on an extensive (and dangerous) text conversation with his friends. Of course, he wasn’t trying to sell me anything (though, perhaps, he should’ve tried to sell me on leaving a 5-star review).
Last week, a sales manager friend (who was previously a top salesperson known for always providing a great customer experience) informed me of a new phenomenon with some of today’s automotive salespeople. It seems they’re texting while working with customers!
I’m not referring to a salesperson sending a text to the porter to check on the status of a customer’s new vehicle while the customer is waiting to go in the box. I’m referring to salespeople returning texts from their friends and family while sitting across from their customers… in the middle of the sales process!
Before you think this is a Millennial issue, it’s not. Some of the salespeople who simply cannot wait to check their phones when receiving a text notification are Baby Boomers. They’ve become such slaves to their smartphones, they’ll risk losing a deal to read a text. As if every text could be a life or death situation.
It’s Just a Text Message
My sales manager friend, like me, said he would get up and walk out if he was the customer and a salesperson starting texting in front of him. Would you?
The typical retort from these salespeople? “But… the customer was using their phone too!”
Yikes! This means you’re boring them; you might be driving them to shop your competitors online in the middle of the deal; you’re losing them!
The latest data shows the average human attention span has fallen to 8 seconds. (Here’s an infographic explaining this, so it must be true.) This means salespeople must become even more engaging, not less. It means today’s sellers must find ways to keep the customer focused and excited about their purchase.
It means turning off your text and other notifications when you’re in front of a prospect!
Use the Customer’s Time Wisely
The excuse that the customer got on their phone first does not fly with me. It means you are not only boring them; you’ve lost their attention and likely lost control of the deal. Instead of joining them in their mindless smartphone slavery – or worse, hiding from them when there is a lull in the deal so you can text in private – try using this time productively and to your advantage.
Waiting on the desk to finish the write-up? Engage the customer in a non-sales conversation.
This is where you can build some rapport by speaking about anything and everything that has nothing to do with the car deal. This is what can humanize you in the eyes of your buyer; this is what will relax them and make them more likely to accept the pencil you’re about to present. This helps build trust and create authenticity – two important traits that help you close more deals.
Waiting on F&I? Introduce F&I products or start the delivery.
If the vehicle is ready, begin there. If not, begin (if allowed and trained) to explain what’s going to happen in the business office. (Hint: people are more likely to buy F&I add-ons when they’re educated about these in advance.)
Not able to do either of those things? Take them on the Service Walk and set their first service appointment.
Still waiting? Bring them something to drink and continue the non-sales conversation you started earlier. Most people love to talk about themselves, so be sure to ask thoughtful questions and listen with interest.
You (and your customers) will be shocked at how quickly the time will fly for them when they’re engaged in an old-fashioned, stimulating, face-to-face conversation with someone genuinely interested in what they have to say. Of course, you can’t do this if you’ve got your face in your phone.