The Ultimate Negotiation Guide for Salespeople and Consumers alike

These words can easily have their pictures taken in a tiny room with a window sporting one-way glass, where all the walls are painted grey with the exception of the horizontal lines that tell the photographer how tall these beings are.

No, these mugshots aren’t supposed to be pretty. These are the usual suspects a consumer will point a finger at whenever he/she feels she’s been had in any negotiation or has an unpleasant experience during any sale or experience.

(Poof. The clouds come and go and the words lining up against the grey wall disappears)

The consumer will often leave a bad experience and never think about how to better the purchasing situation.  They will often just go to another store or car dealership (for example) and work with a salesperson they can stand to finish their shopping.

…to work with a salesperson they can stand.

Read that again:……to work with a salesperson they can stand.

It sounds a whole lot like the consumer is settling for an experience, accepting the experience he or she can withstand, versus falling in love with the process and looking forward to experiencing it all over again. Let’s face it, no one likes a salesperson. We’ve been inundated with the commercials and movies where a salesperson is a stressed out, script reciting robot, and only looking out for his or her best interest. Why? This is the way it’s been for decades.

But……what if it doesn’t have to be?

Consumers: You have so much information (mostly free) at your hands nowaday and it gives you the upper ground. (See Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode 3. Ok, maybe not because he gets his legs chopped by Obi-Wan, but you get my drift)

Salespeople: Read above. Are you really giving them value by reciting rehearsed information that every other person in slacks, shirt, and mediocre tie can recite?

Both parties bring something refreshing and beneficial to the negotiation table: Personality.

And here is something both parties should bring to the table: Trust

Consumers

Consumers: I know. I know. They’re difficult to trust. Having to go back and forth when negotiating a purchase or lease of a vehicle. It’s a dance with two people that only have left feet. (no offense, lefties) Having the salesperson go to and from his or her manager. You want the price to go down. They want to keep the price up. 

“What is this salesperson’s bottom price?”

“Am I leaving too much on the table?”

“Can I get this car cheaper elsewhere”

“Did I say too much?”

“Will I be taken advantage of?”

“This is too good to be true. What is the catch?”

“Does he like cheese or pepperoni?” (No?…Just me?)

These are all valid questions and if you’re feeling like you can’t trust the salesperson, you can straight up tell them “You’re acting like a salesperson and I don’t like it.” See if they adjust themselves accordingly, or you can let them recite scripts on the lot alone and leave to enjoy the remainder of your weekend. They aren’t the only salesperson on a lot, do not settle. Your options are greater than ever today. You can always find a cheaper price elsewhere, and every fact about a car company and car model can be on display in your palm in five minutes or less with a simple ask from your cell phone, but every experience will be different. 

Which experience would you rather repeat, the one that let you go home feeling good, or the cheap one? These CAN happen in the same transaction. Do not feel obligated to stay with one sales person because he or she has spent a significant time with you. They know the game better than anyone else. Go out and find a salesperson you WANT to work with. The one that isn’t too polished, isn’t always smiling and calling you ma’am or sir, stumbles over their words because they are human. Go with a salesperson who also has a hard time trusting salespeople. Those are the people you want to do business with because they know it’s not about the commission at the end of the month, it’s about helping people, and spearheading every day with the mantra “How can I make someone’s day today?” They know there are more things to consider other than price when  purchasing or leasing a car.

Your ideal salesperson should get to know you, your interests because he knows you will be participating in those activities in your new car. The one that takes the time to get to know your significant other because they, too, will spend a hefty amount of time in the car. Your favorite places to hike because that will be the terrain the car will need to traverse, etc. Your salesman should be like a best friend, and a good salesman will call you a month later to see how the car is treating you because the purchase or lease is only the beginning.

Do not settle.

Salespeople

Is it too hard to come as you are? Lose the script. People have much better bullshit detectors than any sales book or guru will tell you. (Those authors are selling you so hard, by the way)

 How about starting off with some sincerity and not “ok, let me ask you this….” 

You can do so much better than the overpriced paper weight advice you paid for with your hard earned money and undervalued time at a two-day “Get More Sales” convention where you stand up and shout “I care about  the client!” and “I am amazing!”.

Approach a consumer with sincerity. Here are some quick ideas if you’re having a difficult time being human:

  • Ask about themselves and their family: Get to know them personally other than what they look like in a credit application or your commission statement.
  • Discuss things not pertaining to the sale: “Are you watching Mandalorian?! Awesome!. This is the way!!! Did we just become best friends?”  – It turns out, most clients watch TV and indulge in activities other than purchasing and signing documents.
  • Tell them embarrassing stories of yourself: Show them you are a person, too. The worst that can happen is you relive a moment where you wanted to sink into your chair and you share a laugh. I’m not an expert, but I hear laughter is a good thing. (Don’t quote me.)

Making yourself vulnerable and showing a side of yourself other than being a salesperson works in multiple ways:

  • You gain their trust and are no longer playing defense.
  • Their ears are open, they are on your team.
  • You, the salesperson ALSO become invested. This person has just become your friend and you want the very best for them. 

Be honest with every single facet of the sale. If you lose a sale because you told a consumer that past clients were having similar issues with a car, it’s ok. Chances are they will thank you for their honesty and move along to find a replacement for their option. Boom, another opportunity to help them and now you have added some more trust to the pot because you were serving their best interest and you were listening.Not just listening to what kind of car they were interested in, but their lifestyle, future plans, daily commute, interests, favorite sports teams etc.

Heck, if they mentioned that like a particular album, you can say:

 “Oh! Definitely want to check out the model with the upgraded stereo system because it will give the bass mix on that album a nice kick and the treble makes the vocals float up top and feel like they are right in front of you”.

 If they say:  “No no no. That is out of my price range”, then you have opened it up to price negotiation and again the consumer knows you’re not a robot, open to compromise, and you share something in common other than you are both in a car lot on a Sunday participating in a dance both parties think they know the steps to.

In the worst case scenario, they will forget about the process entirely and go home because they invested time into this particular model and say “Well, thanks gosh Dan told us about that problem.” Either outcome, you will have done your job and more. If they end up going elsewhere, that’s fine too. It will always work out best for all parties involved. They won’t be the only couple stepping on the lot that day. 

Humans vs. Algorithms

Let’s be real, consumers are coming to the lots armed to the teeth with information. It’s free on the internet, we have so much information at our hands that we can’t even close them. This information highway has opened consumers up to all of your competition, a detour as simple as a click and never need to worry about traffic or gas both directly and indirectly. While searching, a consumer is looking at all the surrounding lots, but also being bombarded with the places they never thought of looking. Shoutout to all the cookies and targeted ads that will show up on their sidebars, banners, pop-ups, and search results list.Each search query and ad link is pushing them further away from you. The person.

Bring something to the table that cannot be summed up in a line of code, something so unique that it only exists in you and recklessly use it to your advantage.

Chase the relationship, not the deal. 

With your authenticity, you will naturally begin to attract your own crowd of clients – your people. They will relate to you on a level far greater than simply on a professional level, and with that comes mountains of trust. You’ll find that these people will be the most loyal and vocal clients. They are your number one fans. You are not for everyone and that’s OK. You can’t “top perform” your way into gaining people’s trust.

“Go to Derek if you want to buy a car! He is a straight shooter and is one of us.”

Remember that this is your career; this is how you make a living. You will spend an enormous amount of non-refundable time building your business and your brand. Why would you not want to be yourself? Dare to stand out and be memorable. Your clients will feel like $1 million dollars knowing that you held nothing back and they had a new friend watching out for their best interest at all times. 

That feeling is your business card.

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