Issue Date: Sales Success June 1, 2009, Posted On: 6/4/2009
Road to the Sale Tips for doing better demo drives While buying a new vehicle is an exciting experience for your customers, it can also be a stressful one. Not only is there the stress of the negotiation process, but there's also the test drive. In fact, the prospect of getting into an unfamiliar vehicle with a perfect stranger and driving down the road together can be uncomfortable. What's more, the pressure is on: for in this short time span, most customers will make a decision on whether they will purchase their next new vehicle.
What to expect Part of what makes a test drive so stressful is that most customers don't know what to expect, since buying a new vehicle isn't something they do very often. Be prepared to ask the customer for some common information such as a driver's license, and, in some states, proof of insurance. As a salesperson you should make a copy of this information. This is done not only because you want to confirm that your customer is a registered driver, but also so you have some personal information.
Get the appropriate license plate for the vehicle and the keys, and then accompany the customer on the test drive. The customer may wonder why you have to tag along. You can tell the customer that it's dealership policy, but there's also a far more practical reason: the demo drive is the ideal opportunity for you to present details about the new vehicle.
Be sure to follow your dealership's predetermined test drive route, which often provides a variety of driving conditions (city, highway, twisty roads, hills, traffic, etc. but no left turns) that allow prospects to experience how the vehicle responds to different situations. As the salesperson, you should drive first, demonstrating the vehicle's characteristics and talking about its features.
Selling from the passenger seat With the customer driving, take advantage of this time to point out the vehicle's comfort and convenience features, including the seats, climate control settings, and stereo controls. This is also a good time to ask questions because the customer will have a different perspective of a vehicle while driving rather than riding in the passenger seat.
When you are driving, point out the smooth ride and normal vehicle handling characteristics. Point out how the vehicle responds during acceleration, braking, and cornering.
After the demo drive After the demo drive, take some time with the customer to look closely at the vehicle. Ask the customer or family members to sit in the front and rear seats to determine if passengers will be comfortable. If the seats fold, reconfigure or can be removed, demonstrate those features to show how easy they are to use. Last, show the trunk or cargo space. Point out the room for luggage for a long trip.
Allow time for thinking The demo drive should last between 15 and 30 minutes, including your time behind the wheel. Ask for the sale. Be prepared for the customer say she needs some time to consider her options, whether it's a few minutes or a few days. If your dealership permits it, let the customer borrow the vehicle overnight or for a weekend if they have already taken a short test drive or are returning for a second visit.
It's easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of selling a new vehicle and end up overlooking certain features that are really important to the customer. Before embarking on a demo drive, make sure you know what features are important to the customer's lifestyle.