I sold 11 vehicles in my first month as a salesman. As time wore on, I did not sustain that success rate.

I knew I had a great sales strategy, but I was closing fewer and fewer deals, until one day when I realized that all-important mantra: If you do not ask, you will not receive.

Asking for the sale can be tricky.

If you inquire too early, the customer may feel you are rushing to the finish. If you don't ask at all, you could lose a sale entirely because the right prompt wasn't offered.

If you are confident you have asked and answered all the right questions, offered a demonstration drive and sold the customer on the benefits of your dealership, you have earned the right to ask for the sale.

Once you are back in your office, you have to put the customer in a controlled environment and make them comfortable. Many customers are nervous and uneasy at this stage of the selling process.

The emotional intensity level of the customer is at its highest and how you proceed will determine if you sell the vehicle.

If you have done everything possible, follow this guide to asking for the sale:

Step 1

Tell the Customer: “Before we go any further, I just want to make sure we have the best vehicle for you?”

Get a verbal confirmation. Start the vehicle selection process again if they say no.

Step 2

Say: “I have a few questions. So, you enjoyed the ride and features of the new vehicle?”

This is done again for clarification. If the answer is “yes,” proceed to Step 3. If it is “no,” you must backtrack to the vehicle selection process. This means they are not sure about purchasing this vehicle and may need to see another one or two before they can proceed.

Step 3

Ask: “Do you have any other questions about the dealership or about the vehicle?”

If they do have concerns or questions, address them.

Step 4

Ask: “If there was anything preventing you from getting the vehicle today, what would it be?”

The customer may voice several conditions, including the price, trade (difference), monthly payments, interest rate and terms.

If you are selling a used vehicle the conditions could be additional repairs they want done before agreeing on numbers.

Handle their response with Step 5.

Step 5

Ask: “So what you are suggesting to me Mr. Customer, is that, if the (i.e. price, payments, customers trade in, terms, or used vehicle repairs, etc.) is/are agreeable with you, you would like to get the new vehicle as soon as possible, is that correct?”

If everything is confirmed and clarified, pull out your worksheet and fill in the details on the vehicle they are interested in purchasing.

Now that you have a script on how to ask for the sale professionally, role-play with colleagues at the dealership or with someone at home. Have fun with it. Make it easy at first and as you get better, increase the difficulty level until you have mastered the process. It will be well worth it

When it comes to asking for the sale, there are two things you need to learn quickly:

One, too much pressure will blow the sale. Two, not enough pressure will blow the sale.

You don't want to be the high-pressured salesperson people hate, but you definitely don't want to be the one everybody likes and doesn't buy from.

Do your best to know when to push and when to back off. Never forget why customers are in the dealership - they want a vehicle.

Darin George heads the Automotive Sales College, www.visitasc.com. He wrote Sales Training - Automotive Edition, available at www.barnsandnoble.com. Contact him at darin@visitasc.com.

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