I know there are people out there who simply see vehicles as a vessel to get from A to B, I’m also sure those people much like their vessel require a yearly oil change. I’m not one of those people, cars are not vessels. They are awesome, and the right car can become an extension of who you are, much like a favourite pair of shoes or jeans that you can never bring yourself to throw out, no matter how much your wife despises them.

For most of us choosing a car is determined by a few common factors: Performance, Looks, Reliability, Size and Price. Now there will be a few that are very important to you that I’ve missed out on for instance if you’re a tree hugging hippy you’ll be driven by fuel economy, CO2 emissions and other equally relevant but boring features. Rest assured that all features tie into one or more of the five I’ve mentioned. You see Hippies should be worried about performance just as much as the average petrol head. Your performance need could be getting the most out of your engine without destroying the environment, or getting the most out of your engine while destroying everything in your path.

I’ve dealt with Performance, Looks speaks for itself. There are a multitude of very ugly cars out there that somehow end up on the roads, so Looks is very different for everyone. You need to drive a car that you “think” looks good ,and that you “think” you look good in. Reliability is a big one because it also enters Price’s territory. Even if your car is cheap to begin with, it won’t feel so cheap if it’s notorious for expensive parts breaking every Sunday afternoon. Reliability also directly affects your car’s resale value. Size is mainly a factor when you are burdened, I mean blessed with a family. Most can get by with a Hatchback or Sedan, but if you have more than 2 holy terrors in your brood then you’ll probably have to look into something bigger. Price is normally the end all for most people but this is easily diffused by love at first drive or a silver tongued salesperson.

So there are the top 5 reasons I could think of when buying a new ride. I’m sure everyone can agree that these reasons would apply to all of us in some way or another. What you didn’t know is that these “reasons” can also be very dangerous in the hands of any decent car salesperson. So in no particular order here are a couple of sales techniques to help you, the retail minded car salesman to make more sales, build better customer relationships, and generally just start being awesome.

NB: these are not iron clad sales techniques taught by people wearing golden ties or winged cufflinks, these are a few helpful hints brought to you off the top of my head. So however amazing and groundbreaking they sound to you, try not to take them as gospel.

Rule 1 is engage the customer, talk to them and find out why they want the car they are looking for, you as a salesperson could actually help them here and suggest something better suited to the task. Most people are going to be looking for a new car based on word of mouth so you should have a better idea of the car they should be driving than their BFF or even themselves for that matter.

Rule 2 is once you’ve done your groundwork and laid out a few options, start selling the car. You might say the car will sell itself and in some cases this is true but that may take time, and a quick word here and there about the performance or how this car won car of the year in Timbuktu wont hurt. And don’t forget to sell your dealership too. Throw a few big ups about how this is the best dealership you’ve worked at, or our mechanics know this engine inside out.

Rule 3 is close the damn deal, don’t let them leave the lot without signing their life away… No I’m kidding this is a horrible idea which I’m sure is still prevalent in many car sales environments but don’t do that here.

Rule 4 is if they do leave to go look elsewhere, make sure they leave with a good feeling about you and your dealership. After they’ve spent the whole day looking at the same cars in different colours, the deciding factor might just be their best sales experience. So make sure you give it to them.

Basically what I’m getting at is be proactive but also know when to back off, whatever you do don’t irritate a potential buyer by being forceful or hovering around them. If you aren’t getting a good vibe, pass them off to a colleague. Maybe they came to buy a car specifically from the Saleslady who only owns low cut tops. Just make sure she splits some of the commission with you. And make sure you use some of that money to buy her a covery-uppery top.

I’ll continue in the next installment, oh yes there will be another because I visited the dealership a few more times. And so much more happened, I can’t wait to tell you all about it.