Secret Tricks of Car Salesmen

Car Talk: All those Christmas cards were because you cared?

Deep Plaid: Yes... but if you think that was the only reason, you'd be kidding yourself.

The bottom line is, I wanted them to remember me. You must do something that sets you apart. The cars all cost the same. When it came time for one of my old customers to buy a new car, I wanted them to think of me.

Car Talk: Did they teach you little tricks at those seminars?

Deep Plaid: Definitely! Here's one example. Jackie taught us to write up their last offer in the very bottom corner of the sales agreement. Take up all the room. The buyer looks at that, and sees there's nowhere else to write. Psychologically, they feel like they're out of space, which tells them they can't negotiate any more. I've done that. It really works!

Car Talk: You told us you were taught to control the customer. How would you do that?

Deep Plaid: We would try to control the customer in very subtle, and in an almost intoxicating manner, without the customer being aware of it.

The goal is to build control of the customer, for when you really need to control them. Jackie B. Cooper said, "There's a difference between hearing and listening. When you're listening to the customer, you're controlling the conversation".

Car Talk: Let me guess. "When you really need to control them" - that's closing the sale, right?

Deep Plaid: Exactly. We think of it as opening and closing a series of doors.

You start very simply. Here's an example. A salesman friend of mine would see someone he knows walking 100 feet away, out in the lot. The very first contact he'd have with him would be to shout out, "Hey, Bob, come on over here!" Bingo. Bob would come toward him! He's already starting to take control of Bob.

Then, he'd follow that up with, Bob: "Come into my office and sit down." Guess what? In two minutes, Bob had already obeyed two of his commands.

Once you have control, after about 45 minutes, you can give them a price. At that point, you don't want them to pitch and buck, because the last command is "sign right here!" That's the one command you really want them to follow.

Car Talk: How do you avoid being sucked in like that?

Deep Plaid: Being aware is a good start. For example, test drives are a great way for a salesman to take control, because you're telling the buyer where to turn every minute or two. You're giving him or her all sorts of commands. And, for the most part, customers obey those commands on test drives.

Buyers need to be careful what they say during a test drive. Because you're distracted by your driving, you're more likely to tell the truth. Going for a test drive is like administering truth serum.

In my experience, customers would tell you the truth every time on the test drive! I always asked them a lot of questions and I would store what I had learned for later use.