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Help Your Customers Build Their Dreams


By Kevin Willey



We, in the Car Culture, live to drive and customize our automobiles, we dream about our vehicle, about making that vehicle our expression of our view of the automobile.  Why else would the automotive aftermarket be as big as it is, if not for the dreams of those in the Car Culture?


Selling a part to someone at the counter is just too cold; there is no satisfaction or sense of accomplishment in taking someone’s money, and handing over a part.  You may as well be selling insurance or groceries, both requirements, no excitement for the customer.  Fulfilling the customer’s dream is therefore more than just parts!  The customer gets almost as much out of talking about their plans and aspirations as actually building their dream vehicle.  Why not capitalize on this and change just another source of a spot sale, source of income, into a loyal patron of your establishment?


People become very loyal once engaged, they will come to think of you and your staff as friends, and everyone will first turn to a friend when help is needed.


How do you get your customers to consider you and your staff as friends?


Simply make their experience friendly, and memorable.  This is not as difficult as you may think; small changes are really all it takes.  These days with all the ‘virtual vendors’ all over the internet a ‘bricks and mortar’ establishment is lucky someone ventures into their store, do not waste the opportunity.


The simplest is greeting the customer as they come into your store.  Wal-Mart recognized this years ago as a good thing to help make the customers comfortable.  Not that it is necessary to go to the lengths Wal-Mart has, unless you know a retired gear-head who might want to take on the job.  Simply say hello to someone as they enter your establishment, this lets the customer know someone knows they exist.  People naturally feel a bit uncomfortable in a new environment, and will be reluctant to talk, for whatever reason, however by getting the customer talking you help them get to a higher comfort level.  Engage your customers, get them talking, and never ask a question that can be answered by; a Yes or a No.


Once people get talking, the next thing is to actually listen to what they are saying.  Show interest in what they are doing and trying to create.  Repeat back to them the pertinent points, this shows you are actually paying attention to what they are saying and also serves to eliminate potential misunderstandings.  It is important to note that when they ask a question about a product or procedure, that you do not know the answer you admit it, and keep the customer engaged by saying something like; ‘let’s find out’…


Only once the customer is engaged and your staff has established their needs can they then offer options.


Now is when you start to show the customer your product knowledge.  Every product option should be presented and described from the view of three points; Feature, Advantage, Benefit.  Every single time!  Be it a sparkplug or a complete rolling chassis; always present the options in this manner.


By using this method you are able to, not only offer options without appearing to be up-selling, you will also assist the customer to make an informed decision that they will feel good about.

Don’t forget to ask for the sale.  Ask your customer which option you have described they feel most comfortable with.  Should they want some time to digest all this new knowledge, offer to clarify any points they may be hesitant on, or answer any further questions they may have.  This is also the time to point out any price match policies your company may have, as well as the advantages of buying locally.


This is as far as you go, beyond this your customer will feel pressured, and that is the last thing you want them to feel.


You have become involved in your customers decision process, and in their project and dream.  Essentially you have become part of their community, and if executed correctly they are more than likely to return for the next part of their project they require.


Selling is more than taking money in return for something tangible, it is about relationship creation, and joining the customer’s community.