Full-Throttle Presentation

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Techniques of an Expert Salesperson

At Dealer Expo last February, I saw Jon Geving, Parts Unlimited's brand manager for Nolan Helmets, talking to three attendees about the Nolan N102 modular helmet. I've been itching to tell you about him ever since. His presentation was hitting on all cylinders: exciting, comprehensive, well paced and interactive. Geving was holding the interest of his customers by engaging them in the product, communicating the features and benefits in simple terms, and emphasizing what he felt were his product's advantages over a competitor's.

Geving's presentation was the best I've seen, and I wish I had videotaped it. Fortunately, his duties have him making dealer visits throughout the year. He may be on his way to your shop, and if he is, my advice is to have any employee who sells vehicles, gear or accessories attend his presentation and take notes. Here is what Geving does to sell more of his products more often. Compare his techniques to yours.

  • Stays close to customers so they focus on the product and not surrounding activities. Putting this into a dealership perspective, it's always a good practice to come out from around the counter or desk to position yourself in the customer's circle of influence.
  • Pays attention to customers' comments and body language to gauge what to do next: deliver more benefits, ask for the sale, or clarify a point.
  • ngages customers in the product by involving them in the presentation. For example, Geving will demonstrate a feature while talking about it or direct customers to operate it themselves. Sometimes he'll have customers wear the helmet while he's talking. Four things happen when Geving does this: 1) the product sells itself, 2) customers start to feel a sense of ownership, 3) it disrupts customers' internal list of "no" responses, and 4) other customers are drawn to the presentation because it's more interesting when there's audience participation.
  • Presents one feature at a time, relating what the feature does and why it's good for the customer. Geving gives customers time to digest what was said and watches their expression for signs of acceptance. He usually presents two or three features and benefits and then makes a determination if they need more info to make a purchase decision. This is good advice; sales are missed every day because we overwhelm customers with so much detail they go into information overload and can't make a decision. A trait of being a top salesperson is being able to size up customers and communicate the type and amount of information that's just right.
  • sks for feedback by using simple questions like "How does that feel — fit — look — sound to you?" or "What do you think?" This keeps customers involved in the presentation, and their response tells Geving what to do next: deliver more features and benefits because the customer is on the fence, or ask for the sale because the customer indicated a readiness to buy.
  • And lastly, Geving critiques competitive products with caution. He knows his competition backward and forward, and he compares his product to others with a sense of respect. For example, Geving might say something like "What I like about the Nolan N102 is that it does ABC where Brand X does XYZ. We think ours is a better way to go."

In closing, Geving offers a thought-provoking opinion about the importance of performing the best presentation you can. He says, "It's not just about making more sales; it's about delivering better service or your customers will go to the Internet." Great advice, and I thank Geving for an excellent example of how to do it right.

Dave Koshollek teaches sales and service classes for dealership personnel. His career includes stints as a service manager, Dynojet VP and director of technical training at MMI. E-mail him at DAKOenterprises@cs.com.