Do Your Salespeople Need a Bicycle Helmet?

I can’t take it anymore. We’ve gone too far with everything. What to eat, what is politically correct, how to save money, and more. With much despair, I have witnessed attempts from some sales trainers that suggest a new way to sell in today’s market. I can only compare it to “the new sales process by wearing a bicycle helmet.”

I recently heard about a new sales process suggesting the new way to sell cars. I read some of the material and thought, “What a bunch of mind games.” It read: “Do not sell like it’s the 1990s; if you do, you’ll be out of business.” It suggested the sales process is completely different now. My opinion is that the sales process has never changed, but the car buyer’s access to information definitely has.

Do you really think the car sales process has changed that much in the last five, 10, or 30 years? Or is it the car buyer’s process that changed? Everyone knows the only thing that changed in the sales process is the Internet. The Internet has made it easier to sell now than in the ’90s. Research indicates that because of online research, which gives so much information on vehicle inventory, options, promotions, and pricing, customers contact fewer dealers today and make faster purchases.

Online research doesn’t mean people don’t want the special attention and extra time spent with them in person. It’s the opposite; they want more attention and a slower process. You don’t have to use the Internet as a crutch—use it as a closing tool.

Online research has made customer leads and dealership floor traffic different than 15 years ago, but when you actually get a new customer, the sales process is exactly the same. Customers now do online searches right in front of the salespeople during a negotiation, which is comparable to the old clipboard and newspaper-toting customer from the ’90s. However you look at it, it still comes down to: Close them now, today.

If you own or manage a dealership, would you rather have strong sales professionals, even those on the high-pressured side, or weak, unprofessional ones wearing the proverbial bike helmets? It doesn’t matter what store you own or manage, half your sales team are not closing customers now. Some sales trainers are capitalizing on this fact to impart a new way to sell “fluffy,” nonfundamental stuff. Whatever it is, it’s a bunch of nonsense.

If we had a competition of who is a stronger salesperson, who would win: the salesperson from the ’90s, or the one from 2015? We need to remember the basics of selling retail. One of the top things is: close the customer now, today. There are too many customers leaving the dealership, doing the old “I’ll be back” routine. If you can ingrain it in your salespeoples’ minds that the customer is never coming back, you will sell more vehicles immediately.

The customer that is sitting right in front of you is going to shop you for $5/month or $100 off the price if you don’t close them now, today. You have to close them on the spot, now…not tomorrow. This part of the sales process has not changed and never will. The top performers in your dealerships know this and do it everyday. The bottom salespeople don’t.

Alexander the Great did not become great by holding back and following the norm. To be a great closer, you can’t be weak. You have to strive to not be the norm.

If you feel you’re not closing the sale now and have lost that negotiating edge you definitely need, then please revisit the tried, tested, and true techniques of a strong sales process.

It’s like riding a bike 20 years ago; a bicycle helmet was not required to protect you. Now it has become the law. Does this mean you have to put on a bike helmet and follow the car buyer’s process, or get them back on ours? I think it’s time we take the damn helmet off and jump the curb. You’ll be OK.

Darin George is a sales trainer and recruiter for He has an online course for auto salespeople and is the author of two books: Sales Training – Automotive Edition and Sales Process – Can You Sell Me A Pen? If you would like to contact Darin, email him at

Darin George


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