I’m Just Looking…Oh Really

couple looking at car for sale

The title of this sales training article could also be: “We are just shopping around” or “We are just kicking tires” Of all the objections you’ll ever hear this type is the one you’ll hear everyday. You must always remember the customer is at your place of business for a reason: They want what you have.

When I was a sales manager, I used to watch the lot and see how the sales people would approach a potential new customer. Some were great at it and some just came back into the showroom after the initial contact looking confused. I would ask them what happened and they would say the “potential new customer” said they were simply “just looking around and did not need any help.”

In most situations I would go out and introduce myself and ask some very quick qualifying questions. It usually didn’t take me long to start showing a few vehicles.

Though I don’t work on the sales floor anymore, I am in a different dealership almost every day and I’m still shocked when I hear that sales people are not handling and overcoming the most common objection in the car business.

Here are a few common bad retail auto sales introductions. I call these bad introductions because nearly every example opens you up for a negative response—either a “No” or “No thanks, I’m just shopping around.”

  • Hello, can I help you?
  • Hi, do you need a salesperson?
  • Good morning, is there anything I can help you with?
  • Hi, how can I be of service to you today?
  • Good evening, is there anyone or anything you’re looking for?
  • Beautiful day, isn’t it? Are you looking for a new car?

The best way to reduce the number of times you hear “I’m just looking” is to start off with a proper introduction every time. “Welcome to ASC Motors, my name is Darin George and your name is?” Immediately continue with your customer qualifying questions and selling process.

It’s pretty obvious that most customers are uncomfortable in a dealership. There is a level of uncertainty established even before a word has been uttered. It doesn’t help much either when two or three sales people are blocking the showroom door.

Here’s one scenario as an example: A married couple with two children drives in with an eight-year old sedan.

A salesperson walks over and asks: “Hi. Do you needed any help or could I get anyone for you?”

Generally the potential customer says: “No thanks. We are just looking around and kicking some tires.”

The salesperson says OK and gives them his business card, noting they should try and find him if they need any help when they are done looking around.

Five minutes later the potential customer walks by and says: “Thanks, we have to go now so we’ll see you later and have a nice day.”

Down the road they go and meet a professional salesperson who eventually sells them a new minivan. Does this sound familiar?

Most potential customers try and shrug off the offer of assistance, because it’s a defense mechanism. We all do it. Remember what you said the last time you walked into a shoe store or furniture store and were greeted by a salesperson?

If the customer tells you they are just kicking tires and doing some shopping, handle these objections with one of the following or design your own using these as a template. Your managers will also have some great ideas for you to try.

  • “I can certainly understand. At our dealership we have a very large selection of vehicles for people to choose from. If you have an idea of what you’re possibly looking for I can point you in the right direction. Were you thinking new or used? Did you want automatic or manual transmission? Do you want two doors or four?”
    (Continue with your customer qualifying questions.)

  • “No problem. But just to let you know we have some new vehicles coming in tonight and some great trade-ins coming in today. Are you looking for a new or used vehicle? Are you looking for a five or seven passenger? Do you want a navigation system?”
    (Continue with your customer qualifying questions.)
  • “Great! Did you know we are having a sale today on all of our…(Select your sales products and mention them, even if it is a used vehicle. There is always something on special, even if it’s only a special finance rate) What features are you looking for, new or used, automatic or manual transmission, two or four door, a minivan…etc.?”
    (Continue with your customer qualifying questions.)

Once you have overcome the objection, carry on with your qualifying questions and sales process. If for some reason any of these attempts still do not work, leave the customer to shop on their own. There is a chance they don’t want to talk to you, but maybe someone else. There is research that indicates roughly 10 per cent of all the people you meet will not like you. Don’t take it personally. Just go and get another salesperson to greet them and see if they can make the sale.

How you start with a new customer will determine where you will end up, so always start with a proper greeting and you will eliminate the number of times you hear a customer tell you they are just looking.

Darin George is the president of ASC Dealer Staffing and Training www.visitasc.com. He is also the author of two sales process training books. You can contact him at dgeorge@dealermark.com or call directly to 480-735-4688 for sales staff recruiting and training services.

Michael Bowen


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