3 Levels of Selling the Invisible!
The products sold by the F&I manager, as with any insurance-based product, are invisible. Customers buy a tangible product because they can see, touch, smell or test it. However, they buy an intangible product because they see a need for it or are motivated by the fear of not having it. Many salespeople that have sold tangible products attempt to sell intangible products in a similar manner. At best, that is a recipe for mediocre success. There are three levels of selling intangible products and an intentional effort to use the most effective manner, level 3, will bring the most success.
Level 1: Tell them about the products.
This involves an entirely verbal effort to make the products come alive. The delusion with this effort is that you can see a certain level of success, and the more fluent you become in talking about the products the more successful you will be. The problem is, regardless of what level of success you see utilizing this method, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. There is opportunity for additional success if a shift in effort is made. The number one challenge I encounter with those new to selling intangibles is they simply want to talk their customers into buying. At times I even find some veterans that make this their focus of selling.
Level 2: Show them something visual concerning your products
Moving beyond just a verbal effort and utilizing visual reinforcement will provide an increase in consumer acceptance levels of your products. Common sense tells us that moving from using just one of the five senses to utilizing two will get more buy in from the customer. Telling a true story of how your product helped another customer makes what you’re selling more real. Adding a copy of the actual repair order that the customer can see makes the need for the product even more compelling. If you want to add the ultimate visual aid, have the actual part of the vehicle covered by the product available for them to see and touch! A damaged wheel or a failed airbag control module brings reality to the need of the coverage to your customer. This creates a vision of the concrete outcomes if something bad happens to them, both with and without your product.
Level 3: Involve the customer in the learning process.
To involve three of the five senses, get your customer physically involved. If math is needed to illustrate a benefit, hand them a calculator and ask them to help with the math. The numbers then become their numbers which adds a thousand times more credibility to the process. Selling anything, let alone an invisible product, is not a spectator sport. The customer should always participate in the process of uncovering how they will benefit from the product discussed. This allows them to self-discover their need for the product and how it will benefit them. This is the most effective tactic to build value in the products you offer, and when consistently utilized, produces the best results.
Routine self-evaluations should be conducted as to what level of selling is being used. Look around your office. What visual and tangible tools are available to help customers see and experience products? Brochures may be considered visuals; however they say, “I want to sell you something.” Put them away and only bring them out when needed to answer a question. A golf ball to illustrate what paint looks like under a microscope or a 3-inch nail to illustrate how something so small can cause expensive repairs are just a couple of ideas that are much more effective than brochures. If a customer can hold something in their hand to illustrate a need for a product, then you’ve reached level three selling and the most effective way to help customers buy the products they need…and a byproduct of level three selling; it is more fun for you and the customer!