As transparency has created an atmosphere where all is seemingly known to the potential customer, the professional sales person has an opportunity to gain trust and credibility through negative selling like never before.
Management should take it upon themselves to properly orchestrate this approach by having meetings with the sales force to identify all answerable shortcomings of the product and other aspects of the deal. By creating a dialogue regarding these shortcomings that should be revealed in the sales process, every sales person can now take part in a sales process that is both more interesting to deploy and more productive in the long run. The list of shortcomings (or negatives) is a moving target and should be reviewed regularly. It’s basically a twist on the old sales meetings where someone brings up ‘objections’ and everyone works through the answers to those objections. Here, we are creating our own list of ‘objections’ that we are going to present in advance to the customer. By presenting these shortcomings or negatives, our mission is to create credibility and gain trust.
This method of preemptive presentation of ‘objections’ and shortcomings, requires that the positive attributes of the product must be substantial enough to withstand the initial negative presentation. With the products of Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, Honda, Toyota, etc. this shouldn’t be a hard thing to do as each of these products possess a plethora of positive attributes.
The same can be said for the used car inventory as well as the service department and, hopefully, the F&I department. By learning to present a controlled preemptive strike of shortcomings, we are given the opportunity to gain confidence and credibility more consistently and with more authority than only selling features and benefits up front.
Also, this method of selling adds to the professional quality of the sales force. Just by going through this process, the sales people have to learn to think in a much more strategic manner. All in all, the negative sale (or preemptive objection selling) has huge benefits and because of the way the internet has increased transparency (or the appearance thereof), this is the perfect storm for making negative a positive.