Survey Finds This is Among the Best Sales Techniques

BY Jessica Helinski
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Listening is so important to sales. And there is actually research that backs up its incredible value to sales reps. In particular, “active listening” has a significant impact on successful outcomes, making it one of the best sales techniques out there. This is especially true in the auto industry, when many shoppers may not even want to deal with the in-​person shopping process. “Gone are the days of walking lots and kicking tires,” writes MarketingDaily’s Tanya Gazdik. “Most shopping happens online. Enticing a customer to take the final step and show up in person at a dealership has become increasingly difficult.”

The Best Sales Technique: Listening

The Importance of Inbound Calls

The phone call, for auto sales reps, is now the moment of truth, It is the point where a sale can take off or fizzle away to nothing. Because shoppers are the ones who are first contacting the dealership much later in the buying process, it is important you do not miss this sales opportunity. 

Gazdik refers to a recent study of auto sales reps, conducted by Marchex. The study analyzed approximately 6,200 sales conversations from auto dealerships throughout the U.S. The results revealed key behaviors that successful auto sales reps use during their sales calls. Active listening stood out as a one of the best sales techniques. Top performers (defined as the top 25% of sales reps) relied on active-​listening techniques. An example of an active-​listening technique is when the sales rep repeats and clarifys what they heard from the prospective customer. These sales reps consistently requested information during conversations during which they listened to their prospects. And then, the sales reps used the confirmed information they learned to create a connection with the prospective customer. Specifically, these sales reps:

  • requested the names of the people calling. The sales reps did this 163% more often than bottom performers in their career field
  • provided their direct contact information to callers. This was done 40% more often by the top sales reps than the bottom sales performers
  • asked callers about their specific needs. This occurred among the top sales reps 57% more often than lower-​performing sales reps
  • asked questions that actively engaged callers about their preferences. These questions included topics such as: “Did you need third-​row seating?” and “Are you wanting leather seats?”

The most important thing, though, is that the sales reps truly listened to the callers’ responses. After all, listening is the best sales technique. Then, the sales reps thoughtfully used the responses they got from their prospective customers to “help guide sales conversations and provide the caller with more comprehensive information,” as Gazkid explains. “Dealers who take proactive steps to optimize inbound phone calls know the conversation is key.”