What are the steps in selling a car or motorcycle? Whatever it takes! The principal reason that the steps of the sale must be followed is so there is control over the customer and whether a car or motorcycle is sold!A look at the standard steps might well be needed. They are:

Meeting and Greeting:

An excellent greeting would be: “Welcome to My Own Motors. My name is Marve, and you are?” Do not ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no, so “May I help you?” or “May I get someone for you?” are not suitable. They are only useful for the potential customer to object with “I’m just looking.”

Ask some either/or questions to determine the buyer’s needs.

Ask if they are shopping for themselves or someone else. A car or motorcycle, truck, or an SUV? 2 Doors or 4 Doors? Light colours or dark? Basic or premium models…? Do check if they have spoken to someone else on your floor before, this saves embarrassment with colleagues and builds up trust.

Determine buying motive or S.P.A.C.E.D.

People buy car or motorcycles for one of 6 reasons every time, namely, Safety/Security, Performance, Appearance, Comfort/Convenience, Economy and Dependability. A good question: “What made you choose this car or motorcycle?” Knowing what motivates your customer to buy a particular car or motorcycle is essential in selling.

Test Drive – drive with them.

Let the customer drive and use this opportunity to build rapport with them. Ask them “This sure is comfortable, isn’t it?” Always add a short “Isn’t it?” at the end …

Trial Close at End of Test Drive.

Once you finish the test drive, check if they will buy it. Affirm that it is the ideal vehicle for them and ask them to park it in the “Sold Line” so no one else will grab it …Then bring them inside – to your desk, to do the trial close not outside.

Attempt another Trial Close. Move to the paperwork and start writing their information. Ask them, “In whose name do you want the car or motorcycle registered? In your name or in both names?” No objection means 90% sold. If they ask, “What are you doing?” answer the question! “Filling out the paperwork so you can get the car or motorcycle immediately”. No objection gives a higher chance of the sale going through.

Close the Figures.

Do not say the figure out loud. Sometimes putting the figures on the buyer’s order and telling them to authorise it by pointing to where they need to sign, works. Sometimes taking them directly into the F & I office and having your Finance Manager closing them on payments works better.

Get Credit Application, Copies of License and Insurance, among others.

Let the customer fill out these forms, and just guide them if they missed a spot. Check with your lawyer why you should not be the one filling the form.

Get the Car or Motorcycle Cleaned and Fuelled!

Put extra effort into this step…

Following up.

Make sure that you follow up with the customer. They will be buying more car or motorcycles in the future and they will definitely have friends and family members who will also buy. Other than that, whenever you are with a customer, make it a point to study them: focus on learning something personal and professional about them. Focus should not only be on the immediate business opportunity. Additional, long-term information gained will help in retaining the customer, and the long-time retained customers will provide more referrals. Look for information that shows common interest to you both.


A perception is worth a thousand words: have you thought about how a potential or new customer sees you? Do they see you as the expert? A professional who can provide them with the confidence they need? In today’s business climate, with so many competitors with vehicles similar to what we have, the difference lies in the confidence we project. Do think about confidence in how the customer will perceive you.

Connecting a current sale to something from the past gives the customer comfort. The customer will be happy that you remember everything that might have already occurred and have a sense of being valued. Aside from that, salespeople who have retained a customer for a period, their customers will appreciate it if they are recognised and that their relationship with you has value. Do recognise their anniversary, as it makes the customer realise how much you think of them and is an excellent way for you to take the relationship to an even higher level.

Becoming acquainted with your customers is another excellent way of moving forward. It does not matter whether you are selling to them. Taking the time to discover as much as possible about what motivates your customers might well reap unexpected dividends.

Benchmarking the Sales Goal

It might well help with your improvement if at the end of each day and each week, your achievements are compared with your overall sales goal. If you achieved the volume needed to hit the goal, congratulate yourself ! If not, identify at least one thing that went right and use it to achieve your goal next time. Finding something positive will help you set up your work plan for the next day or week!

What if No sale occurs?

Do not plan to present all your information on a sales call, because you will have something left to show the customer if the end of your presentation is reached without a sale. The key to a successful sales strategy is to know your information well and to be prepared that you do not need to present everything to gain the sale. Remember, in this matter, never give 100%: The customer should never hear your entire sales presentation!

Price Discussion

Frequently, salespeople offer their customer a special deal if they buy now. With this, only profit is given away and might well cause the customer to assume that you were hiding something. Special deals need to be advertised upfront. When faced with resistance to price, offering the customer an example of something on which they spend considerably more money might help the customer put into context the amount they will be spending with you.

Sales Advocates & Referrals

The best way to make a sale is to have someone else make it for you. You do this by creating sales advocates. These are your customers who are so impressed with your offer and probably the way you sell that they tell others about you without being asked. Obtaining sales like this also means that, your sales processes or service or both measures well with what people expect. Not having such referral sales from advocates means that you are not up to the mark.

It is important to understand why people do business with you. Ask your customers why they chose you. Also try to ask those who chose your competitors why they decided not to do business with you. Discovering anything that needs change in your sales process is a free way of obtaining good and useful feedback.

Other Closing Techniques

Other than the standard closing and follow-up activities there are more specialised closing techniques that also work, such as:

The Gas Savings Close:

Useful if they are trading a gas-guzzler for a more fuel efficient vehicle and when comparisons are made. Work on the mathematics in front of your customer, write the numbers by hand, and get them involved. It makes this close much more powerful.

Objection handling as a Sales Technique:

“I want to think about it” is perhaps the most dreaded objection that a salesperson can ever hear. However, using good techniques, this excuse of an objection can be an excellent closing opportunity. Acknowledging the objection and verifying whether it is a real or reflex objection is an excellent way to start. Identify the reasons for the objection by asking them if it is the vehicle and its options, the experience at the dealership, or is it the price of the vehicle. Usually it is the price, and that needs fiddling by offering these options:

  • Longer term of finance
  • Switching to a lease
  • Asking for some money down

Mechanical Savings Close

is usually a new warranty as opposed to paying to fix their old car or motorcycle. Reducing the difference in payment to a small and manageable number works.


Talking to everyone you meet, telling them that you are selling cars or motorcycles works over time. Anything to advertise yourself ! If your friends do not know you are selling cars or motorcycles how will they buy from you?

Is this all?

Working the sales process, mastering closing techniques, and following up are the foundations of selling. The effect of prospecting and perceptions might well entail more. Objection handling is really about building rapport and relationships. A customer with whom you have a relationship will work for you! Selling cars or motorcycles is complex as needs and financial strengths do not always match. Knowing every product, with every option, every add on, every technique might well help you sell better.

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Robert Katern
Robert is one of the company’s most senior training consultants, with 15 years of experience in the delivery of local and international training, particularly in Vehicle Sales and New Product Release training. Robert has the ability to guide your team through the process of turning a training and development concept into an effective reality. His high energy and participative approach ensure participants and clients get practical solutions and customer sensitive selling strategies for a modern market.