All car sales people will use silence in the car selling process. They use it because it is powerful and effective, so why not turn the tables and use it on them? A car salesman is just that, a salesman and in your dealings with him you will inevitably be asked to buy a car. In sales parlance this is referred to as “the close” and you will be “closed” by the salesman or sales manager as many times as it takes until you say “Yes”.
There are many verbal techniques used when “closing” a sale:
“So if I can get you the deal at …, will you buy the car now?”
“Would you prefer the payments over 3 years or 4?”
“Shall we do the deal at that price then?”
“If we can do the deal at …, when would you like to take delivery of the car?”
“Will you be paying the deposit by cash or cheque?”
And there are many more varying examples of the above.
It is normally obvious when you are being “closed” and more noticeable still is the silence that follows an attempted “close”. It is a fundamental teaching in “sales” that once the salesman has made the “close” he remains silent.
This silence is designed to place pressure on the customer. A “closing” question has been asked and then silence fills the void. The salesman will not make another sound and won’t care how long it takes. Typically, people perceive silence as an uncomfortable and awkward break in conversation so they instinctively insist on filling the silence. A good salesman has learned how to use the “power of the pause” and has calculated that he will be able to lead his prospects and customers into filling the gap of silence with valuable information or even a commitment.
The salesman will ask one of his closing questions;
“Shall we do the deal at that price then?”
And then sit back and fold his hands or pick up his pen as if to write down the customers response. All the while in his head he is repeating the mantra…
“I will not speak, I will not speak”
Another technique might be to utter the closing statement and then outstretch a hand. They know how hard it is for someone to decline the offer of a hand shake and they are applying even more pressure. This particular handshake is not just a friendly gesture as they have just asked you a closing question, and are now staring into your eyes without saying another word. It is a very powerful psychological technique.
So what is the best way to combat these types of closing techniques?
It is simple but easier said than done.
Just say “no”
Tell them you want the car (if that is indeed the case) but that you don’t want to pay the price they have offered it to you at. You then tell that you will, however buy the car at the price that is agreeable to you. You are then the one who goes all quiet. You have turned the tables on the salesman and are now using the “power of the pause” to your own advantage. Remember a “close” is only effective if it is followed by silence. You may also want to offer your outstretched hand at this point. Stare them in the eye and don’t withdraw your hand until they have either agreed or declined your offer as it would be a sign of weakness to do so.
They will either agree to your deal or say that they can’t do it for one reason or another and that the deal they are offering you is already excellent and so on. Then they may either close you again or say that, unless you can agree to what they are suggesting, they won’t be able to do a deal with you. You can safely ignore these tactics as they are designed purely to weaken your position and wear you down.
Whatever tactic they choose you can be sure of one thing they will go silent again and the ball will be back in your court. Again the next move is simple really, stick to your reasons why you can’t do the deal at the price they are offering and they you want to do it at your figure and then, you guessed, say nothing.
If the salesman won’t do a deal with you then ask to see the sales manager, if he’s available. Use the same tactic on the sales manager as you are more likely to get a better deal from him. He will not want to lose your deal, especially not in front of his salesman. However he is likely to be more experienced at dealing with tough customers like you so you will have to be persistent.
During these negotiations you could pick up your documents and put them away in your pocket and start shaking your head, making it look like you are going to walk away but at the same time saying that you would buy the car at the price agreeable to you and then “close” them again with the silent treatment.
In reality they will more likely do a deal with you than not for the following reasons;
They have spent quite a bit of time with you.
You are saying that you will sign up there and then.
You have got your part exchange documents on the desk to give them.
You have got your credit or debit card out in front of them.
Are they really going to let you walk away without buying a car?
No of course they won’t.
They will try everything they can to get your business and if that means coming down in price and accepting less profit but still selling another car for the dealership, then so be it.