I am not sure how many articles I will write about the probing stage, as I am limited to the amount of words I can blog. I do not wish to belittle any of the steps to making a sale, but by far probing is the most important step one.
The first seven steps are:
- Sit on Bike
- Sit down with the customer
- Write up the sale
- Close the sale, and if need be, close again and again and again…
Step 2 – the probe – is a never-ending step. This is the relationship you develop with the customer. You will never ask the customer to go back outside, so you can greet them again. Chances are once they sit on the bike they will not sit on it again. Such is true with all of the steps. But the probe begins from the moment you and the customer see each other for the first time and doesn’t end until you never speak to them again.
My definition of the probe will not be found in the dictionary, but it should be. My definition of the probe is: The ability to make a complete stranger a friend in a short amount of time. If they don’t buy, we most certainly want to be their friend in the motorcycle business.
Probing is something you can always practice. Every time you go through the checkout stand, you can practice being friendly and start a short conversation while the cashier is ringing you up. Introduce yourself and get the cashier’s name and him or her two things.
- You think they are doing a terrific job – unless they’re not. I will never ask you to lie, but if you think they are, don’t keep it a secret.
- Let them know what you do for a living and if they or someone they know are interested in your product; give them a business card or two.
We run into people all the time. Take a second or two to say hello with a smile and start a short conversation. You will be amazed how many sales this will make you. Yes, it may only make you few sales a year from the people you meet, but it can help you to stay in shape being a good prober to make many sales from the customers who walk in who are obviously interested in your product.
You can always count on the customer saying “just looking” after you greet them. “Great,” would be a super answer, followed up by some choices. Do you know why you say something like, “Great, glad to hear it?” It’s because it is great. Where would you be if the customer was not looking?
“Great, are you looking for new, used, sport bike, touring anything in particular?”
You should never follow a “just looking” reply with one answer like, “Anything in particular?” This is an essay question that requires the customer to be defensive, and you are forcing him or her to answer. Right away you are putting the customer in an uncomfortable position.
By giving them choices, they only have to pick. You are now in control, and you are making it easy to begin a good relationship that can turn into many sales over time – not just theirs, but their families’ and friends’ too.
Steve Lemco is the youngest brother of the late Ed Lemco and has been doing sales training and hiring for motorcycle dealers since 1983. Steve has trained in every state in the U.S., as well as England, France, Australia and New Zealand. Steve incorporates motivational boards and games along with his training and hiring because he believes the best way to get the job done is to make it fun.