Professional etiquette: 4 tips for new salespeople

Proper business etiquette is a key component in the toolbox of any successful sales person. The manner in which the salesperson is perceived by a potential customer is mission critical to the ultimate outcome of the interaction.

1. Make a great first impression

In business, your appearance matters. It’s a good idea to dress based upon local norms for conducting business. That may mean a business suit or a more relaxed yet professional attire.  It’s a good idea to greet the prospect promptly and politely in a business-like manner, look them in the eye often when making comments, speak clearly, enunciate properly and show a genuine desire to help the customer through words and deeds.

When you are inside at a desk it’s also a good idea to make your body language relaxed and open. Turn toward the person you’re speaking to, look directly at them, and avoid folding your arms or making other gestures that could be considered protective. Imagine that you’re talking to a good friend, and make the effort to get to know your potential customer. 

2. Listen carefully

Pay attention to customers’ names, the types of vehicles they’re looking for, the features they want, their budgets and write them down. Avoid distractions, ask questions when needed, and never assume who the decision maker is in a group of people. Don’t interrupt customers, and keep your phone turned off and stowed away.

3. Be personable yet professional

Be respectful of other people’s personal space. Avoid any language that could be considered rude or offensive, don’t use industry slang terms when talking to prospects and call your customers “sir” or “ma’am”.

Also, keep some magazines around so that people can look at them while they’re waiting for a test drive or a meeting with a salesperson or finance manager. Focus on topics like classic cars, travel, and sports. It’s also a good idea to offer water, coffee, and other refreshments.

4. Respect the time of customers

If you schedule meetings with customers in advance, make sure you arrive on time. It’s also a good idea to confirm appointments with customers a day or two in advance. That way, you may avoid a missed appointment. Spend as much time with a prospect as needed to allow them to accomplish what they came to the dealership for.

If you call someone, respect their time by calling from a quiet place with a good connection. Don’t try to talk on the phone to a customer while driving, eating at a busy restaurant, or interacting in person with another customer.  

Always get their email address or phone number so that you can send them information on new arriving inventory. Ask the prospect if text messages are acceptable and confirm that with a text message if they approve receiving them.

Understand the advantages of NIADA

The National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) has been helping independent auto dealers improve their sales for more than 75 years, since 1946. Tens of thousands of dealers capitalize on the advantages of membership. With NAIDA sales training, you can learn relevant, actionable techniques for outstanding results.

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