What Does it Mean When a Customer Says “Just Looking”?

So what does it mean when a customer says “just looking?”  Well, it’s just a conditioned response.  What it means is “Please let me catch my breath and allow me to get comfortable.”  Mind-set change – Go against the previous things you have heard on this subject and hope you get a “just looking’ response.

I have heard techniques that teach a consultant how to avoid this “objection.”  They don’t work.  People will find a way to respond with “Just lookin’” no matter how you start the conversation.  Have you ever asked someone if it’s wonderful weather you’re having and had them respond with “just looking?”  How about “How are you doing today?” or “Are you looking for new or used?”  You got it.  “Just lookin’.” And what is more, it is not a true objection.  Understand this…You have more opportunity to sell a vehicle today to someone who says “just looking” than you do to someone who pops out of their trade, in, points to a new vehicle and says “I want to buy that car.”  Do you believe this to be true?  Does it make sense?  Well, why?

Let me ask you…What do you have to discuss with this customer other than price and/or trade-in value?  You’re right.  Nothing.  You have no rapport.  Have you been able to build comfort, value, or understanding?   Of course not.   If someone says “just looking” your already bright face should light up even more.  You actually have the opportunity to sell a vehicle, and yourself, and the dealership.  How about that?  So a customer tells you they are “just looking.”  What do you say?  Well you don’t say what you’ve maybe said in the past or perhaps what your competition might say.  Things like:  What are you looking for?  Did you have anything in particular in mind?  None of these are really effective.  I think you can understand why.  It’s because you have just intruded with another question.

Here’s is what we should do.  Cheerfully begin assisting them right away.  Give them a lay of the land, so to speak.  This must be valuable, since they are, of course, just looking.  Begin with a positive statement:  “We’re just looking.”  “Great!  Wonderful! Fantastic!”  The key here is to be sincere.  Use one of your Welcome word tracks, “Well, thank you for choosing to spend some time with us today.”  Then go into this.  “As you look around, you will find all of our pre-owned (premium certified and certified included) on the front perimeter (show them with gestures).  Over there you will see our fine selection of compact cars, both 3-doors and 5-doors.  And beside them will be our newly redesigned compact sport utility.   Our flagship vehicle, the ______, probably the best value in a mid-sized sedan in two decades, is there.  And the revolutionary crossover, the _______, is in that area.  If you are here to see the state-of-the-art _____ . . .”  You get the picture.  The actual descriptiveness is at your discretion, but try to jazz it up a little.  If you are an independent used vehicle facility, focus on the various makes and models you have in inventory.

Now you will want to use a staple in sales, a bridge and an either/or.  “Now that you are a bit familiar with our display (the bridge), are you looking more for new or pre-owned (the either/or)?”  If you do this each and every time, you will find that the interview process begins to flow naturally for you more often than not.  Are there people who are mad at the world and who will flat tell you to leave them alone?  Yep.  You bet.  This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, give in and say the following:  “Please make yourselves at home.   We’re here for you whenever you’re ready.  I just didn’t want you to think you were being ignored.”

If still nothing comes of this, let them be and inform your manager.  The difference between the untrained and a true professional is that the professional will try and try again before they give up, and only at the point where they are sensing that anything more will create discomfort in the customer.  Some will really push the limit.  I recall one of my colleagues stating that if we don’t lose one now and again, we’re not trying hard enough.  They recognize the rejection as opportunity.  It’s a professional mind-set as opposed to an untrained mind-set.  But as for the prior philosophy, I believe that you don’t ever really have to lose one if your skills are strong and your positive attitude shines through.  Utopia?  Ah, maybe.  But what the heck… Believe it and live it.

Beyond the Walkaround

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