I recently purchased a new Sports Utility Vehicle. In this article, I share some of the specific sales techniques used by the dealership. Many of these techniques can be applied towards selling DJ entertainment services.
Cars and entertainment services are not exactly comparable, but there are similarities. Cars and entertainment services are entities that are exciting by nature and evoke strong emotions from consumers. The price of the good/service is also significant. It’s also worth mentioning that car dealerships and DJ companies have a reputation for aggressive sales practices. This reputation can result in consumers being guarded.
Dress to Impress. My salesman’s name was Paul. Looking to be in his early 30’s, Paul was well-groomed and dressed in a nice suit. The inside of the showroom was comfortable, offering soft natural light and an upscale feel.
Greet the Customer Warmly. Upon meeting my wife and I, Paul introduced himself warmly, offered a handshake and made good eye contact. Paul spent some time getting to know us, and I’m sure sizing us up. My initial impression of him was positive, but I remained guarded knowing that before long we could be in an adversarial relationship haggling over price.
Provide Drinks and Snacks. At numerous points during our time in the dealership, we were offered drinks and snacks. This sales technique is known as the “law of reciprocity,” meaning that subconsciously a person feels obligated to reciprocate a gift by returning the favor. In this case, by purchasing a new car from the dealership.
Learn About Customer Needs. Paul asked us a series of detailed questions about our automobile needs and budget. Based on our answers, he recommended a particular model that was slightly over our budget but had everything we wanted. He then pulled it around for a test drive.
Spend Time Highlighting Features and Options. One of the most positive aspects of the car-buying process was that prior to the test drive, Paul took the time to showcase the features and options of the vehicle, giving us a look under the hood, showing how to connect a phone to the car’s Bluetooth system and describing the car’s safety features. By this point, I was starting to get excited! As DJs, we can use photos, videos and positive inflection in our voices to generate similar excitement in our prospective clients.
Introduce Emotion into the Decision Process. The test drive was a great occasion to take a whiff of that “new car smell” and feel like the king of the road. By this time, I could picture myself taking home the vehicle that very day!
Pre-Qualify With a Twist. Back inside the dealership, we were asked about how we liked the car. Then, I was presented a document that said something to the effect that if price wasn’t a factor, would I be willing to take home the car today. This was an interesting approach that I’ve never seen in sales. I signed the document, but still was not convinced that we could make a deal on that day. The first deal presented had a monthly payment that was far too high.
Close the Deal. After about a half hour of haggling and creative financing, we worked out a mutually agreeable deal. It was clear that the dealership did not want us leaving, knowing full well that we might never return. Should DJs always try to close a consultation with a sale? According to consultant Alan Berg, the answer is ‘yes’ – even if buying signals are not there, it’s best to ask for the sale. At worst, the consumer will tell you that they’re not ready. Once they’ve left your consultation, they can easily fall into the hands of our industry’s many talented sales professionals who will also attempt to close them.
Throw in a Freebie to Help Cement the Deal. For a Black Friday special, the dealership was giving away 40 inch “Smart” flatscreen TVs with a retail value of about $600. This was just one more reason to ignore any remaining inhibitions and purchase the new car. As DJs, sometimes all it takes is a free upgrade to help seal the deal. One of my personal favorites is to throw in a small uplighting package that is quick and easy to set up, and costs me nothing.
Setting the Stage for a Positive Review. While waiting for the car to be prepared for delivery, Paul mentioned that I’d be receiving an email from the manufacturer requesting a review. Paul encouraged us to complete this survey and to grade him as highly as possible. With the prevalence of review sites like The Knot and WeddingWire, DJs too can inform clients of these sites and coach them to leave a positive review. Without such coaching, clients are less likely to submit a review, and may grade lower.
Using Positive Language During the Consultation. In my dealings with Paul and other car salesmen in the past, they use positive language to indicate that you the consumer will purchase a car from their dealership. Walter, a Nissan dealer who I purchased a car from earlier this year, was bold in stating early in the consultation that he believed that I would purchase a car from him that very night! Successful salespeople do not use language like “if you purchase from us.” They assume the sale and act accordingly. Positive language works as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sent a Small Gift. Within a few days of purchasing the car, I received a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card in the mail from Paul. This was prior to my receiving the survey from the manufacturer. The small gift had the effect of keeping Paul highly regarded in my mind prior to completing the survey.
By using a scientific sales method, salespeople can help to tilt the deck in their favor, selling more and selling at an average higher price point. In the case of my SUV purchase, emotion was a factor and resulted in me spending slightly more than intended, but still feeling great about it!
Finally, DJs selling high-value services are wise to “sell the appointment.” In-person consultations offer high closing rates. More importantly, they allow the opportunity to impart emotion upon the prospective clients and sell more expensive packages.