‘Closing is everything’

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“A sales person that can close is priceless. A sales person that can’t is worthless,” Duane Marino said. “Selling and closing are two different skill sets.”

He explained that closing a deal is a matter of asking the right questions at the right time, never lying, and understanding the customer.

The founder of the North American Automotive Sales Success Academy (NAASSA) was speaking in early April to about 70 sales people who filled a meeting room at the Quality Suites Hotel near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Canadian AutoWorld attended the first of two sessions Marino put on with partner John Kostakos. The topic, of course, was closing the deal.

Over the course of a fast-paced, four-hour session, Marino gave the group more than 50 ways to do it in a variety of situations.

The reporter could tell the tempo of his presentation kept hold of attendees’ attention because no one needed prompting to get them back after breaks.

Marino has 25 years of experience in auto sales and sales training. He started his own training company in 1996.    

He told his audience he learned the techniques from “dozens” of salespeople and closers. He said the techniques are battle-tested at his family’s used-car lot and at the many dealerships where he has sold cars.    

Product knowledge, he said, is a good thing. But they are secondary to customer knowledge.

The new-car salesperson learns product knowledge from the OEM’s trainers. Still, he said with the advance of the Internet, customers will know – or think they know – as much about the product as do salespeople.

The availability of such information has shrunk the size of the walkaround, giving the salesperson even more time to study customer psychology.

While the computer is a helpful tool, he believes in using simple paper forms, “customer statements and pricing sheets,” which he supplies at his sessions.

Filling them out gets the customer involved and is crucial to the success of the deal, is his theory.

Most important of all, the salesperson must polish their credibility and “connect” with the customer and decipher the customer’s “dominant buying motive” – what brings them to the dealership. If you don’t, he insists, you won’t be able to close.

He told his audience the successful salesperson watches how their customers act and react, what they say, their body language, the successful salesperson can deal with all types of people no matter their culture. And the successful salesperson is also someone who sets goals for themselves and understands themselves.

“To be convincing, you have to be convinced. Believe in your product. Don’t knock the competition. Drive what you sell,” he said.

The salesperson should always learn from their missed sales then forget about them, he said.

Constantly replay your victories; learn from your losses and move on!” Marino said. “Some will. Some won't. So what. Next!  The best cure for a lost deal is your next deal.”

For more information, call 1-888-735-6275, email info@duanemarino.com or visit duanemarino.com.