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By Randy Fisher
RV Product Manager, Six Robblees
When someone is ready to buy a recreation vehicle, the transaction generally follows a series of specific steps. However, the approach used by an RV salesperson may differ slightly from the buyer is expecting.
But, if you understand the sales process, you can know what to expect in advance. That should help reduce the anxiety and make the experience more enjoyable.
For the salesperson, the the steps to the sale usually follow this path:
- Meet and greet — Basic introductions and engaging in small talk while trying to build a relationship.
- Qualifying — Determine what the buyers want, set a budget and evaluate a trade-in vehicle, if necessary.
- Presentation — Begin showing units and look for interest in particular models.
- Demonstration — Have a more in depth feature and benefit conversation about a specific RV.
- Trial close — Determine whether the buyer likes the RV enough to work through the numbers. As the negotiation process begins, buyers may hear questions like, “If I could to this for you, would you buy it?”
- Handling objections — Work on uncovering what stands in the way of making a buying decision.
- Close — Make a deal and shake hands.
Although the steps to the sale take a similar path for consumers, to be successful, the sales process requires them to actively participate. Doing so ensures they have a fun, stress-free experience. Those steps include:
Meet and greet
Begin with complete honesty and transparency. Have the mindset that a salesperson is your partner through the buying process and really wants to help.
Remember, there are a few bad people working in every profession out there, including teachers, doctors, lawyers, etc. However, for the most part, the bad ones weed themselves out and the good ones stay and thrive.
This requires more transparency. Be honest about what you have and what you are looking to buy. You set the agenda regarding how you would like the process to go. Be polite and ask for agreement.
For example, tell the salesperson, “We would like to look at units and we will be honest about what we like and don’t like. We may want to work numbers. We may buy today or we may want to continue shopping and think about this.”
Budget is a tough question, but feel free to give a range. Be honest about what you can afford. If you can’t afford a motorhome, say so. The salesperson won’t waste time by showing you RVs you can’t afford.
Do your homework online and know what the price ranges are for the units you want to see. Ask about the dealership, service department, and salesperson’s experience. Ask how long have they been involved in the RV industry. After all, you are qualifying them, too, and looking to create a business partnership that benefits all parties.
Give the salesperson an idea of other units you really like and be as specific as possible, on size, weight, floorplan, colors, etc. Everyone’s time is valuable and just like when you go to the doctor, you need to give all the details as accurately as you can in order to get the best recommendations.
Ask your salesperson to share “real world” experience from previous customers about why they bought, what they liked and didn’t like. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to, and encourage the salesperson to openly share.
Ask about service customers, too. All RVs break no matter how much you spend on them. So, let the salesperson know you are realistic and would like to hear as many pros and cons on the units the dealership has first-hand experience working with.
Be upfront and let the salesperson know that you like the unit and would be interested in working numbers. Then you may buy, think about it, or whatever you choose.
Don’t be afraid to describe what you like and don’t like. He or she did not build it, so the salesperson wont be offended. If you like a lot of things, it does not mean the salesperson is adding to the price every time you list something positive.
This is where you wind up when you feel good about the RV, salesperson, dealership and deal. Everything is in writing and you go into finance to sign papers and set up delivery.
It is that simple. If consumers and salespeople began the sales process on the same page with complete transparency, things will work out better for everyone.
While a salesperson who does this for a living may approach a transaction more professionally and methodically, there is no reason for RV buyers to feel pressure or feel rushed and not enjoy the experience. You are buying a product to have fun and make memories. That starts with the buying experience.
Randy Fisher is the RV product manager for Six Robblees, a supplier based in Tukwila, Wash. He wants to share his sales experience with consumers to better equip them to work through the sales process at dealerships.