Most consumers at some point have experienced the high-pressure sale, the push to “buy now before it’s too late.” While many salespeople believe this approach works, stories abound about unhappy customers who simply walked away.

Does it really make a difference whether customers buy now or come back when they are ready? Pushing customers to buy now, you may push them away.

The question becomes whether a dealership is seeking to do business or to do business now? What is the goal? The answer should be, “To build clientele that will return and shop repeatedly, not simply to close a quick sale.”

Many sales professionals, who really know better, repel customers or end up persuading customers to purchase something that doesn’t meet their needs, that they can’t afford, that they really don’t want or that leaves them dissatisfied.

While this seems to hint high-pressure selling works, in reality customers feel they were coerced. They end up avoiding the business in the future. They tell others of their bad experience.

For most consumers, no matter how hard the push is to buy now, they won’t if it is not the right product. If customers are planning to buy, they will, when they are ready. They’ll make a purchase when they’ve been given enough time to consider options and given enough information to determine the best choice.

Respect their desire to make a decision on their timeline. In the sales world, there is only one true definition of  “now.” It’s when the customer is ready to buy. Salespeople who understand this steer away from the hard-sell approach and embrace a low-pressure consultative process that results in a more positive experience for the customer and longer-term gains for the dealership.

Salespeople who adopt this approach don’t sell customers products or services. They help them buy the right ones. They work with customers to learn about their needs and to ensure they have enough information to make intelligent decisions. Doing this requires a game plan that should be followed each and every time with each and every customer.

Listen to customers’ needs, wants and desires.

Help them select the product or service that meets their criteria.

Give them a reason to buy. Help them understand why they need it or would want to have it.

Only after that, talk about price.

Richard F. Libin authored the books, “Who Stopped the Sale?” and just-released  “Who Knew?” and is president of APB-Automotive Profit Builders, a firm that works with sales and service departments on customer satisfaction and maximizing gross profits. He can be reached at rlibin@apb.cc or 508-626-9200 or www.apb.cc