Listening to Understand Your Customers vs. Listening to Sell

car dealer and customer chat inside dealership

We live in a new generation of car buying. With the Internet right at the fingertips of consumers, new and used car shoppers no longer need to fully rely on car salespeople for information on a vehicle they’re interested in purchasing. Because of this, car dealerships must now take a different approach to establishing credibility with potential car buyers.

Two words: Active listening.

According to John Doerr, president of global sales and training organization RAIN Group, car sales reps who do more talking and less listening to their customers miss the opportunity to build a solid rapport, uncover car buyers’ needs, and let them know their needs are understood.

Keeping this in mind, here are a few car sales tips for how your car dealership’s sales team can listen to understand your customers’ needs rather than just listening to sell.


  • Figure out whether you talk too much and why.
    According to Doerr, some reasons for this include:
    • Being eager to pitch your product or service
    • Liking to hear yourself speak
    • Rambling from nervousness
    • Having no plan or objective for the conversation
    • Getting easily distracted
    • Having an aversion to silence

    Whatever the case, it’s important to identify why you talk too much. Once you’ve gotten to the root of this, you can start setting your focus and intention on actively listening to your customers. After all, “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

  • Start putting your active listening skills to work
    Some ways you can do this include:
    • Approach conversations with an objective to understand the customer’s needs, rather than just sell something to them.
    • Balance asking questions with offering insight.
    • Ask open-ended questions.
    • Be genuine in your approach.
    • Practice with someone you trust.

Long story short, listening is key and an important car sales tip. The more you listen to your customers, the more trust you build and the more you can help them in their car buying journey.

Listening to your customers will also enable you to gain a better understanding of their financial situation. If you encounter potential car buyers who have bad credit or no credit history and need help getting approved for financing, Credit Acceptance can help.

We work with more than 12,000 franchise, independent and BHPH car dealers across the nation to help them sell more cars by giving them the ability to approve credit-challenged car buyers for auto financing. Last year, enrolled dealers were paid nearly $4 billion in total funding and more than $185 million in Portfolio Profit.

If your car dealership wants to increase its car sales by offering subprime financing for car buyers with bad credit or no credit, simply fill out the form on our website to learn the benefits of becoming an enrolled dealer in our auto finance program!

Become an Enrolled Dealer Today!