Last night, I was watching TLC’s Faking It. Here is the show’s premise from the website:
Ever wonder what it would be like to have another profession? Well, you’re certainly not alone. Our Faking It participants, for one reason or another, have decided to turn their worlds upside down. With much guidance from professional mentors, our fakers attempt to prove that they’re the real deal. Can they fool the real pros? Or will they be called out as imposters?
In this episode Clark, an associate Episcopal minister from Maine, is transported to Las Vegas and in four weeks, Clark is transformed from preacher man to car salesman. The senior minister at Clark’s church wanted him to feel more comfortable talking to people and thought this would be a good way of doing it. His mentors are Chopper (owner of Towbin Dodge, the #1 used car dealership in Nevada) and Chilly Willy, the sales manager.
I thought it was a good lesson in selling. So let me present Chopper’s Rules for Selling:
- Excitement is infectious – Chopper is always creating an environment were people are having a good time. On the weekend, there are cookouts and clowns. Every person that buys a car gets to strike a gong and is cheered by the entire staff. Happy people are more willing to buy.
- Know your stuff – You have to know what you are selling. Chopper was giving Clark binders of stuff to read about cars. What how much horsepower does this have? How big are the wheels on this? I think it is what Scoble was talking about this weekend. Being an authority helps you sell.
- Provide incentives – Saturday is the big day the dealership. 60% of sales happen on Saturday. Chopper offers a diamond watch to the top salesman of the day. He has cash sitting on the table and tells everyone you will go home with cash in their pocket if they sell cars. He is providing rewards that people can associate directly with their actions. Chopper even goes to church with Clark after the minister wins a challenge of landing three test drives in a single day. That also shows the importance of knowing how to motivate different people.
- Track progress – On a typical Saturday, 150 prospects will sit down to talk about buying a car. Each prospect is tracked by name, what they are buying and how they found out about the dealership. Each salesman (and they are all men) is tracked on his ability to close dealings. Their continued employment depends on it. The close rate is about 30%.
- Final words – The night before the final challenge, Chopper invites Clark over to the house for dinner. Clark is very anxious about the next day and Chopper says “I just want you to remember these three things – Relax, listen, and be yourself.”
There is a 25 minute video on Chopper’s website that is taken from A&E “It’s a Living”. Chopper and the dealership were featured on an episode focused on selling.
P.S. Clark was able to fake out two of the three judges and the third couldn’t believe he had only be selling cars for four weeks. I think he had good teachers.