June '21

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rv-pro.com June 2021 • RV PRO • 75 meeting new friends around the campfire in some picturesque setting. That's what sells to first-timers! Overcoming Sometimes Unseen Objections There are several items that will keep first-time RVers from being interested. These are the objections that they typically have. This list exists even if the first-timer doesn't recognize that these objections are a concern. Early recognition of someone who is a first-timer and adjusting your presentation to cover the points they need to resolve to make a positive buying decision is critical to successful selling. Here is a short list of examples: 1. Payments – What will that unit cost me if that price tag is so high? 2. Insurance – I'll bet the insurance on something that expensive will kill my budget. 3. Parking – I must find a way to store or park it. I can't leave it at my house. 4. Maintenance – I'm uncertain about how much it will cost to manage the upkeep on it. 5. Operation – How will I learn to drive, tow, or to operate one of these? It seems too complicated. 6. Values, re-sales, etc. – What is my exit strategy? There are responses that salespeople should have at their finger- tips. In fact, if the prospect doesn't ask these questions out loud, understand that they are still in the back of the first-timer's mind and must be addressed before they can buy. Payments. In the case of payments, if you have someone who looks at the prices of RVs for the first time, usually the only way they can compare it is against the price of a car. Auto dealers have certainly stretched the terms out, but they are nowhere near those available in our industry. The prospect looks at your advertisement for a motorhome price at, say, $80,000. He does a little quick math. He says, "Let's see … I spent $20,000 for my car. The payment for that is $500. The payment for the motorhome must be almost $2,000 then …" You can see how easily someone might have that thought process. It's an easy one to overcome. Simply start closing on payment. That's where most buyers make the decision anyway. It will likely be a pleasant surprise to the customer that they can make the payment so affordable. By the way, don't forget to work the possibility of a tax break on a "second home" into the conversation. Don't take for granted that they have considered that. Insurance. Insurance is another one that will compare favor- ably to the expectation. You should have a couple of examples of insurance bills on typical units to pull out and show. That adds some credibility to the response you're giving. Again, don't wait for the client to ask. They likely don't know all the concerns they have in the back of their mind. Your job is to get them out in the open and to overcome them so the smell of the bacon can reach their noses. Parking/ Storage. Most cities have restrictions on where and how to park RVs. You must be prepared to bring up how to handle that. Maybe you have a storage lot. Maybe you've worked out a deal with someone who does. In the case of my city, RVs must be parked off the street and behind or beside your house. Know what the local restrictions are and actively approach the solution before the first-timer brings it up. Maintenance. Our sister industry, boating, has a familiar saying. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks in this sentence. "A boat is a ______ in the water you pour ______ into." The first blank is "hole" and second is "money." Unfortunately, the first-timers may have some of that sentiment hiding in the back of their minds even about RVs. The way to overcome it is to let them know about the routine costs of any chassis maintenance. Also let them know that, unless they are full-timers, the miles you travel are fewer than your car. So the maintenance is, in the same way, much less per year. Gas prices also work in that same scenario. Every salesperson worth their salt should have a canned response to concerns over the price of fuel. Operation. Operation is an easy one. You explain the delivery process. Take some pride in telling your prospect that they will always have someone at your store to ask a quick question. Let them know about the training they will receive at delivery. They should know that, in a couple of years (or so), you will look forward to helping them to move up to another unit if they want to upgrade. You can mention the merits of specific units you carry holding value and the fact that you take trades. That should help them to feel comfortable with the future. The next time you see this customer as a sales prospect, there will be a different set of questions. They will want to know about the construction of the sides, the size of the engine, what the sat- ellite system can do, or other such technical concerns. For the first-timers – sell them on campfire camaraderie and the joys of seeing our great country with the family. That's what they are really buying, after all. Addressing the Second Concern The second concern is more complex and nuanced. The main point of the second concern is this: If we don't exercise great care in setting and maintaining expectations during this influx of new RVers, we can squander a great opportunity to place our industry on solid ground for a generation. The new RVer buying today is, in many ways, more sophisticated than in the past. They are more "dialed in" by current technology, continued on page 78 "Now, more urgently than ever before, dealers must staff up shops to meet the demands of the market. … If we, as an industry, don't get that right, the sales department's best-intended promises can be waylaid by inadequate shop staffing."

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