Fact Finding

Fact finding is a vital step in the automotive sales process. Without proper fact finding, landing customers on the perfect vehicle, overcoming objections and closing the deal all become considerably harder. It’s at this stage that you can find out the buyer’s wants and needs, likes and dislikes, motivators and much more. This information will prepare you to effectively and intelligently close car deals. In this blog, learn how to execute fact finding in car sales that will help push your numbers through the roof!

    When Should Fact Finding Take Place?

    If you want to close more car deals, then your fact finding should take place early in the deal. Recently, the most common time to fact find is right after the meet and greet. By fact finding at this stage in the beginning of the sales process, you’re able to set yourself up for success early. Through working car deals logically by gathering information in the greeting, you will find that deals go far smoother during the other steps on the sales process.

    Where Should Fact Finding Take Place

    If you knew how a customer bought their last car, it becomes easier to sell them their next one! That’s why, whenever possible, fact finding at the buyer’s current vehicle allows you to gather some of the best information possible. Walking around the customer’s car with them creates the ideal scenario for proper fact finding. Here, the customer will be more likely to share valuable information with you as opposed to sitting at a desk. Keep in mind, it’s not that the customer wants to withhold info that would help them get a better vehicle for their needs, but the saying “out of sight, out of mind” rings true in this situation.

    Additionally, the vehicle speaks for itself. By examining the vehicle, including the items in it, you will be able to uncover information that will help you sell and close better. You can point out specific features and equipment to the guest, gain insight into their past purchasing behavior and overall accomplish better fact finding.

    What Not to Say

    The information discovered at this stage benefits both the customer and the sales professional. However, to avoid turning the buyer off, you need to ask questions that feel like they’re for the benefit of the buyer, and not just yourself! For example, fact finding questions like “are you buying a vehicle today?” comes off as aggressive to customers and will cause them to get defensive and lock up, which only damages your deal. Another example of what not to say is “how much do you want to spend monthly?” This question sets you up for failure because it will likely be met by low, unrealistic answers, which the buyer may then stick with even though they didn’t mean it.

    What to Say During Fact Finding

    The key to asking effective fact finding questions is often in the way you gather information. For example, there’s no need to ask “are you buying a vehicle today?” Customers have spent a lot of time researching before they hit your showroom floor, and we know this. So, we also know that they’re committed buyers. Keep the deal pressure free and just assume that everyone is a serious customer and you will run into far less problems than if you used this line of questioning.

    However, if there’s some information that you want to hear from the buyer, then the trade is a fantastic area to gather it! For example, while the question “how much do you want to spend monthly?” will create issues, the same goal can be achieved by asking questions about their trade. If you knew how much the buyer was paying for their current vehicle, then you also know that they can at the very least make those payments on their next vehicle. This also applies to other information you can gather with questions like:

    • “So, why are you making the switch from (XYZ Trade) to (XYZ New Vehicle)?”

    • “I noticed that your vehicle has XYZ Feature/Equipment. Is this something that you want to have in your next vehicle?”

    If the Customer Wants to Trade Their Vehicle In

    If the customer wants to trade in their vehicle, then positivity is the best choice. Beating up the buyer’s trade will only make them more hesitant to work with you, and may even result in some information being withheld. Rather, just mention needed reconditioning in a positive way and put it in your back pocket for later. Customers know that their trade will need reconditioning, and bringing it up in a way that is no big deal keeps your deal healthy.

    What to Do with Gathered Info

    If you have correctly performed fact finding early in the deal, then you should have landed the buyer on the perfect vehicle. In turn, customers will naturally be far less likely to object or have issues with the deal. You will also know exactly what to sell the customer on when going for the close. Early fact finding at the customer’s current vehicle puts you on track to success at closing the deal today. Yet, if issues still remain, you’re now prepared to negotiate without touching the price. For example:

    • The customer objects to the vehicle price. Since you have done proper fact finding early on, you should know exactly what features and equipment are important to the customer. Use this to put the price into perspective and show the buyer why the vehicle is priced the way it is. A great way to do this is to offer to take a look at lesser vehicles without certain features/equipment. Most people will refuse because they want those features and equipment. Remember, customers are used to paying more for more features and equipment, whether for their phone, laptop or other item. So, this is a highly effective way to move past pricing objections in the close.


    • The customer objects to your dealership’s trade valuation. Since you positively mentioned needed reconditioning in the fact finding stage, you’re now prepared to handle this objection. Remind the buyer of the reconditioning their trade will need and assure them that they’re getting a great value. When you can logically explain why their trade is valued a certain way, most of these objections will fade away!

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