Salespeople often get a bad rap—especially in the auto industry. “Most people come into our dealership with a pre-conceived notion that they are going to be taken advantage of,” says Guy Forgione of White Plains Chrysler Jeep Dodge. “But nothing could be further from the truth.”
Forgione knows he must overcome that misconception—quickly—or he will lose the sale. The key, he says, is to be honest and upfront about the pricing, value, and capabilities of your product from the very first interaction with a customer.
Clearly, he’s learned how to do just that during his 12-year tenure with the dealership. To earn his status as a Certified Sales Master Elite (yes, that’s his real title), Forgione must sell 160 new vehicles each year and maintain a 98-percent customer satisfaction ratio as measured by a company-wide survey conducted when clients pick up their new vehicles. He sells an average of 20 to 25 vehicles per month, and is consistently one of the top three salespeople at the dealership.
The Hartsdale resident has no patience for foot-in-the-door sales tactics that frustrate customers and contribute to the aforementioned bad rap for the industry.
There is no point in promising a customer something you can’t deliver (like, say, a fully loaded, top-of-the-line Jeep Grand Cherokee for $200 a month) just to get people into the dealership, Forgione insists. “If I tell a customer I can sell them a car for a certain amount, that has to be the truth. I can’t say that over the phone and then tell them something different when they come to our showroom,” he explains. “That approach never works.”
Instead, the self-professed “total people person” uses his natural conversational skills—honed by chatting up customers in the diner his parents owned when he was growing up in Cairo, New York—to develop a bond that goes beyond the transaction at hand. Finding a shared interest—whether skiing in the Catskills, rooting for the Yankees, or complaining about Westchester’s high property taxes—goes a long way to closing the deal.
“By first creating and finding a niche between myself and the client, it makes them feel more comfortable,” Forgione says. “Then, I’ve earned that trust and they know I’m being honest when we start discussing our vehicles.”
With a repeat/referral business rate of nearly 85 percent, his approach clearly makes sense. Says Forgione: “Doing the right thing with a customer the first time is the best way to get them to come back.”
â–º Bob Petrocelli, New York Life Insurance Company
â–º Robert Bongiardino, Pamal Broadcasting
â–º Linda Ruggiero, Avon
â–º Susan Strawgate Code, Houlihan Lawrence
â–º Jeff Griffin, ADP
â–º John Doolan, Heineken USA
â–º For more from 914INC’s Q2 2013 Issue, click here.