It’s no secret that it can be difficult to build trust with skeptical customers who don’t like salespeople, especially car salespeople.

Many people have a negative mental image of a car salesperson: an exaggerated, flashy person who is perceived to be dishonest, devious, and untrustworthy. It’s a person that shoppers believe doesn’t have their best interest in mind and will do anything to make a sale.  

With a stereotype like that, it’s no wonder that buyers are skeptical and unsure when they get ready to purchase a car.

The negative perception of a car salesperson even carries over into other areas of the auto industry. People often don’t trust repair shops or service stores because they have a hard time letting go of their mental image of a dishonest car salesperson.

So if you own a business in the auto industry, you must learn to overcome this hurdle. You need to position your auto shop, store, and sales team to form an authentic connection and build trust with customers. You need to know how to serve skeptical customers by showing that you are a legitimate and trustworthy shop that cares about your customers’ experience. Here are a few ways you can do that.

Build Trust By Being Authentic

If people encounter a business or brand that feels inauthentic, they become skeptical customers. In the auto industry, they are already approaching the relationship with initial skepticism, so it’s even more important for your business to show its authenticity.

Be true to your branding and mission. Set clear brand guidelines and then stick to them. Establishing a consistent brand builds an authentic identity for your business. It projects an image and character that customers can get to know and trust.

Build a genuine connection with customers. Treat each customer in your store as though they are a VIP member of an exclusive club. Provide personal care and attention. Get to know your customers, memorize their names, and establish relationships that prove you have their best interest in mind.

Be helpful, not salesy. Customers aren’t looking for products and services because they want to be buyers; they are looking at products and services because they have a problem to solve. So instead of trying to push a sale on them, help them solve their problem.

Acknowledge customer doubts and concerns. Plan for what obstacles a customer will have during the purchase process. Express those concerns and address solutions before customers bring them up to you. This will help them see that you understand their perspective and aren’t trying to hide anything.  

Build Trust By Being Forthright

Holding back information or details is a quick way to lose the trust of skeptical customers. So be forthright with information and upfront about details.

Share educational information. Customers are uncomfortable purchasing products and services they don’t fully understand. So provide buyer’s information through the use of brochures, digital signage, and website content. Offering useful, educational resources will decrease customer stress and make shoppers more confident in their purchasing decisions.

Share the facts. Along with the educational information that describes products, processes, and services, provide customers with evidence. Support claims and information with case studies, before and afters, and recorded facts that soothe customer apprehension.

Don’t use buzzwords and jargon. As you share information with your customers, use their language to explain it. Don’t mix in industry terms or jargon that general audiences won’t understand. Using language that your customers don’t understand could make them think you are trying to hide something or mislead them by providing confusing information.

Explain the downside. Being overly positive about a product or service may also lead to skeptical customers. Almost all purchases have an upside and a downside, so be upfront about both the positives and the negatives. This shows customers that you want them to have all of the information so they can make an educated purchase.

Build Trust By Including Customers

Sales is a two-way exchange. Don’t make your customers feel like they aren’t part of the equation. Include them in the process to build trust.

Encourage questions. Create a sales environment that welcomes dialog. Repeatedly stop to ask customers if they have questions, and don’t make them feel ignorant when they do ask questions. Don’t rush them through the process and give them time to ask questions to get all of the answers they need.

Focus on personalization. As you work with customers to make a sale, personalize the process. Don’t include a one-size-fits-all model that assumes all customers are alike. Listen to the unique needs of your customer and see what custom package or product you can make to fit their specific wants and requirements.

Offer a guarantee. One of the best ways to appease a skeptical customer and build trust is offering a type of guarantee. Customers hold back on purchases because they aren’t sure the product or service is what they need. Alleviate that stress and concern by offering money-back guarantees, trials periods, or flexible return policies.

It’s no secret that customers who walk into an auto shop or car lot have a chip on their shoulder. Misconceptions and preconceived notions have given them the idea that an auto industry salesperson is going to take advantage of them.

Don’t ignore this hurdle. Instead, plan ways to build trust over it.

Set up sales systems that show your authenticity, allow you to be forthright with valuable information, and include the customer through the whole process. This will lead to happier, less stressed customers and more sales for your business.  

Want more tips for building trust with customers and making more sales in your shop or store? See how this one tool can uplift your sales and increase your revenue.