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Find Your Salesperson Superpower

• Best Practice for Overcoming Price Objections: Listen to Your Customers More Than You Talk

By Bob McCann

Many salespeople are conversationalists. That’s a great asset since you’re dealing with new people every day. But to make a sale, you must also be an excellent listener.

Listening is the best way to learn how to help a customer and overcome their price objections. People like to talk about themselves. Ask questions, then actively listen to the answers to learn about their wants and needs and build rapport.

What questions do you ask? Why are they buying the boat? What’s their budget? Do they need to finance? The list of questions is endless, and they are all equally as important. Let them tell you what they need. Some questions are better asked sooner in the conversation and others are best to ask when you’ve earned the right to do so.

This is why the MRAA developed a Guest Survey, to helps salespeople ask ALL the right questions and do so in an order that makes sense. Pay attention to details. Ask clarifying questions to understand any gray areas and create connection. The more you know, the better both of you will understand what your customers want and need.

The Guest Survey is fully explained in the course, “Improve Sales Productivity by Focusing on the Customer Interview.”

To be a good listener requires practice using MRAA’s Guest Survey, to the point that questions are automatic, and you can focus on your listening skills that are detailed in the MRAA course, “Learn to Love Role Playing.” 

When you reach the point that your customer is now talking more than you are, it’s time to take your customer-specific knowledge and demonstrate how the prospective boat will fulfill their specific needs. Additionally, it’s imperative that you learn their personal information along the way as your customer gets more comfortable with you. This will help you execute on the follow-up touchpoints, when you are conversing more about them personally rather than talking about the weather and if they are now ready to buy!

To develop this habit, we borrowed an effective acronym from Sam Dantzler (Wheelhouse College), “FORMAT,” and integrated it into the survey to remind your entire sales team to note the customer’s Family, Occupation, Recreation, Motivation, Animals and Teams.

Great listening, matched with outstanding knowledge of the product, makes it easier to overcome price objections.

It’s important to know both how to listen to customers and to know about the boats you’re selling and selling against. You need to be a boat expert. Consumers want someone who can discuss the boat’s features and how they will benefit them and meet their shared needs. Buyers today do their homework, will ask questions to test your knowledge and confirm their selection.

Along with knowing individual boat facts, every salesperson should know their current inventory. Be ready to offer a different boat if the buyer doesn’t like the model they came in to see. This includes new, Certified Pre-Owned, and pre-owned boats.

A good conversation goes a long way in building a solid relationship with a potential boat buyer. Don’t be a pushy salesperson. Along with being authentic and honest, be a good listener and meet their needs to create a better customer experience. Knowing when to talk and when to be quiet is a fundamental skill to help your sales team unlock its superpowers.

Need help making this a part of your process at your dealership? Contact me at