I sold a car today.
I made an initial miscalculation, thinking this was a deal where the cars would sell themselves. I got the customer approved for financing, and grabbed keys to the three cars that met her needs best.
We walked to the lot and I showed her where they were, and bid her test drive them and come back and let me know which one she wanted (my dealership sends people on unaccompanied test-drives – thanks GPS!).
After thoroughly checking each one out on the road, she returned to inform me that none of them appealed to her, for this reason or that.
Inwardly sighing and accepting my mistake in assuming I would not have to work for this one, I grabbed the keys to a fourth car, and took her back to the lot.
On the way there, I told her a story about how this vehicle was the best of all worlds. Easy on the budget, decent features, low mileage, relatively new year. We got there, and I had her step back.
This time, I pulled the car out from its place, and opened all of the doors and the trunk. Then, I told her another story. One about herself.
“Look at this trunk space. All of that stuff you have to haul for work will go in here, so you’ll keep the cabin clean and comfortable.
“Do you see the Bluetooth? You’ll be safe on the road, since you’ll be able to pair your phone and answer without taking your hands off the wheel.
“Sit in here. Now, tell me that’s not comfortable enough to keep you out of the plane. You’re going to drive to your next vacation site, aren’t you?”
She came back from the test drive glowing.
She bought that car, saying, “Congratulations, you’re the only salesman who’s managed to sell me a car.” Apparently my competition at other dealerships never turned off their autopilot.
The point is, she bought a car with fewer features, same general mileage, and one that was objectively uglier than the others to boot. She had a relationship with that thing. She believed it was her partner on the road, as none other could be.
To whit, Jack Spirko defines sales as “the transfer of belief”. And compelling stories are the most efficient vehicles for that transfer.
She bought my story, and so she bought my car.