First Impressions & Building Rapport

Dr. Nikki Sloan explains how to use questions to guide a conversation.

Jennifer Dudley, Greenville Powersports

How Communication Is Perceived:

55% Appearance And Body Language
38% Our Voice Tone And Inflection
7% The Words We Say

Jennifer, after reviewing your report card I noticed that you scored well on the First Impressions & Building Rapport course. Can you tell us a little about what you learned?

One thing that sticks out is that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The average walk-in customer will determine who you are in their mind within 30 seconds.

Wow, only 30 seconds, that is pretty powerful. So, what can you do to ensure you make a good first impression?

Your body language is very important! If you are slouching, not smiling, or even if you have on sloppy clothes, it may appear to your customer that you don’t care about their business. Be enthusiastic and excited, especially when you first greet a customer.

What else did you learn about how to greet a customer properly?

I learned that most customers say, "Just looking," especially if you ask, "Can I help you?" So, it is best to simply welcome the customer into the dealership, and begin asking multiple choice questions.

Chalk Talk With Dr. Nikki

#1  Be aware of your first impression when greeting customers. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. A full 55% of our communication is perceived through our body language, 38% through tone and inflection, but only 7% by the actual words we use.

#2  Multiple choice questions help to bypass objections and guide the conversation. These questions are great to use when greeting and interviewing customers.

#3  Open ended questions start with who, what, when, where, how and why and cannot be answered with a yes or no. They are also called ascending questions because they open up a conversation.

#4  Closed ended questions are questions that start with a verb (are, can, will, did, do, should) and can only be answered by a yes or no. They are also called descending questions because they close a conversation.


What are multiple choice questions?

These are questions that give the customer answers to choose from. They really help guide a conversation and make it easy to overcome simple objections. For example, if a customer says, "Just looking," you can reply with, "Great, are you looking for parts and accessories, or are you taking a look at some bikes today?"

Then what do you do?

I continue to use multiple choice questions. For instance, if they replied that they were looking at bikes I would say, "We have our cruisers over here, and our sportbikes are on this side of the showroom, which are you more interested in?" When you ask a customer a multiple choice question they tend to reply with one of the answers you stated after the question which helps guide the conversation.

Thank for your time Jennifer, and keep up the good work!

Thank you, I enjoyed taking the course.

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