Car salespeople have a reputation for being pushy, under-handed, swindling, and a whole lot of less-printable words. In these unsteady economic times, no one has the disposable income to risk getting taken advantage of. So, understandably, a lot of people who want to and need to buy cars are very wary of car dealerships right now.

There’s not a lot you can do to get rid of the stigma that comes with selling cars at a dealership until potential customers step onto your lot. However, once they’re on your lot or in your showroom, there’s actually a lot that you and your sales staff can do to make your customers feel more at home and to get them to trust you and want to buy cars from you.

Take the Pressure Off

Don’t rush your customers into sales. Of course you want to close a sale with every customer that steps onto your lot, but that’s just not reality. However, not every customer that walks away without a new set of keys in their hands is a lost cause. Sometimes they have to check with their husband or wife. Sometimes they just have to sleep on it. Buying a car is a big investment. Be understanding.

Give Them Space

If a customer has taken a test drive and needs some time to think on it, make a note of when they were in and what they thought of the car. Don’t call them before they even get home. Don’t call them that night, and don’t call them the next day. This is a lot like dating. If you’re over-eager, you’re going to scare them away. However, a call a couple of days later saying something like this is a very good idea:

“Hi, Mr. Smith, it’s Billie from Billie’s Car Dealership. I walked by that Honda you drove the other day on my way into the shop this morning, and it made me think of you…”

Be Positive

If one of your customers is talking about going to test drive a car at another dealership, refrain from saying anything negative about them. Bad mouthing the competition only makes you look bad. Just stay positive about what you offer with your cars. If they want to check out what the competition has, make sure that you give them your card and encourage them to give you a call with any questions they might have after driving other cars.