Best PracticesDealership Operations & Processes

Assumptive Selling

Assumptive Selling

Certainly, you’ve heard the saying: When you assume, you make an ass out of ‘u’ and ‘me.’

Cute, even funny… but not at all applicable in sales. Not today. The typical car buyer today has already gathered all the information before they ever step foot on your lot or pick up a phone to call you. They know what they want, and they’re ready to buy today. In fact, they want to buy from you… they’re just afraid to tell you that.

Regardless of what you believed in the past about making assumptions, today it’s important to change your mindset. Today, top sellers use Assumptive Selling thinking to simply sell more vehicles for more money. Understanding this, it’s time to start using a new saying: When you fail to always assume the sale, you should always assume you’ll fail.

(This saying must be true, right? I mean, it takes the words from the first part of the sentence and rearranges them in the second part.)

Selling Cars is Not Hard

To be clear, selling cars is not hard… it just takes work. To the uninitiated, success in car sales appears to be like playing a slot machine. That is, sitting on your butt until you get lucky.

The truth is, success in automotive retail is more like using a vending machine. It’s predictable. It’s about completing the right steps in the right order to generate your reward. Grab your coins; insert them in the slot; press the right buttons; receive your snack. Rinse, lather, repeat. Assumptive Selling is not about luck, tricks or a magic potion; it’s about completing the right steps in the right order to generate your reward. It is not for the lazy.

Assumptive Selling is not new. Assumptive Selling has been around as long as there’ve been salespeople; and, despite what you’ve heard about people who assume, assumptive sellers have always been more successful than their peers. In automotive retail, Assumptive Selling is about knowing what does not exist. With Assumptive Selling, there are no tire-kickers; no unqualified buyers. Everyone is a buyer, and everyone is buying today.

Assumptive Selling is not about closing; it’s about leading. It’s about leading the customer down your path (whether on the lot or on the phone). It’s about taking charge, being direct and providing guidance; all while understanding that every Up wants to buy and they want to buy today.

Assumptive Selling is about believing everyone is a buyer… and knowing that the first time you believe someone is not, you’ll be right.

Connected Customers

Today’s connected customers want to buy; they’re just afraid of being sold. They show up on the lot with all the information and they don’t like being interrogated.  Salespeople who win today are the ones who recognize this, speak to their customers like human beings, and then pull them through a buying process in an efficient manner that makes sense to the customer.

When you do this with enthusiasm, energy and passion, people want to share in your enthusiasm, energy and passion. They will come along for the ride just because it seems like what the cool kids are doing. Assumptive Selling without this enthusiasm, energy and passion is not Assumptive Selling.

The basic principle for Assumptive Selling is simple: You should always assume the sale. Always. Assume. The. Sale.

Assumptive Selling
Assumptive Selling is available now on

A prospect who pulls onto your lot or walks into your showroom is a buyer who is here to buy; and… she’s here to buy today. The ringing phone represents a buyer who wants to buy today. The sales lead that’s just dropped into your CRM was sent by a buyer who wants to buy today. Everyone is a buyer… and, they all want to buy today.

Assumptive sellers always assume the sale. Assuming the sale gives you confidence that your buyer can sense. Assuming the sale gives you energy that your buyer feeds off. Assuming the sale keeps your thoughts positive in the face of objections. Assuming the sale makes you a more likeable person.

The Green Pea

Always assuming the sale helps you sell more cars for more money than you ever dreamed possible… except, of course, during your first full month as a salesperson. It seems every new seller – every Green Pea – starts off strong in the car business. I’ve seen Green Peas sell 25 vehicles in their first month – all while the average salesperson in their dealership sold 10.

How did they do this? Simple: They assumed everyone was a buyer who arrived to buy that day.

The negative forces in their dealership – the guys sitting around in the smoking circle – laughed at the Green Peas because these newbies were “too dumb to know any better.”

Green Peas, because they don’t “know any better,” assume the sale. They follow the steps you’ve taught them as closely as possible, and they sell a bunch of cars. They’ll do this for as many months as it takes to get pulled into the smoking circle and realize that every Up is an unqualified tire-kicker who couldn’t buy a car today if you were giving them away.

If only we could all think like Green Peas forever; if only we could remain “too dumb to know any better” for our entire career in the car business.

Buying a Car is Exciting!

Whether the customer is here to look at a brand-new car or a ten-year-old vehicle you took in trade isn’t relevant – buying anything new is exciting and your used car is going to be new to them. Of course, while buying a car is exciting, no one wants to be sold; that’s why Assumptive Selling works so well: you’re not selling, you’re guiding and assisting.

When the customer feels like they’re being sold, they can become defensive. They begin to create objections they never had; they become more aloof; and they disbelieve anything you tell them. All this because they’re starting feel sales pressure.

Assumptive Selling, meanwhile, is nearly devoid of pressure, because you’re simply agreeing with their desire to own your car today. In their mind, you understand them – and, you might be the first car salesman to ever understand them! This allows you to guide them down your road-to-the-sale – and they’ll gladly come along.

Buyers Love Assumptive Selling!

In possibly the best sales movie ever, Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Alec Baldwin’s character Blake famously teaches, “A guy don’t walk on the lot lest he wants to buy.”

Since we know buying a car is exciting for the customer – and that every Up is here to buy today – Assumptive Selling is not just a way for you to close more deals, it’s also a better customer experience. Assumptive Selling can make buying a fun event for your customers; especially when compared to the ordeal of the old-school, five-hour road-to-the-sale.

Assumptive Selling results in more closed deals that close quicker and with less friction than any of the alternatives. That’s why buyers love it. It’s time for you to start assuming the sale…

Good (Assumptive) Selling!

Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers is a book for vehicle Salespeople, Managers and even Dealer Principals! It’s available now on

Steve is the author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers;" as well ...