Questions To Ask That Build Trust and Rapport

Think of the dealership sales qualifying process like a doctor’s examination. Then you’ll understand the need to ask critical questions.If your doctor does not ask you important personal-health questions, it will be hard for him or her to diagnose you.

The more questions you ask your dealership customers, the more useful information you will get. If you don’t know what’s right, wrong or needed, how can you help them buy a new vehicle?

It has always amazed me why some sales people are not sure what the customer wants. You need to know all you can.

Before we dig into effective qualifying questions to ask, let’s determine where and when to ask them. Most of the time, it is in your office. Often, you can and should ask relevant questions that will help you personalize your vehicle presentation.

Start your qualifying examination soon after a proper greeting. The initial questions set the tone for the entire buying experience. The qualifying questions should follow an order to create a consistent conversation that identifies and classifies the needs and wants of each customer.

The best salespeople listen more than they talk, so start listening. You should always think as if you are the sales manager. Think about what your manager wants to know about your customer.

The following are some of the best customer qualifying questions. Remember, always start with a professional greeting.

  • “Welcome to ABC Dealership, My name is Darin, and you are?”
  • “Are you here for an appointment or is this your first time here?” This determines if the customer has been dealing with another sales representative and if they’ve been to the dealership.
  • “What vehicle would you like information on?” This eliminates any confusion and gets you directly to the unit they are interested in.
  • “Follow me inside, I’ll ask you a few questions, and I’ll get you all the information we have on the (vehicle type)?”

Building value in your dealership helps build credibility. If you are having a special on a particular vehicle, mention it because every day is a special sale day.

What question to start with is very important. Below are a few really good questions to start with:

  • Do you mind if I take some notes? (Gets a yes immediately and allows transparency)
  • Are you looking for something for business or personal use?
  • Are you looking for a car, truck, or SUV?
  • New oo Pre-Owned?
  • Light, medium, or dark color vehicle?
  • How big is your family?

Obviously, this narrows down what type of vehicle will provide the most benefit to the customer. This gets you closer to helping the customer make a buying decision.

  • “What are you looking for in new vehicle?”
  • “Are you looking to replace or add an additional vehicle to the family?”

This determines if there is a trade involved.

“Are you interested in selling your vehicle, we may be interested in buying it?” Explain the tax saving for trading in their vehicle, if there is one.

The reason you are saying “selling” instead of “trading” is that selling sounds more financially beneficial to the customer. This information will determine how to handle the trade discussion.

  • “How many miles do you drive per month or year?” This helps determine which needs are required depending on how much the car is driven. It also influences leasing mileage restrictions.
  • “Will anyone else be driving the vehicle?” This is important because if you are dealing with a husband and wife, and she’s the primary driver, you need to focus more of your attention on her.

Focus at least 60% of your time on the primary driver if there are more than one person involved. This question will also determine if anyone else may be involved in the buying decision (spouse, children, friend, co-worker). If the primary driver has an issue with a vehicle, it will not be purchased regardless of what anyone else may think.

  • “Will there be anyone else involved in the decision regarding your new vehicle or will it just be yourself?” This is a direct way of determining if all decision makers are present. Ask this with care because some customers may take offense to it. If you do not know the answer by the time you are ready to ask for the sale, guess what you might hear them say?
  • “Is the vehicle going to be used for business, pleasure, or family use?”  This question helps narrow down the purpose of the vehicle. It will help you learn if leasing will be an option. If it is for the family, then size and safety may important.
  • “What type of budget are you hoping to stay around? (pause and see what they say)

Asking this determines a prospective price range. Most people have these numbers calculated long before they visit your dealership.

  • “If you are like most people, you might be concerned about getting approved. The great news is we have excellent lenders.”

When you say this to customers, it will ease their mind on credit approval. You are probably one of the only salespeople in the city that has said this to them.

  • “If we find the right fit for you how were you thinking of paying for your new vehicle?” This obviously determines what type of financing the buyer is contemplating and gives you some idea of their financial position.
  • “What type of monthly budget do you want?” This gives you an idea of where they may feel comfortable with the monthly payments the vehicle you show them.

The trade and cash down will affect the monthly payment. It is important for you to try to increase the customer’s monthly payment expectations because they rarely match the vehicle he or she wants.

These are a few examples of qualifying questions for you to use. When combined with a proper greeting and vehicle presentation, you will have an excellent start to a professional selling process.

Use these questions to role play with your team members at your dealership. Make them your own. Proper customer qualification can increase your sales and your gross profits.

Hope this helps,
Brian Maxwell



Will this training help people with automotive sales experience? Yes, these sales training modules are jam packed with powerful tools for experienced people at the dealership and the green-pea.

Do you offer sales training programs I can purchase?

Many of the automotive sales training modules are FREE. If you are ready to step up into the $100,000 year club there are sales training programs available to help you launch yourself to the next level.

Are there any training video to sell cars on social media?

Yes, there are several training videos to help sell more cars and boost your sales on Facebook and Youtube.

What is your refund policy?

We offer six months to use the training modules and if you don’t feel they increased your sales a refund will be provided.

Does Mr. Maxwell offer personal sales training?

Yes, Mr. Maxwell does offer personal sales coaching and online sales training programs. Within the modules are more information to decide which works best for you.