When the Children Come Along ...

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Ah, the children. Sweet and innocent little balls of energy that torture parents for their sins against their own moms and dads.

And one of the things many of us prefer never to see approaching our dealerships. But the way you handle a customer’s kids can have a significant impact on your ability to sell the folks!

So how do you deal with children who are unruly, bored or simply tired and cranky? Here are a few ideas:

Acknowledge and involve the kids

At the Greeting, be sure you introduce yourself and/or acknowledge the children. Be aware of them during the entire visit and allow for flexibility. Your attitude can make all the difference. If the vehicle is a family car, encourage the kids to come along during the demonstration. You can also learn a few simple magic tricks, origami or tell a few stories about your own children. Getting them involved and having a good time can make all the difference.

Use the Children’s Play area

This one is the most obvious. Most dealerships have something for kids to play with and you need to utilize it when appropriate. But keep in mind that one size doesn’t always fit all. So be sure to:

•    Have a variety of things to do including blocks, coloring books, and a basic video game system for older kids.
•    Be sure toys are safety rated and clean. It’s amazing how many dealerships never wash the toys or the play areas. Mom does especially see these things!
•    Have a consultation area set up next to the play area so parents can watch the children during fact-finding and negotiations.

Have refreshments and food available

Kids need food and drink more often than adults do so be prepared. No need to lose a deal because the kids get hungry. A few things to consider keeping around include:

•    Fresh fruit
•    Juice boxes
•    Hot Cocoa mix (served warm)
•    The Pizza Delivery Guy’s phone number
•    Canned formula and a new bottle

It’s also a good idea to have a box of disposable diapers and wipes around in just in case. 

Follow them home

If everything looks good on the vehicle but the kids are just too tired to continue, consider completing the transaction at the customer’s home. This can be a stretch for some dealers but many deals have been saved by being flexible. 

I’m sure some of you have a few good “kid stories” to tell. Share them with us and tell us your ideas for handling the children at your dealership.