Margo Chevers
Northeast Leadership Enterprise
PO Box 281
Wales, MA 01081

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Margo Chevers Blog

Monday, August 22, 2005

Sales lesson 101

I am in the process of buying a new car. This is not a task I enjoy, but it is a necessary evil since I need reliable transportation to travel to my clients. I stopped into a dealership to look for cars. When I walked into the dealership, I looked around to see who was waiting on customers. After what seemed like a very long time, a young gentleman approached me and asked what I wanted. I told him I wanted to buy a car. He pointed to another gentleman who was seated in front of the windows (supposedly to see when customers come into the dealership) and told me he was a salesman. I walked over to his desk and to my amazement, he didn’t even stand up, tell me his name, or shake my hand. I stood talking to him for a few minutes before he decided that when I said I wanted to buy a car, I was serious. He showed me a few cars, I decided on one I liked and asked to take it for a test drive. We went back in for keys and while he was doing that, I went to wash my hands. When I got back, someone approached me and asked if I needed help. I said no, I was waiting to take a test drive. He asked who my salesperson was, and I had to honestly say that I didn’t know his name. At that moment, my salesperson walked up and overheard me saying I didn’t know his name. Then, he stuck out his hand, introduced himself. I guessed it was better late than never. The whole time we were taking the test drive, he kept up a strong, aggressive sales pitch about the vehicle. When we got back to the dealership and I asked the price, he said he had to talk with his manager. The pressure was brought to bear almost immediately. The business manager and the salesperson both teamed up to try to get me to make a decision right then and there. Asking if I liked the car, the price, the deal, why I wouldn’t make a decision on the spot. Although I was extremely interested, I didn’t feel I had enough breathing room to make a decision, plus the fact that I didn’t like the pressure tactics. So I told them I had to think about it. The salesperson gave me his card and I told him I’d call him the next day. When I called him at 9:15 in the morning, he wasn’t in yet. When I asked what time he was due in, I was told he was due at 9AM. I gave the phone numbers where I could be reached and waited to hear from him. Finally, I decided to try another dealership. When I drove up on that lot, it was like I had landed on a totally different planet from the first dealership. Out in the lot, there was a young woman who as soon as I got out of my car, introduced herself and asked if she could help me. I told her yes, I was looking to buy a car. I told her the car I was interested in and she showed a few to me. I told her of my interest in one of them and we went for a test drive. She was personable and gave me space to think while I drove. When we got back to the dealership, I told her I was in a hurry since I had a lunch date with a client. She said, no problem, she just needed a little bit of information and I could stop in on my way back from lunch. Bottom line, I bought my car from the second salesperson. She made a great first impression, always called me back, always responded to my questions, didn’t pressure me, and respected my desire to be in charge of my time and decision. It is now almost a week after I first looked at a car. Do you think that first salesperson has called me back yet? No way. He lost a sale. I keep wondering what his reaction would be if he learned that I bought a car from another dealership. He would probably blame me and say that I was playing games, or couldn’t make up my mind. If he knew, would he learn from this experience? That’s the whole point. We should constantly be learning from our experiences. In this instance the lessons are: First impressions mean a lot. Always stand, shake hands and introduce yourself. Don’t pressure your customer, let them feel as though they are in control of the buying process. And then follow up, follow up, follow up. Statistics tell us that most sales aren’t made until the 7th call. Don’t make the same mistakes this gentleman made.


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