If you follow my blog, you know that my girlfriend’s car’s transmission just died. What you don’t know is that we bought another car and I was absolutely blown away by what happened during the purchase process.
Elaine (my girlfriend) and I had done our research. We walked into the dealership ready for negotiation warfare. Right away we were approached by a salesman and my adrenaline started pumping. He proceeded to talk to us about our lifestyles and interests for 20 minutes. Once we told him which car we were interested in, he handed us the keys and told us to take it for a drive. We asked him if he was coming and he said he didn’t need to—he realized that some people wanted to test drive vehicles alone so they could really discuss what they were experiencing. When we got back to the dealership, I thought “Ok. This is where he locks us in a room and doesn’t let us leave until we’ve purchased a car.” Again, I was wrong. He simply handed us his card and said to call if we had any questions. I was so blown away that I asked him why he didn’t take us into the sales room. His response was the following: “Because that doesn’t work, and it is not a good way to buy—or sell—a car. I understand that customers may need a day or two to consider their options. Plus, I want to sell my customers a number of cars over their lifetimes and to do that, the purchasing experience must be stress-free and pleasurable.”
A few days later, after we had decided to purchase the car, I faxed him all the paperwork ahead of time and told him that I only had an hour to complete the transaction. The day of, he texted me to see if he could pick me up lunch, had everything in order upon my arrival, and I was out of there with a new car in 45 minutes. It was the most painless car-buying experience I’ve ever had. I gave rave reviews to his superior who echoed what he had told me about their process.
I left not only with a new car, but a couple of enlightening service and sales principles to share with my teammates:
Knowledge: If you have a solid product or service and understand how it fits into the marketplace, you can spend more time asking questions and listening to your clients and less time pushing your wares.
Communication: Organizations must communicate their commitment to a service style—across the board. After all, if one salesperson operated like ours did, but the others were pushy, there would be a severe experience disconnect.
Consistency: Exceptional service requires everyone to be on the same page. My interaction with the salesperson, his boss, and the financing department were equally impressive. And, when I mentioned something about permanent plates, a representative made a call and made it happen. Everyone was committed to providing excellent service.
What do you think?
- How does confidence in your product translate to better service?
- What is your stereotype of a car salesman? Have you had an experience that reinforced this? Refuted it?
- Does your organization have a unified service style? If so, how did you help to create/sustain it?
Post your response and check back for a reply!