Can you beat this for a crazy but real example of customer service and sales?

Picture the scene. After several years of driving the same car that was getting worn out and cranky…a bit like its owner, I decided it was time to change my vehicle. So off I went car shopping. I went to four upmarket dealerships in the space of one morning. We’ll call them dealer 1, 2, 3 and 4 to protect the guilty and to save me getting angry letters from their PR office and corporate lawyers!

Between them, all of these manufacturers spend millions on TV and the glossy magazine promotions to get prospective car buyers like me, to think about them and then to go and look at their vehicles. Here’s what happened. 

Dealer 1 told me, “we have a special promotional event on this weekend so we can’t spend much time with you… but you can have a glass of champagne”. Not a total waste of time then! 

Dealers 2 and 3 ignored me totally. Although I walked around the showroom and forecourt in my most interested potential car buying manner, getting in and out of cars and reading information and price labels, astonishingly, nobody approached me. After a full fifteen minutes at each dealership none of the salespeople spoke to me at all. This is despite the fact that in both dealerships there were at least three sales executives sitting alone at their impressive desks with a pile of business cards in front of them, no doubt doing something important! 

At dealer 4, I must have made customer service sales history. I got thrown out of a the showroom trying to buy a car! Yes … I was shown the ‘red card’. What was my crime? Did I try to steal a car or spill my lunch over the plush leather seating? No, here is what happened and how the conversation went. 

“How much is that car over there … there is no price on the windscreen?”  

“Sold”, came back the reply. 

“How about that one then?” 

“Sold”, he replied again as he turned to walk off back to his desk. 

“Perhaps you could take my contact details down, with what I am looking for, so you could get back to me when you have something that matches”, I very politely and helpfully suggested. 

“I don’t need you to tell me how to do my job  … just get out”, he shouted aggressively, pointing to the door. 

Guess what? I didn’t need telling twice. I did leave, but it won’t surprise you to know that when I did eventually buy a vehicle, it was not of course from him or that dealership. Nevertheless, he wins the prize for being the best salesman of my car buying morning. Unlike the other dealers, at least he made conversation with me … well all seventeen words of it … the only problem was that two of them were “get out”!

Remember, ‘people buy people’ first. What are yours like at dealing with your customers and clients? 

Copyright – Ian Cooper 2013