Recently, I took the car in for service. I always take the car to the dealer. I may be a business expert but I am not a car expert. I don’t speak the language of auto repair and have no interest in the mechanics of the car. My logic is that if I go to the car dealer I should be able to have the car repaired by trained technicians even though I am aware I may be paying more for the service. While at the car dealer I usually take work with me so I am being productive. I was sitting in the showroom when I spotted the general manager of the dealership. I recognized him from the local television commercials. So I walked up to him and engaged him in conversation. We talked about the economy, the particular car I drive and the dealership’s plans for remodeling and building a new facility. Other than my name not once did the manager engage me in conversation asking me who I was, what I did, why I drove the particular model of car, why I liked the brand, how cars have changed since my purchase, what it would take to buy a new car or any other friendly, sales oriented conversation. It was all about him and the dealership business. Did I miss something here? Was I the customer? Shouldn’t he be trying to build and solidify a relationship between me and the dealership and the brand?
Being the dealership manager he certainly must have had sales training along the way but he certainly wasn’t using it which I found rather interesting considering the current economy and the nationwide auto sales, in general.
Perhaps he just forgot how important the customer really is.
I sat at a table in the showroom doing my work for two hours waiting for the car to be serviced. With the exception of one sales person who walked over and asked if he could help me (which translates into do you want to buy a car?). Not one of the sales people engaged me in any sort of conversation even though it was a rainy day and absolutely no customer or floor traffic.
And then the service manager came to give me the news. Of course when the service manager tracks you down the news isn’t usually going to be good. It usually means the car requires additional service to maintain it well. I never feel like the service manager is trying to sell me something I don’t need or pushing a service that is not really necessary. I could understand from the information he shared with me why the car needed the service that it did. It was also apparent that he had absolutely no sales training. He kept apologizing. He presented the repairs in such an uncomfortable manner that I finally had to stop him from repeatedly apologizing and told him to just complete the necessary repairs. And he still kept apologizing. Not only was it apparent the service manager did not have any sales training or know how to deal with questions customers may throw his way but that he was clearly uncomfortable asking for the money. In sales you will never make the sale if you have any level of discomfort or guilt in going for the close – or in this situation, getting permission for a car repair. Or anything else
Look around your business. Are you there for the customer or client? Or is it more about you? Take a look at your sales team and customer support personnel. Are they just going through the motions of selling and service or do they actively have an interest in each and every customer or client they come in contact with? Do they consciously and consistently work to build long lasting relationships for your company? Do you really know your customers and get to know your potential customers? Or is someone else getting the sale?