The good, the bad and the ugly
I thought I’d share with you our experience this last month when wanting to trade in our car …. It was fascinating! I love being the ‘fly on the wall’ observing others’ sales processes.
Background: Toyota owners – on our 5th, not counting the one when we first married! So loyal. Last two purchased from one of the Bristol dealers as the penultimate car had come with a very good deal. But it is a pain to get across there for services etc. so we thought we’d investigate closer to home as well as a couple of others comparisons.
- The good: We popped in to our more local Toyota garage on spec. Spoke to a very pleasant young man who jotted down what we were looking for and promised to email some quotes that afternoon…. I have to admit I was somewhat cynical and wasn’t going to hold my breath to await said email. But I was wrong. It came when promised and all queries subsequently whether on the phone or email, have been answered fully and promptly. We were advised that as a “loyal customer” we would be entitled to a £1K discount plus a further £2K for purchases agreed by end September. Professional follow up which wasn’t in any way intrusive.
- The bad: We then visited a different brand dealership – the person to whom we had originally spoken to was ‘off’ on the day we visited so met with the Sales Manager. Very helpful and professional and said he’d get his sales person to call to follow up. We’re still waiting (that’s why they’re down as ‘bad’! The spec didn’t compare as well, however.
- The ugly: We were invited to a VIP day by our original Toyota dealer Bristol – (remember we had purchased our last two cars from them). Our appointment was confirmed by quite an aggressive sales manager who wanted to make sure we were going to turn up and advised that this was an event for buying and selling, i.e. not a “jolly”. We should have guessed what was coming when we were sent lanyards in the post with badges saying VIP customer. On arrival we were welcomed into something that was just not for us – balloons, cardboard full size cut outs of famous film stars standing strategically by certain cars, two young very attractive girls brought in to offer coffee, and directed to a table on which was a plate of sausage rolls (really, on a hot afternoon?!!!) A young man (really young – looked 19 or so and very much not knowing what on earth he was supposed to be doing) then sat down, with the sales manager hovering, who wanted to take our personal details eg name and address. This from the garage we had previously purchased two cars from. Not good for first impressions – how long would it have taken someone to pre-populate their form? And my husband had spoken to the sales manager to tell him more or less what we were looking for. We were then told the price of the car which we were interested in and when we asked what deals there were, the sales manager told us there was £3000 off the car price for that weekend only and basically could we go ahead on that basis? “After all, negotiating is just a big game, isn’t it”? he said. Absolutely no understanding of the sales process whatever. Oh, and no follow up here either! WHAT a waste.
So then it won’t surprise you to learn that we went with the ‘good’. But how does this story connect with what you do every day in your business?
- Do you always send information to your customers and prospects by or preferably before the day you promise to do so?
- Do you understand the sales process?
- Do you ALWAYS follow up with prospects no matter what? If not what could you do to ensure you do. Is it fear of the ‘no’, or is it something else? Maybe turn it around and ask yourself what your prospect will think of you if you don’t bother to follow up?
- If you’re putting on an event, do you ensure that it is ‘geared’ for the demographic who will be attending?
- Do you always update your CRM with conversations with customers and prospects so that you don’t let yourself and your company down when a customer turns up for a meeting and you are ill-prepared?
- And the biggest of all – do you understand the importance and value of TRUST. As soon as the sales manager in the ‘ugly’ scenario said that the offer was only valid for that weekend, when we knew that wasn’t the case, there is absolutely no possibility that we would have continued with a purchase there. Nor will we go back there again. See a blog I did before on Trust here. (in which was the wonderful mnemonic S H I T)