April 27, 2006

Would That Be Enough To Earn Your Business?

A friend of mine (who happens to be a professional sales trainer) helped his grandparents buy a car about a month back. He recently shared an e-mail interaction he had with a car salesman. A bit over the top, perhaps, but there is some good advice in there. Needless to say, he bought somewhere else.

The original e-mail...

    Hi Mr. Harring,

    I assume by your visit and request for information for your grandparents on the vehicle of their choice, they are in the car market. I also assume they are searching for the BEST PRICE on that vehicle. I am trying to do what I can to earn their business. I also assume there are closer dealerships to you and that does put the pressure on me to get a price that would have you drive the small amount of distance to me. If I could beat your best price from $100-$300 on that price, would that be enough to earn your business? Let me know.

    Mr. Perkins
    Internet Leasing Manager

... and the reply...

    Mr. Perkins,
    [sic]
    1. Most prospects will not be completely honest with you. This may occur to varying degrees, but it is almost universally true.

    2. You will never change the point of view of a prospect. The best you can hope for is to stimulate realization of a misunderstood need.

    3. Comfort is key because no one (salesman nor customer) benefits from an unnecessarily hastened decision which inevitably leads to a buyer's remorse. You can slaughter a sheep once, but you can sheer it twenty times.

    4. Price is NEVER the real issue. Prospects ask such questions as "How much does it cost?" and "Can you tell me more about the features?" because they do not know what else to ask, usually as a result of their lack of understanding about what they really need.
    [sic]
    A final word of free advice. Let your prospects like you, but do not try to make them like you. Refrain from loaded or rehearsed questions about their opinions of where to find a good steak. Ask them what they want from you and actually listen, hard, to what they say. When words come out of a prospect's mouth, which ones do you care about? Well, it shows. A smart, successful salesman will gain insight from what most see as mundane. No one walks into a car dealership wanting to make friends. They come in wanting to buy a car. If they make a friend, great for both of you. If not, hopefully they will have at least bought a car.
    [sic]
    Listen, be a human being, and want success for your customers, not yourself.

    Thanks,

    Mr. Harring

Could a more refined and matured process have relieved some stress and created success?