As some of you may know, I have been shopping for a car. (And having a little fun tormenting the world’s sales force in the process.) I wanted you guys to see how exceptional our Results Fitness team really is in the customer service/sales industry.
We truly are head and shoulders above almost every team I’ve come up against. A big part of that is our team’s desire to [Our Core Value #7:] Constantly Learn, Always Improve. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share my experience with a Ford dealership right here in Valencia.
Here is the first email I sent to the dealership. My goal? To toss them a slow-pitch softball and see what they did with it. My second email could be titled the “Top 10 things you can do to blow the sale and destroy any chance of customer satisfaction.” For the sake of this article the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
(Email to salesman #1, let’s call him John.) Great follow-up. I’m looking to come in and test drive this weekend. I’ve done my homework and know what I’m looking for. I’ll even give your salesman the three things he’ll want to know in order to sell me a car.
#1 The What – I’m looking at the 5-door Ford Focus, a 2012/2013, used, with very low mileage or a 2014 at a fantastic price. All black. Your Focus is competing with a 2014 Mazda i3 5-door.
#2 The Why – The last car I bought was my 2000 Honda Civic EX, brand new off the lot. Still drive it. I don’t NEED a new car, I WANT a new car. Fun and sporty to drive, with enough room in the back to toss in camping gear with the seats down. I’m looking to buy.
#3 The possible objections to overcome – Price is important. A $2,000 down payment and I’m expecting an additional $1,000 for my Honda trade-in. Again, I don’t need a car, so I have no problem walking out. However, I’m generally easy to deal with provided the numbers match up with the value I am looking for. My wife will be signing with me if things work out.
Bonus Tip! I’m a sales coach by profession and damn good at what I do. Shoot straight, don’t make me wait or drag things out, respect what I have to say and want to do, and your guy has a good shot at selling me the car. I’m a talker and HUGE with referrals, so let’s make this a great experience! – Elias
John, the sales person I was working with, was not available for the test drive, so he passed me off to his partner, Bill. Out of respect for John, who had done most of the follow-up, I thought I’d let you know exactly what went wrong because John’s follow-up was great, and I was excited to begin the process of buying a new car.
Then my wife and I met Bill…Bill blew it. Now, you’ve got a couple of ways of reading this email:
A. This guy is a jerk, what the heck does he know? OR
B. Feedback is the break fast of champions.
(My second email on what went wrong.)
#1 If the intention was to hand me off to a partner, then I would assume that said partner would have all the information that I provided to John. If this WAS the case, it was not apparent at all. It was like starting all over again. Frustrating.
#2 Brush your teeth and clean the red sauce off your shirt. If you can’t take care of you, how in the world are you going to take care of us?
#3 Not for one moment did I feel we were being taken seriously as a prospect. I understand that you may have been told I was JUST there for a test drive, but I was also JUST at Mazda for a test drive — and I’ll be going back to Mazda this week to buy a car.
#4 The car I wanted to drive was on demo. (Isn’t the common term ‘test drive?’ Why are you using in-house language that your prospects aren’t familiar with?)
#5 Open the door for my wife. If you were paying attention to how I was treating her, I would hope that you would treat her accordingly.
#6 Don’t talk smack about the competition, it never makes you look good. EVER. (Also, jokes about your divorce are really funny to a happily married couple whose mother (mine) just went through a family shattering split-up. “Nice touch.”)
#7 Establishing your authority through correction is an outdated sales method, and making the prospect feel stupid just doesn’t work anymore. Was it really necessary to drive home the fact that Ford doesn’t make a Focus Sport? If you knew I meant the ST then why didn’t you just say so politely? (See #4)
#8 Yes, I was looking for a sporty drive. Did I need you to unload the throttle to show me? Nope. Neither did my wife who smacked her head on the side of the car.
#9 You told me you only had four cars in the state of California with the model/color combo I wanted. Then you left it at that. I had to ask you, “Well, how do I get it?” Was I supposed to just settle for something you had on the lot? I thought I was clear that I had very specific tastes. (See #1 & #3) #10 I took time out of my day to come down and try your product. A simple “thanks for your time” would have been something. I had to ask YOU for a card.
We, as sales professionals, have a hard enough time establishing a positive reputation and true professionalism due to the bad rap we get from stereotypical car sales. It’s disappointing to discover that things, at least at our local Ford dealership, haven’t changed much.
In the end, I’ll be buying my car from the guy I liked, as both the Ford and Mazda are comparable in performance and price. Thank you for giving me an experience I can share with my clients and colleagues. – Elias
The response I received was: Hi Elias, I am sorry about how you felt. If you need further assistance, let me know. I will be happy to work with you. – John
When the sale was [still] on the table, the general manager was emailing me to offer his personal assistance. Nothing from him now, and not a single word from Bill.
Needless to say, Ford struck out. They didn’t even swing the bat at that slow pitch softball I set up for them. If the Mazda I ordered shows up on time, I’ll be picking it up on Saturday. (Heck yeah you can drive it, 188HP with racing suspension.) Once I’m done with Mazda I will be sure to share that experience too!
It’s not easy to stay on top like we do at Results Fitness. It takes a tremendous amount of teamwork, skill and effort, but boy is it worth it when you discover that we may be the only positive experience that a person has at any place on any day.
– Way to go us!
If you are looking for more tips on how to master sales and communicate with your members better, join me for my ONLY Results Fitness University “Sales Secrets Revealed” seminar on July 24th. My goal is to send you back to your business with specific, practical ideas that you know you can implement right away. You’ll leave feeling energized, educated, inspired, and motivated. Click here for more information. Enroll here!