This week, I walked away from my dream car because the car dealership was sloppy from beginning to end. I tried to make it work because it was something that I wanted, but in the end, I realized that if I was going to spend that much money, I wanted to work with a company that wanted me to be their customer. There are lessons here for any business that wants to show customers that they want their business.
1. Answer the phone.
During the process of my test drive and waiting for the price that they would offer, I had to call the dealership back. Their “system” was so bad that it hung up on me three times. When I finally got through the fourth time and I got ahold of a real person, I did not bother to ask them to find the sales person I was dealing with — I merely left a message for them to call back.
Have you ever tried to be a customer of your own business? Try it sometime and call your business to see what happens. This might be the first time your customers will have an interaction with you or someone from your firm. Make sure that they can get through to the right person. Otherwise, they will probably just take their business somewhere else.
2. Listen to the customer.
As we were test-driving the cars, we were also asking questions about which model and year were best: should we lease vs. buy or purchase a newer vs. older model of this car. We were up front that we wanted to consider all options but the salesperson kept directing us towards a new car and ignoring our requests to test-drive an older vehicle. Finally, we just walked over to an older model and got in to look around.
If you offer many options for sale at your business, listen to your customers and what they want. Just because you might get a better commission on one sale does not necessarily mean that it is the best option for your customer. Listen to their needs today, and they will trust you with more business (or a referral) later.
3. Give the customer a quote the way they wanted.
Since we were looking at a few different options for a new car, we wanted the salesperson to give us quotes on each one: buy new, lease new, or buy one a few years old. I wanted to be able to look at each option and decide which one was right for me and my family. When the salesperson finally got back with me, I was presented with only one option: a new purchase. I knew that this was the most expensive option and asked for the others. I was told that “this was the best option”.
When a customer asks for a specific type of quote, give it to them. Even if you don’t think it is in their best interest (or yours), follow through their request and tell them what they want to know. Otherwise, they will think you are hiding something from them. You can always explain why you think a different choice would be better than another, but be transparent about all options when they ask.
4. Be honest that you want their business.
After spending time walking the lot, test driving the cars, talking with the sales person and waiting on her quote, we had invested a lot of time into this process. The salesperson might have thought that as well, but in the end, we decided that her inattention to detail (and us) did not give us confidence that we should reward her with our business. It made me think that she really did not want our business at all, given how poorly she listened to us and failed to do what we asked.
If you truly want to make a sale, you have to show your customers that you want their business.