Lessons from a car salesman – The lost art of selling

I’m currently in the market for a new car. I’ve decided what I want and I’m quite far along the decision making process. I don’t want to buy brand new, but I do want to buy from a reputable dealer and I want a car with a few thousand miles on the clock.

Simple you would think. But, I have found that good sales technique is sadly lacking.

Dealership no 1 - is the dealer very close by. I’ve bought two cars from them in the past, but I am put off because they failed to ring me back when I was looking to purchase my last car, thus missing out on a sale. I really wanted to buy a little car from them as the second family car, one which the kids could use, but I think they’d written me off as a time waster. (I’d previously looked for a car for my mother before deciding against the idea). So reluctantly on that occasion, I decided against my first choice and bought a Ford instead. This time though, I did look at them again, but they are not my preferred choice of dealer.

Dealership no 2 – the salesman looked so unimpressed to be talking to riff raff such as us, that we were quite disheartened. Not a single smile of welcome from the whole dealership. We returned a week later to test drive a car, but the sales man kept us waiting for 15 minutes. (I wouldn’t dream of handling my clients like this and I don’t think for one moment that they would put up with it!)

Dealership no 3 – had a lovely young man, only 11 days in the job, as our salesman. He was keen, enthusiastic and charming. He even persuaded us to put down a deposit on a not to be missed opportunity, which, when it materialised, was the old model of the car. A genuine mistake, we think, but we obviously got our money back.  A senior colleague suggested a good deal on a brand new car, but failed to ring us back with any figures…. So, sadly no deal!

Dealership no 4 – was based quite a long way from home. I’d done my internet searching and knew that this dealership had the model of the car I wanted in stock. No sooner had I rang to enquire if the car could be brought to a dealership only 45 minutes from me, (only?) than the young car salesman offered to bring the car directly to my house. The joy! No hassle for me and the salesmen recognised that I obviously was a hot sales lead. I was very impressed with his salesmanship and product knowledge.

Guess which car dealership we’d be most likely to buy from? Compare and contrast this too, with a speedy email written to a lady I know who runs a leasing company. I sent her an email enquiring about the option of leasing and she replied straight away (on a Saturday too). So, the question now is Dealership no 4 or Leasing….   Easy to see how the other dealerships lost out though, wasn’t it?

Now cars don’t come cheap. It’s a highly considered purchase and you would think that in this current economy, that salesmen would be only too keen to try and offer a good sales experience and service, particularly for high value items. Apparently not. Only in the last dealership, did the salesman make any real attempt to go out of his way to sell me a car. It’s a great lesson and reminder to us all, please don’t take your potential customers for granted. Treat them with respect, go out of your way to offer a good service and hopefully, you’re sales figures will continue to grow as will your customer loyalty and satisfaction.