I went to get my oil changed this week at Sharon Automotive. While I was waiting, a sales person came into the shop. The owner was on the floor so I was the only one in the sales area and clearly sitting in the waiting area. He opened the door and stuck his head in which struck me as odd. He then asked me if I work there. I was sitting in the waiting area playing a game on my phone. If I worked there, I was a TERRIBLE employee. So I said no, but I was sure the owner would be right back. He then walked in. The owner came out and asked if he could help this person. So this is where it got awful.
The sales guy didn’t give him name or company name.
Asked immediately if the owner would consider another tire provider. When he said yes, immediately told him he would need to open a credit app to compare prices.
Stood angled so he was mostly facing the door instead of the owner.
The only question he asked was about the willingness of the owner to change vendors.
When he gave the owner his card, he gave a big song and dance about how calls are forwarded to their Canton office so he should let them know he needed the Cleveland office to get service.
SERIOUSLY? I was blown away. I didn’t think anyone would ever make these mistakes. So the fact that I watched it, means we need to talk about it. If for no other reason than to let the rest of us feel good about NOT doing these things.
First, if you are going to cold call, you have to own it. Don’t hesitantly walk into a place, don’t ask other customers questions, and stand tall and proud. You have nothing to be ashamed of so be in charge!
If you get an opening, face your customer, be interested, and ask questions. It just so happens in this instance there was an opportunity for business but this person will never know because he didn’t ask – anything. Ask questions, listen and find out if you can solve a problem for the prospect.
If you have some weirdness in your procedures that can cause problems for customers, turn it on its head. Instead of telling him he had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get in touch with the right people, set up the customer to know the “special” way to get to service. I know it sounds weird, but we all love knowing the back doors, the secret ways to get places or to have something customized just for us. If he had just said when you call in, let them know right up front you want Cleveland Service so they don’t ask you a bunch of questions, etc. you have saved the person time and had them accept your idiosyncrasies without a problem.
Take a real look at your business. If you are a commodity business, you are going to have to compete on price. There are huge stores that sell tires and the little guys have a hard time competing. You are going to have to be able to talk price and then add VALUE. Â This is where he missed it. Â He knew they couldn’t compete on price and is probably sick of talking about it. He visits shops like Sharon Automotive all day long and gets nowhere. Instead of looking at why and seeing if there is a way to fix it, he plods through his calls, submits his reports and hopes he doesn’t get fired. PATHETIC. He had a real opportunity to form a relationship with someone and get a new customer. He needed to come prepared and be able to give a reason to work with him. Not hoops and problems.
So be sure you know what your sales people are saying. Frankly, a bad sales person like that hurts your business way more than just losing sales – your brand is damaged and you don’t even know it. Â If you are the sales person, don’t do ANY of these things! I may be watching!