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Does Your Dealership C.A.R.E.S.? Part 1

Customers Always Receives Exceptional Service, that’s what I mean by CARES. Does your dealership do just what it has to do or does it go the extra mile for every single customer? These days, people are unimpressed by businesses doing just enough to get by, they want exceptional service!

Are you exceeding their expectations? Are you addressing their needs thoughtfully and in unexpected ways? By this we mean an expression of your authentic interest in the person who seeks your services, not just in the transaction.

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Why Do People Hate Car Shopping and What Can We Do Differently

A pet peeve of mine is articles that strictly talk theory. It may be great information but without action steps there can be no change. In each part of this bog, we will look at some of the reasons people hate car shopping and what you can do to show that you are a dealer that CARES.

People Hate It When Salespeople Talk Condescending

About a week into my sales career, I learned that listening is the most powerful tool a salesperson can use to his advantage. If a salesperson is listening more than they are talking, their odds of a sale will greatly increase.

Let me tell you the story of Mr. Vincent Ferachi. Mr. Vincent rolled onto the lot at Harvest Sugarland Ford back in 1992 and was “up’d” by yours truly. I had started selling cars about a week before and had yet to sell my first car. Actually, it took two weeks to sell my first car, and was beginning to think I would be fired before it happened.

Mr. Vincent wanted a new loaded up Ford Crown Victoria. Had to be a Ford as he was unhappy with the Mercury Sable he was currently driving. Seems pretty straight forward but we were a small dealer and did not have any in stock. However, we did have a one year old used Mercury Grand Marquis in stock and I was sure Mr. Vincent would see how much money he could save!

So me being a 22 year old “green pea” full of energy and desire to send one down the road, put on my selling shoes and did the best damn walk around ever seen at this dealership! If Academy Awards were given out for product demonstrations at car dealerships, I surely would have won!

Several times Mr. Vincent tried to remind me that he wanted a Ford but I explained to him very eloquently that a Ford and a Mercury were virtually the same car.

Considering how proud I was of myself, I was shocked by the answer when I went for a trial close. He said NO! I asked the most powerful question any salesperson can ask: Why?

Mr. Vincent in his usual blunt and direct way looked at me and said (this is a quote that I will never forget), “Son, I want my ass to be the first one that farts on the seat when I buy a car.” I was stumped, none of the sales books I had been reading said anything about overcoming this objection.

After what seemed like an eternity, it clicked in my head, he knew what he wanted and my only job was to help him get it.

Mr. Vincent left the dealership that day but lucky for me he was a man that liked to buy locally. Six months down the road, I sold him a Mocha colored Ford Crown Vic with the extras he wanted. We had to get this car from a dealer about 90 miles away.

I told Mr. Vincent, “it would be my honor if you would allow me to go pick up your car for you but I can’t promise one won’t slip out.”

Smiling he looked at me and said “it is okay if you fart on my seat.”

After selling him his car, Mr. Vincent became my biggest Brand Ambassador. He would take the car to church and perform a better product demo than I ever could. Since he was so well respected in this small community, people would come in wanting a car “just like Mr. Ferachi’s” and they all asked for me. We started stocking a car just like his that we affectionately referred to as the “Ferachi Edition Crown Vic.” I sold eleven cars just like his in the following year or so.

Five years later, Mr. Vincent passed away. By this time I had moved onto a big dealership and was in F&I but I proudly attended his funeral to show this man my respect. I credit him singlehandedly for helping me make a career in the auto industry.

What this experience taught me, besides the importance of listening, was that caring makes a difference in this job. Buying a car should be a happy experience and it is our job to make it one.

Action Steps

1. Listen
2. Care
3. Respect

I know a lot of people come into the dealership unsure of what they want. To truly find out what they want and need, you have to listen, care about the process of buying a car, and respect people and their concerns.

If your entire team starts doing this for every customer, it will truly start to CARES.

Views: 156


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Comment by Rob Hagen on October 8, 2014 at 10:50am

Thanks for the read Charles!

Comment by Charles Strandburg on October 8, 2014 at 10:23am

A good reminder that nothing happens without the customer so you need to listen before speaking.  Thanks.

Comment by Rob Hagen on October 8, 2014 at 8:11am

Thanks Ralph I sure have have been LAER challenged myself through the years. No matter how much technology gets added to our business, it still boils down to people and people will buy from people they know, like and trust!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 8, 2014 at 7:56am

Thank you for such a thoughtful reminder of what the car business should be, and is about for anyone who experiences success... Like you, I had a mentor early in my career who coached me on several aspects of selling cars that still serve me well to this day. In regards to listening and caring, he taught me the following procedure:

  1. Listen first
  2. Acknowledge what the customer has said
  3. Explore the customer's statement or questions
  4. Respond to the customer's statement or question

LAER is a process that I continue to learn more about every day... Although I have been LAER challenged my entire life, the awareness of how effective LAER can be has served me well over the years.  And, has helped me sell a lot of cars in the process.

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