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You Only Say You Love Me: A Tale of the Unconsciously Incompetent

My wife and I have some wonderful friends whose restaurant serves up some of the most delicious Latin cuisine. Pedro and Adrianna have the warmest hearts. So, when they told me about the car salesperson they had fallen in love with several years prior, who never bothered to follow up with them after the sale, I could feel their disappointment.


They loved this guy. He’d been pleasant and warm to them. He’d treated them respectfully and with utmost integrity, and they’d been blessed to buy their vehicle from him. So why, I asked, weren’t they going back to that salesperson at that dealership now that they were in the market for another new car?


“We can’t remember his name,” Adrianna sighed.


“You mean”, I said, “He never followed up after the sale? You never heard from him on the anniversary of your purchase or on your birthday?  He never called to give you a heads up about specials the dealership was promoting?”  She shook her head. I shook mine. There is no reason this salesperson should not have won a customer for life. He’d done all the right things – a great meet and greet, demo drive, and worked a deal that pleased Pedro and Adrianna.


“I appreciated him so much, I even gave him a hug and a kiss,” Adrianna said. “We never heard from him again…and now I can’t remember who that great salesman was. Pat, can you refer us to one of the clients you work with, who might want our business?”


Pedro and Adrianna bought a new car from the dealership and the salesperson to whom I referred them. Shortly thereafter, they bought a second car from the same salesperson.  In the meantime; guess what that “great” salesperson at that other dealership was doing both those mornings? He was waiting for the next up.  All because he loved Pedro and Adrianna when they were there to buy, but failed to maintain that relationship once they’d driven off.   As he walked to the Manager’s office to put another “X” on the board, they were forgetting his name.


That sales representative had a lot going for him. I’m certain that his other customers came to love him too. Yet he is unconsciously incompetent. He’s conscious of the need to establish rapport and trust through the sales cycle, but ignorant of the necessity to communicate with customers after the sale and periodically thereafter to keep his name fresh in their minds. Moreover, because he’s unconscious of this important step, he’s a sales failure. Sure, he might steadily put solid numbers on the board, yet how much more productive could he be – and in a smarter manner – by continuing to romance customers after the deal is done?


That unconsciously incompetent salesperson lost that follow-up sale to Pedro and Adrianna. He lost the sale of the second vehicle they also bought (plus the service revenue on those vehicles) and he is losing all the business that Pedro and Adrianna now send instead to their new dealership and new salesperson, whose business cards enjoy prominent display adjacent to the cash register in their popular restaurant.


Customers want to know they mean something to you. You can love them to pieces during the transaction phase, but if you ignore them afterward you have failed. Prove you love them by sending notes, emails and letters once in awhile to keep your name fresh in their mind so when repurchase time rolls around they know exactly who to call.


Views: 497

Tags: AutoCon2012, CAR, CRM, Customer, Kelly, Patrick, Research, XRM, car, management, More…motivational, rally, relationship, sales, speaker


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Comment by Doug Davis on September 28, 2012 at 9:53am

Thank you Keith.  All of us are aware that referrals close at a much higher percentage.  They take less time to close and you usually make more money.  Those are the statistics but until you work around people that put it into action, it doesn't seem to sink in.

The sad truth is that salesmen, like Reggie, are few and far between.  I can remember when most stores had several really good salesmen.  I no longer see training programs that are capable of training a salespeople of his caliber.  We used to hire eight or more and train them for a couple of weeks before we released them to the floor.  We hoped that one or two would actually make it.   The key was to keep the sales force, that you already had, and add to it.  I think this mindset is foreign to most dealerships.

Comment by Keith Shetterly on September 27, 2012 at 12:52pm

Doug, I love that story!!  

Comment by Doug Davis on September 27, 2012 at 12:24pm

The best salesperson that I ever knew worked for me in Baton Rouge.  When Reggie applied, he told me, "I don't catch ups."  "I bring my own clientele."  "I don't live off of your advertising but I will be your highest gross salesperson".  

I knew a couple of his referances and hired him on the spot.

To the frustration of several of my managers, he worked his own schedule, didn't attend meetings and when a customer asked for help, he would say, "I'm sorry, but I don't know you".  He surfaced in the afternoons usually followed by one or more appointments.  I can't remember a customer coming in and not purchasing a vehicle.  He sold twenty to thirty cars every month and was by far the highest gross salesman.  His CSI was perfect.  He took off Saturdays because his blues band played every weekend in the French Quarter.  

I asked him where he spent his mornings and he would tell me Barber Shops, Beauty Parlors, his church, City Parks, everywhere his friends congregated.  He must have had a lot of friends.  

He never took off his "selling shoes".

When I left Baton Rouge, the GM that replaced me, fired Reggie for being late to his first meeting.  Reggie went accross the street and for three years, in a row, was the number one Mitsubishi salesman in the nation.  

Comment by J. Michael Zak on September 27, 2012 at 10:49am

The best sales representative I ever knew hit her target for 8 consecutive years.  Could she sell features and benefits - yes, could she negotiate - yes, however what she did best was be relational.  She did birthdays, anniversaries, kid's names, where they went to school, you name it.  They bought from her because they knew her.  That is one of the more important items a sales representative needs to know,  Look at all the top sellers deals, referrals pave the way to their desk!

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