It never ceases to amaze me when I encounter a sales person that is unresponsive, unreliable or both. Do they have so much business and earn so much money that they can afford to ignore their new customers and prospects? Could they be too busy to return phone calls? Are they oblivious to the fact that their actions (or lack thereof) are a poor reflection on them and their business? Don’t they know that their behavior will have a negative future impact resulting in lousy referrals? Perhaps simply keeping their word and delivering what they promise on-time is just not important to them.
I recently had an experience where I was astonished by how unresponsive a salesman was to me. At the time, I happened to be a very qualified and motivated buyer with a real need and money to spend. I don’t know about you, but in my business, qualified buyers are not always easy to come by. When I find one, I treat them like gold, not just for a sale but also as a professional courtesy.
In this situation, I needed to buy a new car for my son who commutes daily to and from college. His car was flooded during hurricane Sandy, and I was paying a considerable amount for a replacement rental car out of my own pocket. We shopped around quite a bit over two weekends and narrowed down our choices. We then went to a local dealership for a test drive. The salesman there (who I’ll refer to as John) was courteous, experienced, and knowledgeable about the car and the competition. While there, he provided a thorough review of the car and all its feature’s.
My son and I were impressed by the performance, style and all of the accessories included. We decided this car might be the one to buy. I was honest with John and made him aware of our circumstances and confirmed I was a serious buyer. He gave us a reasonable quote and indicated there was a little more room to move on the price when I was “ready to buy”. I thanked him and said I would be making a purchase within the next week or so and that I would be in touch. I trusted John and felt I would be comfortable buying from him.
The following day out of curiosity, I emailed another dealership just to get a comparable price quote. The salesman (who I will refer to as Mike) called me back immediately. I explained my situation and as it turned out, the price he quoted over the phone was considerably lower than the price John provided. I was thinking that the price was too good to be true and questioned him about it. He went back to his manager and double checked and then promptly called me back. He explained that as a result of the storm, there were special manufacturer incentives in place and he assured me the price he quoted was the real deal. He only needed to confirm that the car was available in the color my son wanted, and said he would let me know that day. It was clear that Mike wanted my business and was trying hard to earn it.
However, since this was all done over the phone and I had previously met John in person, I felt I should at least give him the opportunity to match the price. I called him back twice and left messages on his phone. The following day, I had still not heard back from him. I called again and spoke to his receptionist and left another message for him to call me back. I wanted to be sure that he had gotten my messages and knew I was still interested.
Meanwhile, Mike called back to confirm he could easily get the car we wanted. I was somewhat skeptical that he quoted such a low price and figured that once I got to the dealership I would encounter some problem. The next day, my son and I went to meet Mike and purchased the car for even less than what he had originally quoted. As you can imagine, I was thrilled that we had such a pleasant buying experience with Mike who was attentive to our needs and delivered exactly what he promised. For that reason, I would not hesitate recommending Mike or his dealership, or even go back and buy another car myself. To this day, I never heard back from John who clearly lost a sale as a result of his own negligence.
Although it may seem obvious that in order to succeed in sales you need to be responsive and reliable, surprisingly I notice more and more sales reps that neglect this rather simple sales strategy and lose business as a result. Successful sales people realize that being responsive is essential, particularly when working with new customers or prospects. First impressions can make or break a sale. Buyers want to deal with sales people who focus on their needs, are responsive, reliable and respect them and their time.
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