As I ate dinner with a large group of friends this weekend the topic turned to car salespeople. Everyone seemed to have a story about being treated poorly when they wanted to purchase. They were ignored, abandoned, patronized and abused.
I will spare you the details. You’re welcome.
As I listened politely and carefully I began to hear a uniform pattern that struck me as odd. Every friend also had a reason for this treatment with some version of the following:
“It’s because I drove up in my old beater….”
“We came in at the wrong time….”
“It’s because I am…fill in gender, age or race….”
“I came from work and didn’t have time to change…”
“…so they didn’t take me seriously, I guess.”
Customers who have poor experiences at dealerships show a remarkable streak of neurotic masochism when trying to figure out why things did not go well when they shopped for a car.
They blame themselves.
And they deeply resent the salespeople over the whole thing. Trust me, they can go on and on about it.
Remember the blurb on your website? It’s probably on the About Us page. How valuable everyone is and how much you care.
They believe you.
I have been wondering about this since I started sending out sales training attendees to mystery shop in the early 90’s. They came back with the same stories my friends did. Like my friends, they felt they gave off some sort of aura that made them unattractive to salespeople.
It seems that the vast majority of customers believe that the salespeople and the dealership are actually doing everything …on purpose.
Look around right now. Is everything the customer experiences on purpose?
This is important because the customer believes that you are that good. They think that you are intentional about every single thing that happens in your store.
Sad to say, they believe that you actually decided that they weren’t worth the A+ treatment they saw on your commercial and your website and your Google Reviews.
In contrast, I have rarely sat with a group of salespeople who didn’t regale me with tales of the customer who looked like he/she was a vagrant who drove off with the Shelby/Corvette/A8/Landrover.
“…and THAT’S why I NEVER prejudge!”
I know that you didn’t ignore/mistreat/fill in the blank them on purpose.
You thought that they were the same couple you just saw with Susie Sales.
Your manager ‘grounded’ you until you track down that We Owe from the Smith deal.
You really are in the middle of a delivery meltdown.
The GSM has threatened everyone repeatedly today.
It wasn’t your turn.
The receptionist is supposed to greet everyone first.
Unlike the customers, I actually believe you.
But I am not there to defend you. And by the time I sit down with them at dinner I don’t have a chance.