Years ago, I went to a KIA dealership to look at their vehicles.
I didn’t leave with one.
Not because I didn’t like the vehicles; I didn’t look at any of them long enough to formulate an opinion.
Not because the prices didn’t match; I actually was never told a price.
Not because I was “just looking,” either. I very well could have driven off that lot in my brand new KIA.
I didn’t get a KIA because the salesperson — if we even want to call him that — refused to talk numbers with me until after I’d taken a test drive of the vehicle.
I didn’t want to take a test drive, I told him. Just talk to me about numbers and costs. Then, maybe, I’ll want to know more and will take a test drive.
The KIA worker (who also had forgotten my name less the 4 minutes after I’d told it to him and excused it with, “You’ve got to understand — I meet a lot of people every day”) became defensive and defiant in upholding the “policy” that he cannot discuss prices unless a customer goes for a test drive. The guy was clearly inexperienced but was well-versed in repeating what he had apparently been taught.
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The conversation continued for a few minutes until the worker offered to have his manager come and explain the policy. The manager came out and added to the foolishness, reinforcing the policy. Not wanting to waste time with possible customers, the manager offered that they’re not for everyone and not all customers are for them, along with a handshake.
You would expect this, maybe, from the company who sells the most high-end automobiles. But probably not, as the most high-end business do so via service, not prices.
And you wonder why a KIA costs what a KIA costs.
I doubt either of these gentlemen are working for KIA any longer. One reason is the terrible “policy” in place, either by this dealership itself or by the KIA company.
The real reason is, neither of these workers knew anything about making a sale. They cared more about upholding a policy.
Why do companies put policies in place? I assume they’re in place to better serve customers. And, any smart salesperson who cares about his paycheck would be smart enough to know when to value the person in front of him over words printed on paper.
If you’re in sales (HINT: you are in sales), remember the following points when dealing with any (potential) customer:
- Giving a person what he wants, or even the impression that you’re giving him what he wants, is the priority. Whether at work, in bed or anywhere else, giving people what they want will win you friends and influence people. Whether you believe their wants are logical, ridiculous, smart, insane or any other adjective is not important. As Zig Ziglar famously stated, if you give enough people what they want, you can have everything you want. This auto dealer Should have bent the policy to suit the needs of his potential customer. Putting the policy first guaranteed that he wasn’t making a sale to me. That’s not the type of moral victory you want.
- Arguing with someone or making him wrong in any way will never help you. Not everyone is as smart as you. But letting them know this truth won’t win you any new business. Intellect, though we all have varying amounts, is an area of a person’s skill set in which we don’t do well with being told we’re deficient. I remember working in an LA Fitness years ago as a personal training salesperson. My manager’s advice to us for how to find new clients was to walk the gym floor, see someone “working out wrong,” correct them, and then offer a training package so they could learn to do things “right.” Though I couldn’t have explained my resistance to it back then, I never used this technique to get new clients. As soon as you tell someoen theyre wrong, youve put them on the defensive — not a good way to start a sales process.
- The best logic doesn’t guarantee success. KIAs are cheap cars, at least by price. So, I would guess their idea is to market to the masses and make their money in volume. Logically, this makes perfect sense. Problem is, when there’s not much profit on each sale, the cuts have to come from somewhere. Based on my brief KIA experience, I’d assume it comes in training and sales commissions, which explains the bummy “salesperson” who I doubt last more than 6 months at his post.
I worked a lot of jobs before I started my basketball career and subsequent business. And I’ll admit: I violated company policies, broke rules and made hush-hush deals with customers in order to make sales. My paycheck owed no loyalty to a damn policy. And who wins if a person walks out the without buying, anyway? I understood this stuff without it being explained to me. But as they say, common sense ain’t too common.
Try a little game this week: Give people what they want (or at least appear to be doing so) every time a request is made of you. Agree with people’s point of view, even if you disagree logically. Find a way, even if you have to dig deep, to make a person appear to be correct, just, and smart.
You’ll make more sales, more friends and not stupidly turn away business.