Dear ToddCohen.com Sales Community,
Yesterday was a scientific experiment for me. Here is what transpired. In a few months, my car lease expires. I need to think about a new car, and that is exciting for me. So many choices and so many ways to go! Yes, I love cars! I have been looking passively at many different models, and one that has caught my attention is the Cadillac CTS. I know, I never ever thought I would be caught dead in a Caddy dealership. Junky cars serviced by indifferent service departments. However, I have been looking for signs of an American car resurgence, and I think the last few years have seen the beginnings of that. Ok, back to my story.
I stopped at a local dealer and entered said dealer and wandered around for a good 20 minutes. Five sales reps hanging out doing nothing. Eventually I was approached by a very enthusiastic and nice lady. and she and I started to have a conversation about the car. Here is the issue: What I was hoping for was a sales professional who was educated on the car and its attributes and competitive edge. What was different about the car, and why I should buy it. Do you see where I am going here? I was not educated by a sales professional. That is what a sales culture is all about!
What occurred was a recitation of features (mostly inspired by my questions) and not a dialog about what I was looking for and why this car would be a great car for me. No discovery. No needs analysis. Just a features recitation. This (initially hopeful) experience was not very different from what I had expected to happen. I have said often that sales reps evolve into sales professionals by focusing on educating and engaging the prospect; by making sure that we know what the client is interested in and how the product or service might fill those needs. I can think of about 100 other ways that conversation yesterday could have gone that would have inspired me to really think about this car as a possibility. I knew more about the car than the sales rep did. Is that a red flag?
Now, so that I am clear-I thought she was ok and in the end, if this were the car for me, I would probably go back and work with her. She was sincere, honest, and energetic. I also want to point out that I had a similar experience at the local BMW dealer as well. Indifference and almost boredom on the part of the sales staff. My message here: Take the time and know your product! Get engaged with your prospect and inspire him or her to buy the car with your understanding of needs and desires and not just features and your opinions! The old ways of selling are gone. C’mon – you CAN DO BETTER! Inspire us and we will buy. Bore us and we will walk.
As always, let me know what you think!