Lessons on Sales from Tulsa Car Salesmen
Over the last two weeks I have been on a mad hunt here in Tulsa for a new car to replace my first love Herbie. After 10 strong years it was time to let go of my first car and beloved Volkswagen Beetle. It was during this process of searching for my new car that I was brought back to the process that I find myself in when meeting with new clients. Below are tips I was reminded of during this car shopping process that you can use when meeting with new clients:
Just like many of my clients, I had a problem, but had no idea what was the solution. So who did I turn to, the professionals. I'm pretty sure that I drove to almost every Tulsa Car Dealership searching for my perfect fit. One of the few salesmen I met that engaged me the most to buy was Sean Walsh aka "Shaggy" over at Jim Norton Toyota. Before he even took me onto the lot he sat me down and asked me probing questions to figure out what car would best fit me and my lifestyle. It is because of this time that he took to ask me targeted questions and listen to my responses that he was able to find a car that was essentially perfect for me. After a long day of disappointment, Shaggy was able to not only find something that I liked, but he gave me hope that I would find the car for me. There are very few salesmen that can instill hope in a customer, he is truly a rare gem of a salesman for sure.
How many times do you really sit down with your customers to figure out what services or products you have that would be best for them? So many times we push sales and products at customers that they truly do not need, nor do they want. It is that "push" marketing that many times will send customers away from you and into the hands of someone who will listen to them.
2. Gently Push Their Comfort Zone
When I first meet with clients I take the time to listen to their needs and then I go back home and make a proposal for them. Many times it is within this proposal that I enlighten clients on some areas that needs improvement within their company and propose ideas that may seem strange to them. My philosophy is that they are coming to me because they already know there is a problem and if the solution was easy they would not need me, but because of this my clients are being pushed out of the comfort zone.
When I was car hunting I came across a young salesmen (just 3 weeks on the job) who did just this with me. Jake Nicks over at Jackie Cooper Nissan was thorough in finding out my needs and after showing me a car that fit my needs he directed me towards cars that I would never have considered before. Even though I ended up not liking them, that experience helped me really narrow and target what I was looking for. Of course he would have loved to have made the sale, but it just did not work out that way for me since I knew I was picking something I had to be in love with. But because of his great service you better believe I will be sending people his direction if they are looking for Nissan cars.
3. Follow-Up is Essential
Anyone that is in any form of sales knows that follow-up is critical. You must take the time to follow-up with your prospective clients, even if you know they are not going to choose you. Why do I say that? Just because they may not buy from you that day, they may in the future or do something even better, talk about you and refer business your way. If you are defeated and choose to not follow-up because you aren't making the sale then you are losing out on the opportunity to "wow" them with your customer service.
I will say that all 3 of the gentlemen I am mentioning in this article had the tenacity to follow-up and ask if I had any questions or concerns. I visited and spoke with almost 10 salesmen and only 4 followed up with calls and a few with automated e-mails (side-note to car salesmen, follow-up with a personalized e-mail....not one did this). I will say as they followed up with me multiple times as I came down to 2 cars, I appreciated them really listening to my concerns and going above and beyond to find solutions. For Shaggy, he knew I liked the Scion xB he had shown me but that I hated the car.....knowing me, a black car would drive me insane to keep it clean. So what did he do? Shaggy listened to the colors I liked and found one that matched exactly what I liked and he ended up beating everyone on price!
4. Lighten Up
Now onto my last salesman, who is the one who ended up with the sale, Maurice Curley at Primeaux Kia. Now granted his job was a little easier since I already knew exactly what I was looking for by the time I got to him since he was the last dealership I went to. I already had the intent on test driving the Kia Soul. Now Maurice knew off the bat that I was a tech girl and he took that knowledge he gained through listening to me by tailoring my experience with him to fit my needs. Before we even started the test drive he took the time to connect my phone to the Bluetooth feature in the car so I could listen to my music for the ride. After my tunes were set he showed me not just the classic "safety" features, but the fun factors of the car.
It was this experience and with the other salesmen to remember when meeting with clients it is OK to get off topic sometimes and just have a conversation about life and the things that make us happy. All too often we get so caught up in making the most of every minute because time is money in today's world, but you gain the sale by first building rapport and a relationship with the client.
For my clients, it is up to them whether they choose to use my services or not. Of course, not making a sale can be depressing at times, but by having a good attitude you never know if that positive response will lead to something in the future. I always remind myself to stay classy.
When I made my choice to buy the Kia Soul over the Scion xB, my Toyota man Shaggy was gracious and was not bitter about my choice, but he wished me the best, as did Jake at Nissan. As the customer I know I made the best choice for me and was not pressured into making a decision I would possibly regret. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.
After my daunting 2 weeks of trying to make a decision and dealing with shopping around, I can say I am happy with my new car. It is my hope that my clients feel the same way when they make the choice to do business with me and they see amazing results through the work I produce for them. As always through my life experiences, I learn marketing lessons or am reminded of them in the strangest of places, like a car dealerships in Tulsa.
If you learned valuable lessons through this post and would like to see first hand how I can help you business, please send me an e-mail to Kersten at Speakeasy Market Strategies dot come, or fill out your information here.