A few days ago, I received a mail from the company where I bought my previous car. The keen salesman, let´s call him John, was eager to reach his year-end budget. By going through the company’s internal system, he had found out that my lease was about to end and was calling to see if I wanted to renew my lease or buy a new car. This would have been good thinking if he had done this 6 months ago. But, instead, he was 6 months too late and I was now a “lost opportunity”.
When I think back on it, was I already a “lost opportunity” due to a poor customer experience or was it because the sales person just called me too late?
Six months before my lease was up, I had already started thinking about my next car. I liked the brand and wanted a more environmentally friendly version, but I kept asking myself if I was ready to do business with the same dealer again?
I bought my previous car from this dealer three years ago. I was very satisfied with the car, but since buying the car, I had not heard a single thing from this dealer. Not a “thank you”, or “hi, are you still enjoying your car” or even “can we help you with your next service” invitation. . I guess they followed the policy, "no news, is good news".
Despite all this, I went into their shop to have a look. My experience there was unfortunately more of the same. I felt that the sales rep answered my questions but did not bother to really try to help me. I felt ignored. Not valued. It was not a good experience. My interest for this dealer’s cars cooled off, but not my passion for this brand. It didn’t take long before I was at a competitor store and having a totally different experience.
So, when “John” finally called I had to tell him the sad news: I had already bought a new plugin-hybrid from a competitor. This is the worst message any sales rep can get. Being passionate about sales and success for sales teams, the front-runners of any business, I had to tip him that if he had the right CRM systems in place, the company management could have produced a list of customer lease plans to be renewed in the next six months.
And with the right attitude, he could have been pro-active and could have engaged me in my process of choosing a new car. He might not have succeeded, but over time, it would have been great for their business.
As I said, I ended up, signing my new plugin-hybrid with a competitor. I would have liked to give my repeat business to my original dealer, if they had treated me right. Long-term relationships are often the best kind.
Am I too grumpy? I think not. I just love great salesmanship and creating a great customer experience. And the fact is, you are never better than your next customer experience. For a sales person, timing is vital. You need to nurture your prospects and customers in great harmony with marketing. Add some human touch to it and be both bold and grateful. A thank you note to a new customer is great. A follow-up with an anticipated need is even better. Who knows what you can achieve?