Customer Service . . .

The shiny cars caught my attention. The balloons KEPT it.
As a "sales and marketing guy," I'm always an active participant in environments where I'm being sold or marketed to (probably like a barista watching their own extra hot, double shot, magna venti soy lattee with four pumps of sugar free vanilla syrup, a shake of cinnamon and one . . . no TWO packets of sweet and low being made by the rival coffee house) and I've had a DAY of active participating. As you loyal readers know, I am car "shopping" (and my "shopping" I mean kicking the tires (literally - for once it is actually LITERAL tire kicking) to be ready when I get back to work and can pull the trigger on a new car). To the point(s) . . .

  1. Car Sales Guys (by coincidence I only spoke with men today) are all very, very different. Probably much like the customers they serve. There has to be a general variety to the sales team accordingly. I'm not saying you need "one of everything" but a guy in his mid-30s can probably better relate to me than an early 20s something who calls me "dude." 
  2. I don't know the rules or the science to car sales but I feel like visual cues should dictate how the conversation is initiated. If I'm looking at the compact hatchbacks, no . . . I don't want to look at the super cab trucks next. Also - I don't look like a hunter, outdoors man, athlete, or weather lover. I also don't wear a wedding ring. While not all husbands do - a better assumption would be that I'm NOT married than that I am.
  3. I was always taught the greatest jewel a sales guy can unearth is the customer's "pain point" so that they can provide the solution/cure. I spoke with seven sales people this morning. Not a SINGLE ONE asked me exactly what I wanted or needed in a car (they would inch up to it with things like "You like the cloth seats?" or "Have you ever driven a hybrid?"). If they had, I would have told them and they would have been way more likely to net out my contact information and to qualify me as a lead.
  4. General rule of thumb - if each of your colleagues has approached me and I've waved them all off, your winning smile is not going to get me to engage. Either have a pitch or hang back. Just walking up to me not only doesn't impress me, it makes me think you are far more interested in your swagger than my car needs.
  5. If I've been on your lot for 30 minutes and I have to wave down one of your sales people while I see you watching me through the huge glass panels . . . don't run out as I'm walking back to my own car and ask me what I thought. I thought your management style was crap. I thought your dealership didn't value the customer or the customer experience. I thought you were far too reactive to properly train a proactive team. I thought your cars were really, really nice and I saw the PERFECT car for me but . . . I'm going to walk away anyway. Because I'm annoyed. 
  6. There should be some (extensive?) qualification and validation before you offer me a test drive. If you walk up to me and say "We can take anything you like for a drive." you're going to waste a ton of time. Even at five minutes to get the keys and ten minutes to drive - you're spending 15 minutes per car per customer and you have no idea if I'm even serious about buying. You will, sure, eventually sell something but four better customers may be walking the lot while you and I go joy riding.
I'm not scolding. Maybe all these folks knew I'm not yet serious about a purchase and I'm a month away from making a purchase (at least) but - let's be clear - someone walking around your lot this morning, and again later today, and again tomorrow IS ready. IS serious. You should be, too. See you in a few weeks, suckers.