By Jeff Beals
I plan to buy a new car in the next few weeks, so I have been stopping by several dealerships to ask questions and take test drives. It’s been fun to observe the sales techniques (or lack thereof) employed by the various dealerships and the individual salespeople.
I met a friendly salesperson at the first dealership I visited. I spent about an hour with her. She asked me a few questions and we took a test drive. A couple days later, I received the following email (some information has been deliberately omitted to protect the guilty):
I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your time you’ve spent with me discussing your transportation needs. The most important thing for me is to make certain that you are completely satisfied with our selection of vehicles and you received the attention and service you deserve.
If you have any questions or would like additional information before making a decision, do not hesitate to call me at (###) ###-####. And thanks again for giving us an opportunity to earn your business.
[NAME], Sales Associate
So what’s wrong with the above message? Many things!
First of all, my name is “Jeffrey” not “Jeffery.” That’s minor, but little things sometimes destroy deals. Dale Carnegie once said that a person’s first name is the sweet word in the English language to that person. When it comes to client names, don’t mess them up.
Second, the note is too much about her, the salesperson, instead of being focused on me, the prospective customer. What’s more, it’s as generic as can be. The car I drove was expensive, not the most expensive car in the world, but costly enough that I probably merited a personalized note.
Third, and most importantly, this is a blown opportunity. Where is the focus on what I the customer truly value?!!? If you want to sell something, you must uncover what the prospect truly values and then demonstrate just how your product or service meets that value. There’s none of that here, and just so you know, I laid it all out for her on a silver platter…
When we talked at the dealership, I told the salesperson that I didn’t necessarily like big vehicles but I needed one because I have young kids who participate in activities and go places with friends, thus necessitating a large vehicle. Furthermore, my wife’s parents from out-of-state visit us frequently, so I need a large vehicle that can transport all of us when the in-laws are in town. Despite this need for a big vehicle, I don’t like vehicles that “look big.” I want something stylish so as to deemphasize the vehicle’s size.
Given all of that, perhaps this would have been a better email:
I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for the time you’ve spent with me discussing your transportation needs.
Having safe, reliable transportation for your family is of the utmost importance. The [MODEL NAME] provides the best of both worlds for you. It’s big enough to comfortably seat the kids and the grandparents when they’re in town. At the same time, it offers the style and all the extra features you want from a high-performance car.
You mentioned that you liked black as your exterior color. Good news! We have a black one with the [NAME OF UPGRADE PACKAGE] you like. Perhaps you could come back in and test-drive that actual car.
If you have any questions or would like additional information before making a decision, do not hesitate to call me at (###) ###-####. Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to earn your business. I look forward to working with you.
[NAME], Sales Associate
Well, a couple weeks went by, and I never received a personalized email or even a phone call for the sales rep, but I did receive this:
I noticed we have been out of a contact for awhile. I wanted to make certain I have provided all the information you required to make an informed decision.
Our inventory has changed since we last spoke, and I realize your needs may have changed as well. If you have purchased a vehicle elsewhere just drop me a note and I will update my records. If you have any questions, please let me know.
My commitment is to earn your business.
[NAME], Sales Associate
Good grief! It’s like she’s already given up. Even worse, the message is still focused on her agenda and not the customer’s. Let’s face it – most of today’s overworked professionals are so busy they’re barely keeping their heads above water. Very few people would take the time to pick up the phone and call her simply so she can “update her records.”
Please know that this salesperson was very nice and friendly when I met her in person. She did a fairly good job of questioning me and qualifying me. She had the product-knowledge part of her job down pat. But she’s missing out on a great deal of potential opportunity by not zeroing in with razor-sharp focus on exactly what her prospective customers truly care about.
Without focusing on what I value and catering the message as to alleviate my pain-points, the salesperson’s email communications are nothing more than a waste of her time.
Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (402) 637-9300.
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