It is often said that sales is the best paying hard work, and the worst paying easy work in the world. That statement sums it up pretty well. Unfortunately far too many prefer to get into sales and sit back and wait for leads to come to them. Under the best of conditions that formula is a way to make a meager income, under adverse conditions it is a formula for raising skinny kids.
When I was managing a sales team for a builder, I was often shopping other builder's models to learn what they were offering so we could stay competitive. If the sales person didn't know me, I would introduce myself as a Realtor and would give them my Real Estate card. As a Realtor I could get information that I was looking for, but more so could get on their follow up distribution list to learn what promotions they would have long after my visit. Something else I could measure was the salesperson's follow through skills. I gave them my cell phone, home address, and personal email so that they could follow through with me. The irony is how few actually did. Those who did a good job following through with me went into my wish list file as potential sales people when I was looking for new personnel.
Once again this week I was given an outstanding example of how poor most sales people do their jobs. My son's car was totaled last week, the insurance company settled with us, so he had cash burning a hole in his pocket to get another car. He also had a deadline to beat because the insurance company would stop paying for his rental car today. On Wednesday evening I went to a dealer to see a car they told me about, and they puppy dog closed me by sending it home with me. Thursday morning I took this car to a Realtor meeting. On the way home, I stopped by 8 more dealerships driving another dealer's car, with a dealer plate in the window, and paint on the windshield. At each location I met a salesperson, told them my exact search grid, price, needed features, and told them we had cash and would buy within 24 hours.
With each one, I told them that I would be meeting with my son after he got off work, and we would start shopping together. I gave each my card and told them to email me whatever cars they had that fit my search grid, I held up my Blackberry and told each that when he and I went shopping we would be using my Blackberry to look at what is available and come to each dealer and salesperson who sent me their list.
Of those 8 car salesmen, whom many had told me that 1. they didn't get paid for the Cash for Clunkers that they sold, and won't until the government pays their dealer. and 2. that it is very difficult to get financing on cars in the price range my son was looking. So they have a buyer standing here with cash and will buy today, all they have to do is email me a list of their cars. How many do you think followed through? There were only 3 of the 8 that I heard from at all. Of those, one we had to call back to get his participation since we were interested in his car, since we had it over night. We shopped all three, and he bought his car last night. All three who followed through did an excellent job, one actually had the very car my son was dreaming of, and when they met our price, it was all over. However, if that car wasn't affordable, we would have been back dealing with the other two and would have bought one of those. Those who didn't get back with us, simply were not in the game.
I have always believed it only takes a little extra to be Extraordinary over the ordinary salesperson. However, I have a hard time believing that following through as a client told you exactly what and when they wanted you to was doing something that would be considered extra. You would think that would be ordinary. However, I guess it is much like the saying that common sense isn't very common anymore either.
If you are looking for a car, or if you are in sales management looking for good sales people. Congratulations to Mike Bragg with Tom Wood Subaru, his car didn't get the sale, but he did what he needed to do to stay in the game. Congratulations to Jason Wetzel with Butler Hyundai, he too did his follow through, and had THE car.