You’ve Got Questions. Captain Reman Has The Answers.

Last week we received many topic suggestions and even more questions from our readers. I’m going to do my best to answer every single question over the next few weeks. If you’ve got more questions…keep them coming!

Reader Question: Do you have a list of Sales no no’s?
Worst thing in our business are our sales people always saying:
– No I don’t have it here, but I can get it

Today’s society is a “need it right now” society
But, there are ways to combat that; I tell my staff don’t say I can get it, say I have it in my warehouse and ask when do you need it delivered?

My wife orders all the x-mas stuff on line; she doesn’t give a hoot where it comes from just so she is getting it at the price she wants it for and she gets it on time.

Thanks, Sean

Hi Sean-

Great question. This is something that many sales people struggle with. Why? Because you’re trying to balance two seemingly opposing goals:

1. You want to make the sale!
2. You don’t want to overpromise or lie.

Here’s the reality: you’re in a relationship business. The automotive parts business, unlike consumer goods purchased on the internet, is all about the trust you’ve built with your customers. It’s why they’re calling you in the first place. They want your service. They want your warranty. They want your word. They want the same performance that you’ve delivered time and time again over the history of your dealings.

But keep in mind that just because you don’t have something in stock doesn’t mean their need goes away. It means they’re going to call someone else – who will work very hard to build a new relationship with your customer.

Here’s what to do:

a. Start your response with anything other than “No, I don’t have it…” The negative gives callers an easy out.
b. Instead try, “You’re in luck! I see one of these in my network. When are you going to do the work on the car?”
c. Or, “Great news! I found just what you’re looking for. It may take an extra day – but it will be worth the wait. What’s your PO?”
d. The key is to always start with something POSITIVE and FRIENDLY.
e. If asked “So is it at your yard or what?” reply, “Not yet…but I can get it on its way quickly and I’ll put my stamp of approval and warranty on it before I deliver to you.”

BONUS TIP ABOUT TIME: Everybody says they “need” everything right away. Avoid asking, “When do you need it?” because you’ll hear more lies in response to this question than any other. Try, “When are you going to do the work?” or, “When are you going to install it?”

Reader Question: I just got a customer feedback request from my wife’s credit union that addressed me as “null.” No kidding, “Dear null.” Up until that point, I had been pleased with the response I had received from them. So my question is, do surveys make things worse?

Regards, null (aka George)

Dear Null,

The survey itself is not the problem. The problem is that the credit union is focused more on saving money than it is on serving its customers. The reason many people choose credit unions over banks is for the personalized service and high-touch relationship credit unions often provide. The fact that yours sent out an automated survey with a computer generated “personalized” greeting flies in the face of the credit union’s brand promise. This wouldn’t have hurt as much if it were sent by Wells Fargo or Bank of America. You expect to be treated like a number (or a null) by a big bank.

The survey was likely sent by the IT department or a third party service who is so focused on bulk mail rates that nobody thought to scan the file for inaccuracies. Certainly, a human being never put his eyes on your survey. I’ll bet the response rates are strikingly low. And I’ll also bet the survey was not sent by your branch, but by a department at the corporate headquarters that has not interfaced with a customer directly in years.

Should you be mad? Maybe. Should you take your business elsewhere? That’s up to you.

I’d judge the credit union on the experience they give you at the branch itself. How friendly are they? How helpful are they? How diverse are the services offered? How’s their website? How’s their online banking? How’s their bill pay? How’s their drive-up window? How’s their phone system (can you actually get through to a live human being quickly)? How responsive are they to your needs?

So what’s the lesson? Be careful about anything that you send to your customers and prospects. Every touch matters. Every email, every letter, every survey, every phone call, every greeting counts. If you’re addressing people as “null,” that’s how much profit you can expect soon.

PS I’ve been a very happy member of UWCU in Wisconsin since 1996. If you’re reading this and you happen to live in Wisconsin…I wholeheartedly recommend you check out the branch closest to you.

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