I was shopping for a Toyota Sequoia and opted for a dealership close to home. I'd taken one step from my car when I was spotted. From his strategic perch the saleshawk swooped down on me like I was a field mouse.
“Can I help you with anything?” he squawked. I tried giving him the brush-off but he wouldn’t budge. He shadowed me and persisted. Peck, peck, peck. I finally gave in and told him what I was looking for. “We don’t have any,” he replied. Awkward silence.
“Well...are there any in service that I can take a look at?” Again his answer was curt. “We’re not allowed to do that.” Then, as if he’d done something to earn it, he asked, “If I could locate one for you at another dealership would you buy it now?” Was he kidding? I wiggled free from his talons and jumped in my car.
About an hour away was another dealership and I was nervous the drive wasn’t worth it. I was shocked when after several minutes of surveying the lot, no one had approached me. I didn’t spot any Sequoias so I headed to the showroom where Bill smiled and shook my hands. He admitted they too were out of Sequoias and asked if I’d be interested in learning a little more about them before I continued my search. It was a good idea and nice of him to offer.
For the next thirty minutes Bill answered my questions unassumingly, helping me customize a car to my needs. When I finished he asked if I’d like him to check their inventory to determine when one might be in. Sure, I said. He returned shortly. “The soonest we can have your car here is three weeks. If you’d like, I can reserve it for you with no obligation to purchase it.” Waiting three weeks wasn’t ideal but Bill had helped me. I told him it sounded good and he secured the order.
Over the next three weeks, I kept looking and found a dealership a little closer to home with a suitable Sequoia on the lot. I even test drove it but when it came time to close the deal I declined. I wanted to give my business to Bill. He’d earned my trust and I knew he wouldn’t let me down.
Three weeks later I used a train ticket he’d purchased for me and made my way to meet him. Bill picked me up at the station and drove me to the lot where my car was waiting. It was just as I wanted it and I was glad for Bill’s sake that I had waited. He rewrote the selling script and deserved my business. Now I’ll never buy a Toyota from anyone else.
Sometimes all that’s required is spoiling the status quo. The sales profession has the reputation for being slimy and seedy. Often, being yourself and acting out the golden rule is the simplest form of salesmanship. Coincidentally, it’s also the most lucrative.
Prospects don’t respond well to people who sound as if they’re selling something. They respond to people who are courteous and genuine. People who are just regular people. People they could see themselves befriending.