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Avoiding the “How’s it going?” Call

I bought a car here in Scottsdale about a month ago. Actually a Nissan Pathfinder. Needed something besides a two-seat convertible to haul people and things.

Right now dealers are verrrrry motivated to move vehicles off the lot. Especially SUV’s. As a result, the sales process was the typical, “What are you looking to pay?”, and “If I can get that number do we have a deal?” type questions. I actually wasn’t necessarily looking to get a vehicle right then and there, and usually don’t get involved in that type of circus activity, but after several rounds of me throwing crazy-low numbers out, and them replying with “Let me take this to my manager,” they came up with such a smokin’ hot deal I couldn’t resist.

Over the next several weeks I received a few calls on my cell phone voice mail from the young, relatively new sales rep, each one pretty much the same: “Hey, just wanted to be sure everything is OK with the car. Give me a call.”

Well, to me that is a worthless call, and I felt there was another motive. I never did return the calls.

Finally I answered live earlier this week and the call went the same:

“How’s everything going with the car?”

Just fine, I replied.

“Know anyone else looking for a car?”, he then asked.

Not right now, I told him. But I did say, “By the way, I still have not received my plates yet. Can you check on that?”

He assured me he would. But has not gotten back to me.

Several sales points here:

1. Some people might say the “Want to be sure everything is OK”-call is good customer service. No, usually it is a thin disguise for a self-serving motive, which it was in this case: asking for a referral. I’m not saying don’t call. Do. But have something of value or interest as the reason. He had known the issue about the plates before, so he should have called with an update on them. Or some other news, or something of value like info on the free oil changes I was promised.

2. I’m all for asking for referrals. The best time to do it is when you have just been told how good you are, or how much someone enjoys your product.

3. If someone is going to make the effort to place a call to supposedly find out if “everything is going OK” and then is told it is not (no plates yet), shouldn’t they then follow through to give the appearance that they truly care that everything is OK? I believe so.

Of course calling existing customers is your best source of additional business and referrals. The key is making someone feel that every time they speak with you they had gained by doing so.

I’d like to see comments from those of you making calls to regular customers, and what types of value-add reasons you have for calling.

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  1. 2 Comment(s)

  2. By Russ Salo on Oct 17, 2008 | Reply

    Adding value to a follow up call is a disiplined routine that needs to be researched & planned out. Get one customers unique -or “Idiosyncratic” perspective - usage style on your product & roll that into the reason for the call. Car salesmen are a breed apart -there are VERY few salespeople selling cars -I recently took one of the 23 yr old kids looking to sell me when I was in the new car market & mentioned to him after sitting in the lobby & could hear him reciting verbatim the words in this post -I mentioned to him one thing i’d do if I was in his shoes. People buying a new car do so every 3-5 yrs -when they’re ready, the process of going round to different dealers haggling -fighting -gathering brochures, for the garbage ect takes about 3 -5 weeks I’d bet -in that time there’s lots of time for a well planned sales regimen involving the prospect first -what brings you by today? Car Sales people are GUILTY of TELLING - they never seem to sit & ask what you’re there for -maybe your wife is next door at the Wal Mart & you’re kiliing time? Secondly -calling the prospect & staing in a clear moderate tone -”Jim -you were in to see me 12 days ago & we talked about that new SUV -if you still have not purchased I’d like to ask you to please come by again & purchase your new car from me” Car sales people rarely seem to ask for the sale - “You know what -I’d love to sell you this new car”

    gpstogo.ca

  3. By Kevin on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    I am in charge of getting through to our current customer base. My time is split 50% customer support/50% new business. When I am calling to handle issues with them and address previous issues, an opportunity comes out of it. However, when nothing has been addressed or I am trying to sell them on something, it usually brings up a wall. The tone in my voice changes from my sales voice to my customer support voice. Must be big difference to customer.

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