Hard Sell may Backfire in Selling Tires
The first impression plays a crucial role in making or breaking a deal. A potential sale, for example, can easily go up in smoke if the salesperson seems to be too eager to push his product, with an air of someone who just wants to close the sale before the customer can change his mind.
On the other hand, a salesperson who shows interest in the client’s needs and requirements, though it may mean slowing down the process, will go home smiling. The buyer, too, will feel reassured and have confidence in the deal. Barring a few exceptions, this is the rule of thumb in all businesses.
In his book, “Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes”, Customer Service Strategist and Professional Speaker, Jeff Mowatt argues that the concept of ‘faster the better’ does more harm than good in business. Returning customers’ calls within 24 hours and providing speedy service may look good look on paper, but can backfire if clients get an impression – at times, false – that they are nothing more than a load that needs to be ‘taken care of’. What needs to be put across, says Mowatt, is a feeling that the company understands the client and is trying to build a more personal relationship.
Putting the theory to test in the automobiles industry, imagine trying to buy a tire in a hurry. Needless to say, a quick job would fail, because unlike other commodities, understanding how a tire works for different vehicles is not easy. In addition to the fact that tire safety and handling are valid concerns that buyers need to be reassured about, the cost factor also comes into play. Tires comprise an important chunk of automobile budget. Salespersons looking for quick sales may end up with disgruntled and dissatisfied clients, or at times, no clients at all.
Mowatt holds managers responsible for this state of affairs. Generally, he says, it is not the service representatives who want to rush ahead in a deal, but the managers who prod them to speed up. With this carrot-and-stick policy where numbers or service standards are the yardsticks to measure the performance of frontline employees, the results tend to be counterproductive.
By prioritizing effective service standards like quality, courtesy, safety, innovation, etc., company representatives can gain valuable customer loyalty. Such standards can guide frontline employees in making appropriate decisions, without having to refer to the manager.
A company’s frontline employees are the first point of contact and, in many ways, their behavior determines the outcome of a client-company relationship. This is why businesses should revise their service standards and ensure that they are not primarily focused on speed. This would be the test of the real impact on both employees and customers.