Young woman collecting new car

No one enjoys being “sold”. But sometimes good selling sneaks up on you.

Professionalism, precision and style work in harmony for a proverbial win-win.

Last month, it happened to me…while buying an used car of all things. One of my daughters needed a car. This was the first auto she would pay for herself.

Moving to a new city “up north”, safety, reliability and ALL WHEEL drive were her primary concerns.

Oh, and she’s about 5 feet tall, so it had to be the “right size”. (Yes, you CAN search for cars for “short people”.)

She did the research on her preferred make and model. I volunteered to do the shopping. Now, I was off…model, special requirements and budget in mind.

As I walked into this USED CAR dealership, I was immediately greeted by Cheryl, the salesperson. She smiled and then added a question or two to get the ball rolling about what I wanted. Good first impression from the start. Client and prospect greetings matter…they can’t be left to chance.

By contrast, the last time I was in an expensive auto showroom, I was searching for a sleek German driving machine. There the receptionist battled for 10 minutes just to find “the next guy up”. I was the only customer around. This left me twiddling my thumbs.

Score one for the used car lot.

Zip for German car showroom.

Next step, test drive. In both car quests, I knew exactly what I wanted before I arrived at the dealership. So it was just a matter of taking a couple spins around the block and I’d be ready to write a check.

The used car folks made it easy. Immediately taken to the section of the lot with the right model, I only had to pick the preferred car. Within a few minutes we were off cruising through a route intentionally chosen for a variety of driving conditions.

On the test drive, I even tried to throw a monkey wrench into the situation…”Is this a good car for a short person?” The saleswoman didn’t lose a beat. She knew how to handle the questions that seemingly appeared from left field.

Another point for the used car folks.

With my luxury car salesman, he struggled to locate the right model on the lot. Then took an additional 15 minutes to go inside to find a key. Went back inside to find a dealer’s tag. And finally back again a third time to copy my license. Lots of thumb twiddling.

The test drive took me through heavy traffic. No opportunity to really let loose. No variance from poorly planned route.

Having owned an earlier version of this particular car, I asked about model year upgrades. My uninspiring passenger couldn’t answer even the basic questions. I REALLY wanted the car so I forged on. Probably should have asked for a different sales guy.

Again zero for fancy car showroom.
Makes me think of the financial advice biz. The way you treat a prospect reflects on the way they perceive your future value…it’s your test drive.

So now I was ready to finish the deal for my daughter’s car. But I dreaded the paperwork.

Even when paying cash, most dealers put you through a torturous round of options, alternatives and warranty considerations designed to vacuum your wallet of a few more bucks.

Not this time.

After a surprisingly short wait, the business manager was ready. She politely ensured I didn’t need financing. Double-checked to see if I knew the warranty options (covered during the test drive). And simultaneously had me sign the required paperwork while scanning a copy for my files.

Fast, smooth and efficient.

Back at the lux car dealer. Paying was worse than the test drive. Check in hand. Finishing the deal on the German car was slow and painful.

More waiting.

Several muffled attempts to sell more stuff.

Even more waiting.

Botched paperwork.

And I still needed to come back the next day to finish the purchase.

Final tally. Score three for the used car lot. Goose egg for the other guy.
Do car sales have anything to do with the financial advice business?

Yup. Plenty of similarities. Might ask yourself.

– Have you refined your new client experience?
– Does your professionalism shine through?
– Or do some new clients wonder if they picked a lemon?

Whether your selling a Chevy or Beemer, it’s worth pondering before you head out for your next client test run.

BTW, this tale takes a turn for the worse in Part 2 when I had an after the sale disaster.

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