Business to Business Online Expos

The Salesman That Couldn’t Lie

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Kurt Russell in Used Cars [1980]

Once upon a time, there was a car salesman that couldn’t lie.

At least this is what he told all the customers who came into his dealership.

None of them believed him.

The End

Isn’t that sad?  I mean, it’s funny, but in a sad way.  Especially because it’s a true story.

That’s right. The car salesman was me. I really was completely, 100% honest with my customers.  I was so transparent to my customers that they almost rarely believed it.

Car salesmen have gotten such a [deservingly] bad rap that it’s almost impossible to get passed the stereotypes.  Not just with the public. I struggled to gain trust from friends who know me and my integrity. For some reason, once they came into the sleazy dealership environment, they looked at me differently, until I proved to them that I was completely on the level.

Staying away from dishonesty as a sales person isn’t easy either. Most companies actually train their sales team with exaggerated info, padded stats, tricks, traps and cheats to ‘get the sale’.  Many of these companies have scripted their process so strictly that the sales person is advised that they may not stray away from it.

When I interviewed for the job with a local Ford franchise, the most important point I made with the manager at the time was, “I won’t lie”.

His response was great and made me feel comfortable.  “You don’t need to lie,” he said. “Just show them the car and be passionate about it and the car will do the sales work for you.”

I liked that response. I took the job.  I sold 9 cars in my first two weeks on the job. [Just to give you an idea, a decent salesman at that location sold 10-12 cars per month.] After that, I averaged 16-18 cars per month, winning salesman of the month multiple times and quickly promoted to “Closer/Assistant Manager” and then “Internet Sales Director”.

What was my secret to success?

My commitment to honesty.

I stayed true to being true because I made a point to actually have genuine care for my customers.  I didn’t just sell them a car, I built a relationship with them–before, during and after the sale.

I did whatever it took to make them feel comfortable and satisfied with my service.

  • I got them drinks or food while they waited to go into sign their contracts.
  • I made sure they got a great teaching on all the features of the car.
  • I followed up with them all the time after the sale and offered them extras like free car washes.
  • Heck, I even counseled and prayed with many of them.

I was more then their salesman; I was their friend. And I never let them down by not standing behind something I said.

Integrity = Success in all businesses.

Don’t take short cuts or play games with your customers.  The truth will set you free.  You won’t always have the largest commissions in the company, but you’ll have more customers, more referrals and you’ll be able to sleep at night.

And if you’re really good, maybe you can re-write a more positive ending to the story of “The Salesman That Couldn’t Lie”.

Have a great day!


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