From the President of the company all the way down to the retail sales associate, every company has their share of opera singers. If you listen closely, you’ll hear them warming up, “me me me me me me me me me me!”
And that’s one of the largest problems with businesses today, they’re all about themselves and instant gratification selling.
Instant Gratification Sales
The car business is one of the most obvious businesses that operate with a ‘sell now and don’t be concerned about the future’ approach. These dealerships actually train their people to hold on to customer’s ankles, lie, spit, beg and steal in order to make them buy something right then and there. And it’s not an unwritten rule. Tactics that most of us consider “sleazy” are actually written in the sales handbook.
At the dealership I used to work at, the General Manager once pondered in a management meeting why lease conversions were down. Meaning, why were people returning their cars and not getting into new lease agreements? The answer was simple. The customer that your company completely screwed over from 2 or 3 years ago didn’t develop amnesia. They remembered the painstaking process your sales team put them through and couldn’t wait to give their business to someone else at the end of their term.
Unfortunately, these tactics have spilled over into all industries. The culture of the business nation today is self serving and focused on immediate results, without considering long term affects.
[Recommended Reading: The Impulse Society–America in the Age of Instant Gratification]
If you put this topic in a search engine, you will find a lot of organizations, authors and advisers who will actually support the instant gratification sales process. Makes no sense to me.
Yes, I want the sale now. Yes, I want to meet monthly goals. Yes, I want to beat my competition. Yes, I want my company to grow. But I don’t want to have a short term victory, I want a lifetime victory.
When I worked in the car biz, one of the reasons that I was told not to let anyone leave is because 9 out of 10 who go, never come back. And generally, this was a legitimate statistic because I watched it unfold before my very eyes with other sales people at the dealership. Notice how I said “with other sales people”.
When it came to customers that I let leave to ‘think about it’, I had an unprecedented return rate [“Be-Back” as they called it] of 60-70%. Managers and salespeople alike couldn’t believe it and constantly asked me what my secret was.
“It’s simple,” I would say. “I didn’t annoy them with skeevey tactics that are obviously intended to trick them into a rapid decision.”
People aren’t dumb. Yet, frequently sales people and executives treat them like they are because they may be unfamiliar with ‘how it works’. What they don’t consider is, today the truth is one Google search away and two thirds of the folks you meet are going to try to verify the stuff your shoveling. If that’s the case, you better be shoveling sparkly soft fairy dust and not that stinky stuff. Cause once you’re exposed, you may still get the sale, but they’ll never forget that you were a shark.
If you’re an ‘all about now’ sales peep, you may sleep fine at night knowing that you annoyed the customer, so long as you got the sale. But I’m telling you that this mindset is a huge mistake. You have to think about the future, even if it means that you don’t get the sale now.
Giving a customer an incredible experience with integrity, good service, honest assessments and a no pressure approach will make them advocates of your business. Not only will they do business with you now [or in the near future], they will tell everyone they know about you. It’s a weird thing with humans. We love to brag about knowing a guy. [“I got a guy”] However, on the other hand, as humans, we also love to tell our friends to stay away from people that didn’t do us right. [“Don’t go there, they ripped me off”]
I don’t need a crystal ball to tell you about your future if you take the Instant Gratifications Sales approach. You may have a nice run, but you won’t have longevity. Make a commitment to giving people good service, even if it costs you the sale, and you will be paid back 100 fold in due time.