Sales Training Lesson: Bugs in the Potato Salad

buginpotatosalad“It only takes one bug in the potato salad to ruin a picnic,” according to one of the little old ladies I went to church with as a child.  As I move further away from a precocious child and closer to being a sweet little old lady, I am realizing that she was not registering a complaint about church picnics, but planting a seed of wisdom that would develop as I grew older.  One little bug can ruin the delicious experiences of life.

While on vacation, I get a desperate call from one of my friends.  She had been in a rollover accident and was already dreading having to go buy a new car.  My assistance was requested as soon as I got back to take her shopping for the right vehicle for her and the family.

This is the third new car she has had to purchase in three years.  One vehicle was a mechanical disaster and was determined to be a lemon, the second one was a bad match between needs and what the dealership sold her and the third vehicle she totaled in this accident.  For the past three years, I have heard her complaints and statements.  She criticized me and questioned how I could sleep at night working in such a deceitful industry.   I will admit, from her experiences, this was a less than cheerful industry and I have been on a mission to change this viewpoint.

Her need for a new vehicle was more immediate than my return, so I suggested she go to a dealership that I have a great professional relationship with.  Don’t get me wrong.  I was not sending her there for the friends and family discount, but to sway her opinion about car dealerships and the experience of buy a car.

My friend called me from the dealership bubbling with the news that she found her new car, how amazing the salesperson has been and thanked me for steering her in this direction.  She was currently waiting to see the finance department and work out the terms for her loan, but would send me a picture as soon as she had the keys but before she drove off the lot.  I think I might have been as excited and pleased as she was.  I thought I had transformed another auto industry “Debbie Downer” into a “Raving Fan”.

Just a few minutes later, I get another phone call.  This time I could hear the frustration in her voice as she whispered to me on the phone, “Stephanie, why do I need Gap Insurance on a car when I am putting down half?  Does this kind of vehicle depreciate that fast?”  I assured her that she does not need Gap Insurance if that is the case and made some excuse that the finance person must be new or distracted.

My phone rings again about an hour later.  Before I could even say hello, the barrage of upset is so swift that she is taking punctuated breaths.  There was some correlation in her story line between a need for more insurance and the assumption she was going to total this car out in the next year.  She even mentioned that the finance person was speaking ill of the General Manager.  I was taken back by this “judge a book by its cover” story and lack of professional tact. With caution I asked, “Did you buy the car?”  “Yes!  Only because the nice salesperson could see I was frustrated, so he came in to help me out,” was her still venomous reply.  Of course, I asked for the salesperson’s name so that I could send over kudos.

The salesperson learned something during their automotive sales training and was able to save the sale, but was not able to sway her opinion on dealerships as a whole.  Stephanie’s friend score: 1…she bought a new car without Gap Insurance.  Stephanie’s score: 0…I still have to listen to how can I live with myself and work in the auto industry because of one bug in the potato salad.


The Manus Group Stephanie YoungAbout the Author

Stephanie Young is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Manus Group, where she is an active blogger, social media contributor and spokesperson for one of the nation’s leading automotive recruiting and training firms. In here spare time, Stephanie mentors and encourages  young woman to pursue their interests in STEM field careers and is the driving force in her “Share the Love…Be a Volunteer” program.

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Copyright © 2016, Stephanie Young All rights reserved.

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