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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Jul 2010



This  case is built around a known company and a major motor car dealer. Both will remain anonymous to protect the innocent and the guilty. Why not see how many issues you can find?

The directors of the company we know decided to replace their cars and chose contract hire as the way to finance them. They then trawled the market and identified a few models to look at and following this they decided on their choice. It was a particularly good deal and they set off to the dealership to sort the details and enjoy the uplifting experience of buying a new car. Their salesperson was very attentive and once in control of the detail started the process of identifying the whereabouts of the cars. Then came the first problem; the advertised model was no longer available but there was a new model with a few more "go faster" features, which obviously cost more. The buyers didn't want the extras and there started a two hour negotiation, involving the sales person, their manager and an area manager. At the end of the day a deal was agreed at the advertised price and the deposit paid but the hoped for uplifting experience had longed passed.

Nothing happened for three weeks and suddenly they received an email from the dealer's financing arm saying that their order was progressing, and great news the gismos they didn't want were included on a complimentary basis. The buyers were a bit confused by this as they had been allocated cars without them, and when they read the email in detail, the dealer's definition of complimentary meant £30 a month more! They were incandescent, and immediately called the salesperson at the dealership. They calmly explained their position, and were told that the cars they ordered were no longer available and to make matters worse the new price stood. At this point their calmness disappeared and demanded to speak to the dealership's director. Once again they explained what had happened and the director said he would sort it all out. After a further two days where the dealer spent a lot of time trying to meet the buyer's requirements a new deal at the original price was done. Three weeks later the buyers were told they had failed the financing company's credit checks. The saga continued but for the point of this news letter we will close it at this point. We identified some serious issues in the sales process.

The salesperson overwhelmed by the possibility of selling two brand new cars forgot the basics of selling. He did not qualify the opportunity. Had he asked the financing company to run a credit check, before getting deeply involved in vehicle availability, he would have found that the buyers did not have budget for the purchase. Not only did he waste sales time he wasted significant amounts of management and other people's time.

Secondly, don't advertise what you can't deliver as this was the cause of the problems.

Next, it is always easier to sell what the customer wants not what you can make. This is how Toyota competed with the motor industry to become the biggest car manufacturer in the world

Finally, don't make a promise then break it, and don't break it twice as happened here.

How did the buyers feel? The following statement aptly summarises their view. "It takes years to earn loyalty but not long to lose it".

 Information taken from Newsletter issue 61 - June 2010

Steve Rowe, Director

Koru Consulting Limited

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