[editor’s note: In a recent post, we discussed the idea of “selling past the close.” In customer research, this occurs when a rep provides phenomenal service, but still shamelessly asks the customer to give her/him high scores on the follow-up satisfaction survey.
Strong sales people should never do this; it simply stains an otherwise ideal experience that will already garner high scores. Ryan’s story is a perfect illustration of this.]
Admission of Anxiety
Buying a new car scares me. Not from any direct experience, but from all the pressure we expect from car salespeople. So like many of us, I have avoided the experience.
Previously, the only car I had ever bought from a dealership was from Saturn, which has the reassuring motto: “No haggle, No hassle.” The sticker price on the window is the price you pay- no negotiations.
I like that motto.
But this week I decided to be brave. I decided to step up to the plate, to take the bull by the horns, to belly up to the bar, stand up for my rights, to boldly go where no man…okay, I got off track.
The Sales Experience
The point is, I was expecting it to go poorly. But the salesman I dealt with was great. He was friendly and easy to talk to. In fact, he wasn’t remotely pushy during the sales process.
He showed me my options and let me test drive the car that I was interested in. He seemed to be honest about the estimated payments and the trade in value of my previous car. He even explained that I may want to pay some more on my Saturn before purchasing a new car. No pressure at all.
After a little bit of haggling and re-working the numbers, I decided to go for it and am now the proud owner of a black and sporty 2009 Mazda CX7. (Let me know if you need a ride to work).
I feel really good about the whole experience and have no regrets on my decision. (I’d give my salesman five magnets!)
But an awkward thing happened after we finalized the sale.
The rep told me that I would soon receive a phone call from Mazda’s corporate headquarters. He even showed me a copy of the survey I’d be taking when they called.
He added that he would really appreciate it if I would give them high scores because it would make the dealership look good.
I would have definitely given them high marks (and I probably still) will based on the service I received. There was no reason to undermine a positive experience with an awkward appeal for a high score. It brought up feelings of guilt and slightly soured an otherwise great experience.
So why sell past the close? I was already elated. Don’t ruin it.