I had an epiphany a few days ago – in a car dealership of all places. My sister was looking for a new car and had asked me to come along with her to negotiate with the sale rep she met a few days earlier.
To protect the guilty, I will not mention the name of the dealership we went to however we were greeted with a warm welcome and immediately ushered into the salesperson’s office where things quickly fell apart. While the salesperson was very much interested in getting to figures, my sister was still trying to figure out if she liked the dealer’s cars and if so, which model to choose. I started asking some questions thinking that this would help her reach a decision. Questions along the lines of fuel efficiency, safety features, maintaining warranty protection, pricing structures – you get the picture. Apparently this was the wrong thing to do. The salesperson was convinced that a certain model was best suited for my sister and seemed offended that she would even have questions, questions that he wasn’t able to answer. The longer we sat there, the more he pushed; the more he pushed the less we listened. Perhaps it was just coincidence that there was an abundance of stock on the model he wanted her to buy; perhaps there really was a computer crash that prevented him from answering our questions but something in my gut (and my sister’s) just wasn’t buying it.
Much like car salespeople, realtors often get a bad rap for being pushy, uninformed, lazy, you name it. Let me be very clear though that my opinion of salespeople is not a negative one. I’ve come to appreciate the difficulty of sales roles and have had the privilege to work with some amazing people along the way. However, sitting across from this particular salesperson I was just a mad and frustrated consumer. I couldn’t figure out why this person was unwilling and/or unable to answer our questions. To make matters worse, I got the distinct feeling that he was trying to push something on my sister because it suited him with complete disregard for her needs and wants.
Reflecting on this experience, it occurred to me that there is a HUGE difference in how salespeople approach their roles. The salespeople I want to deal with are patient, knowledgeable, and listen to the needs and wants of their clients. Much like an educator, they equip me with the knowledge I need to make an informed decision. Conversely, there are those salespeople that come across as pushy, intimidating and self-serving. They are the people I like to think of as skilled at the hard sell.
The next time you meet a salesperson, ask yourself if they are trying to “SELL” you or if they are trying to “EDUCATE” you. You know yourself better than anyone else, including the salesperson you work with. A good salesperson knows this and works hard to give you the information you need to be comfortable making a decision for yourself. Next time you find yourself in a car dealership (or real estate office), look for the signs of a true educator and hang on tight when you do!
AS AN ASIDE: I walked into another dealership two days after the first salesperson debacle and had ALL my questions answered by a simply FANTASTIC sales person. My sister went back a day later armed with all the information she needed to make an informed decision and is now thrilled with her brand new car.
If you are looking for a non-slimy salesperson, I would love to hear from you! I can be reached at 905.338.9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out www.lindsaywalls.com for further information and opinions on the Oakville real estate market.