Excellent customer service involves listening....

Real Estate Broker/Owner with 406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty RRE-BRO-LIC-75443

I am in the market for a new vehicle. As much as I hate to part with my current Volvo C70 convertible (I am going to miss that fabulous turbo engine and open air), I need to move on. My current car is simply not practical for my business, the Northeast, or some of those roads I need to drive on. So I'm now in the market for an AWD SUV.


I started my car shopping by researching on various manufacturer websites. Based on my top requirements, I've weeded out a lot of brands and models, and I now have a list of five different SUVs I would like to see and test drive. Yesterday was my first foray out into the always-dreaded car shopping fun fest; I decided to start my research with two different brands at dealers near each other. How different both experiences were!


At the first dealer, a sales person was outside in front of the main doors, and he said "Hi" and I said "Hi" and he said, "Do you need any assistance?" And I said "Actually, I do," and I told him what I wanted to see. So he said "Sure" and we went inside to talk. He didn't seem rushed at all; he took the time to listen to my requirements of a vehicle, and he asked questions about my need for a new car, and my use of it, and he asked questions about my job. He also asked what else I was looking at. It was evident he actually heard what I said because when we went to see the car, he opened the back door and invited me to hop in and see what the experience would be for my clients. He explained some negative feedback I had read online when I asked about it. He provided information on why the vehicle he was selling was better than some of the others I was looking at. He asked me what I thought of the pickup after we test drove the car (one of my requirements is an engine with "balls"). He took some time to get a car from down the street for me to drive since there were none on the lot. Because he listened and paid attention to my questions and needs, I left the dealership with an excellent feeling about both the vehicle, and the sales person.


Based on that positive experience, I moved on to the next dealer and brand. This second brand has very high ratings, and I was expecting to love it. I drove up and walked in just as the person at the reception desk was walking away. She saw me, hesitated, and kept walking but then turned around and asked if I needed something. I said I needed to talk to a sales person and she said she'd get someone and she walked away. Then I was approached by someone else who asked what I needed and I said the same thing and she said she'd get someone. Then the manager came over and said one of his sales people would help and finally someone came over to help me. I was glad no one jumped on me the minute I walked in, but it seemed as though they didn't really want to sell anything that afternoon.


This sales person was in a rush. I could feel that he just wanted to hurry me through the meeting and test drive. He brought me over to the model I asked about and went through his sales pitch about how great it was. If he bothered to listen, he wouldn't have had to do so; I already knew this was the model I wanted to see/drive. When I asked what made this better than the model I had just seen, he glossed over the answer and when I pressed for details he just said the same thing in a different way. He basically handed me the keys and told me to take the car for a ten minute ride while he looked at my current car to give me an estimate. So I took the car for a ten minute ride (and did return it like a good girl). I didn't like the car at all. When I got back, the sales person said, "So, how did you like it?" and I said, "Eh, it was okay" and he said, "Great, you liked it! Here's what we would give you for your car and what we would charge for the new one." I took the information and left. I was very unimpressed by the experience.


So here's the deal. The first sales person listened, took the time to assist me, responded to all my comments and questions with well thought out responses. The second sales person rushed me along and acted, quite frankly, as though I were getting in the way of his day. He didn't listen to my words or tone and didn't take my questions seriously. I would absolutely use the first salesperson if I decide to purchase that brand, but I would never use the second one if I were to purchase that car.  


This is yet another example that excellent customer service involves listening. If you provide a customer service job and don't listen, you won't do well. But if you can use those two ears as they were intended, you will rock on your way up to success.




Posted by

Licensed Broker, CBR®


eXp Realty LLC

P.O. Box 10458

Kalispell, MT 59904


email: kat@thehousekat.com



406-270-3667 (MT)


facebook    Kat's Homes



Comments (21)

Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

It is almpst always a hit or miss proposition when car searching and finding the right sales approach. That being aside find a Jeep dealer and look at a Grand Cherokee with the hemi engine and test drive one. You don't have to like it Kat but it does have, how did you say it, some "balls". 

Sep 02, 2015 12:37 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

As the old saying goes Kat Palmiotti  : "God gave us two ears and one mouth". Two many sales people (in every field) have not figured that out.

Sep 02, 2015 12:53 AM
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

If every experience at a car dealership was like the first guy then car dealerships wouldn't have the negative reputation they have. I bet that guy sells a lot of cars simply by getting to know his customer. 

Sep 02, 2015 01:00 AM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

Kat Palmiotti,  Amen to that! If the customer service specialist or salesperson doesn't listen that is a huge mistake.

Sep 02, 2015 01:01 AM
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Yeah I dont blame you I had the same thing happen to me at a dealership about 10 years ago out here. Was buying a very expensive car and looked like a bum (I like to be unassuming). No one would even talk to me. Before leaving, my wife needed to use the restroom and about 10 salesman (yeah she is much prettier in person than picture and picture is not too bad) about fell over trying to talk to her and I laughed. Since then I have bought nearly 10 cars from their competitor. Simply stupid but it happens ALL the time. Only advice is buy your new one that is practical but KEEP the convertible and enjoy it or you will regret not having it

Sep 02, 2015 02:03 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

It is indeed pretty amazing. You are right, people need to brush up on their listening skills! I would also not use somebody like that second person.

Sep 02, 2015 07:47 AM
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Good morning Kat. You're right, the listening part of the sales process is invaluable, as the other person will always know. Hope you found the right vehicle.

Sep 02, 2015 07:51 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

 Roger - Those are great tips. I will do that!

Kevin - Thanks for the tip - I will have to see if they meet my other criteria!

RealMan - That's the truth.

Nicole - Absolutely, I bet he does as well!

Sybil - Yes, it is a huge mistake. I'll just go elsewhere. 

David - I am thinking of keeping it but I don't know if I really want more than one car....  I will miss it though.

Barbara-Jo - Me neither!  I should mail him a box of Q-Tips.

Joe - I'm still on the hunt; I probably won't be able to look at anything else until this weekend.

Sep 02, 2015 09:05 PM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Kat, it certainly sounds like the folks at the first dealership know how to take care of people.  And, they will probably sell more cars because they do.

Sep 02, 2015 09:20 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kat, these sales people can make or break a deal, no matter how nice the car is.  Sad you were treated like they did not have time for you.

Sep 04, 2015 11:07 PM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Yes Kat ... listening is very important, but listening to some car sales people ... well ... good luck with that ;o/

I don't trust any of them ...

My suggestion would be to continue researching over the web, magazines and start asking people that drive SUV's around you.

Then find out which car dealer has the best track record, service department and then pull the trigger ;o)

Sep 06, 2015 04:07 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Gabe - I think you are right!

Joan - Indeed. And they haven't called me yet to follow-up. They don't need my business.

Alaska Bob - I totally agree. I did that and took four for test drives and believe I have the winner.  

Sep 06, 2015 06:08 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Nobody wants to feel rushed and or a bother. If a salesperson is patient with me he will likely get the sale if it is a product I want. I don't think the second dealership wanted a sale that day.

Sep 07, 2015 10:45 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Debbie - Yes, the individual attention is needed. I think the second dealership just thought a deal would happen. It didn't!

Sep 08, 2015 01:48 AM
John Meussner
Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, MD, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

So did ya buy the first one?  Sales skills are an art, and don't involve being pushy or a know it all - more often than not, it is simply a matter of listening.

Sep 09, 2015 06:07 AM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Howdy Kat.  It is often said it is easy to sell a salesman.  i feel just the opposite when dealing with a good sales person.  We know the scripts, know when someone is "listening" not just bobbing their head, and most of all when our needs come first not theirs.  I suspect Salesman #1 is how you treat your clients and settle for nothing less in return.    Make it a great day.  Mark

Sep 09, 2015 01:34 PM
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Listening is an essential element of our long term success.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Sep 12, 2015 11:58 AM
Alan Kirkpatrick
Austin Texas Homes - Round Rock, TX
Alan in Austin

Kat Palmiotti 

I tend to buy from people who know the product and can teach me what I need to know to maximize its use. 

Sep 14, 2015 07:29 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

John - Yes, listening is key and no, I didn't buy either one of those cars! I picked a totally different one.

Mark - Thank you! I like to think that's how my clients see me (#1) as well!

Lou - It sure is!

Alan - And knowing the product while listening and responding appropriately is a great help in making the sale.

Sep 14, 2015 07:42 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Kat --- a tale of two very different customer service experiences highlighting the importance of truly listening.  On a side note, I'm of a belief that everyone should own a convertible at least once in your life -- I'm sure it's going to be difficult to give up your Volvo but your decision seems very valid.  

Sep 16, 2015 10:36 PM