Manage now, market later

There’s a proverbial saying that when it comes to the car business, “There is no tomorrow,” which means your best opportunity to make a sale is the customer seated in front of you, right now. I remember my first month in the business, I literally had a notebook full of names and notes of customers who promised me they would be back-15 years later, I’m starting to think that those customers aren’t coming back.

Many sales consultants are single minded; some consultants focus only on today’s customer, but the minute the customer decides not buy from them right here, right now, it’s as if the agents from Men in Black swooped in and wiped any memory of that customer from the salesperson’s mind (unless of course they come back and buy from another salesperson, then they remember them). Other sales consultants have the right here, right now mindset as well, except they are so terrified of asking for the customer’s business, right now, that they set the customer up on the eternal appointment system hoping some day they can work something out.

Most of us sell the way we like to be sold; some of us are impulsive while others of us plan the day, date, and time we will buy a pack of gum. Great salespeople are bi-polar and have the duality of mindsets; they have a Manage now and market later mindset. If these salespeople were investment bankers they would take a short term (manage) and long -term (marketing) approach. The short-term approach is riskier and pays a large dividend because of the risk; a long-term approach is less risky and takes a longer time from to realize actual gains.

In the short term, salespeople manage their opportunity by discovering their customer’s needs-accentuate their wants, and create the sense of urgency (hype) that now is the best time to buy.  After exhausting every possible avenue, that salesperson then shifts into a long-term (marketing) mindset and begins to market to the customer. It’s not the customer’s job to remember his name- it’s the salesperson’s obligation to make sure the customer never forgets it. In order to become unforgettable, this salesperson begins a long-term marketing approach by immediately sending his customer an email (or video) thanking him for his time as well as highlighting today’s meeting.  (Note: even if the customer was rude and nasty, send the email anyway. This is your opportunity to change the way they think about salespeople). Marketing is a long-tem approach, which involves utilizing phone, text, as well as emailing of articles of interest, both personal (focused on the customer’s hobbies, favorite sports teams, charitable organizations, etc) and professional (i.e. reviews, comparisons, as well as offering alternative new and used models).

Many salespeople feel like a failure when they aren’t able to “close” the customer today. Remember, it’s not what your customers did that matters-it’s what you did not do that counts. Maximize the moments with your customers and exhaust every opportunity you have today. When that doesn’t work (odds are it won’t) shift into a long-term marketing approach and make yourself positively unforgettable. 

I’ll see you next time on the blacktop. 

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