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The Salesperson Represents the Team

March 20, 2013
By: Frank Lee, Implement & Tractor Sales Tips Columnist

FrankLeeIt was late Friday afternoon when Jim, a salesperson at a dealership, got a call from an irate customer who had a  problem with a piece of equipment that Jim had sold him a few weeks earlier.

"Don’t worry," Jim said, "I’ll connect you to the service department. They will take good care of you."

The customer responded, "I didn’t buy from your service department, I bought from you!"

Jim was stunned. He immediately apologized and said he would take care of it. He worked with his service department late into the evening getting the piece repaired, checking in with the customer regularly to let him know how the job was progressing.

Dave, another salesperson, had just completed a sale. He told the customer he would now introduce him to the service manager who would be able to handle all his service needs. His customer looked at him belligerently and told him, "I didn’t buy from your service manager. I bought from you!"

What do you prefer? I know a salesperson who prefers his customers to call him when they have a problem so he can handle this with his service department and make sure the matter gets taken care of. He feels he keeps control of the customer. Other salespeople told him they didn’t have time to do that; they were too busy selling. He pointed out he sold more than all of them and he still found time to take care of his customers’ problems.

Some salespeople say they prefer the customer to go direct to the service department because they feel the service department is in a better position to help them. They feel their acting as a middleman hurts rather than helps.

While some would prefer that the customer go direct to the service department, they don’t trust their service department to treat customers right. So they act as the middleman.

What do you prefer?

Why do customers react this way? A few are just plain difficult and want to dominate the salesperson’s time. A few have had bad experiences with the service department. Most simply want to know that they will be taken care of and they trust the salesperson to do that.

When they say, "I bought from you," they are actually complimenting the salesperson. Rather than viewing this as a negative, the salesperson can capitalize on the customer’s trust by responding in a professional manner.

How do you respond? Recently, a salesperson asked how he should respond to a customer who tells him, "I bought from you!"

Here’s what I told him.

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