When sales and customer service collide

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how sales and customer service combine to create a hopefully positive experience. And then, by coincidence, one of our loyal subscribers, Heidi Reslow, shared a story about someone buying a new car. As she read the story, I realized that the seller wasn’t just selling a car. He created an experience for his client. This is where sales and customer service collide. And by the way, you will enjoy this story even if you are not in sales.

Here is the short version. Brian Knight, a professional speaker on team performance, posted the story on his blog. He opened with this statement: “I bought a new car yesterday. It almost didn’t happen except through the extraordinary effort of a woman named Suzanne.”

Brian and his family needed a car. After doing some research online, he found a dealership (the Genesis dealership in Littleton, Colorado) that had what he wanted. After visiting the dealership and speaking with Suzanne, the salesperson, it was too late to close the deal. But even though the next day was Suzanne’s day off, she said she would come over to do the paperwork. Unfortunately, Brian couldn’t leave the house to meet her at the dealership. Without missing a beat, Suzanne said that she would come to the house with the car.

Some might say that she was a hungry saleswoman who would do almost anything to get the sale. That may be true for some, but there was a car shortage at the time. The dealer just needed to stay open, and customers would come in and buy. Suzanne could have said, “I’m sorry. If you can’t come tomorrow, I can’t guarantee someone else won’t come and buy the car.” And by the way, that’s probably what would have happened.

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But Suzanne wanted to take care of her new client, not just sell him a car. Suzanne created an experience, one that Brian wanted to share with the world. And he he he has.

Car demand hasn’t always been so crazy. Just a few years ago, it took a lot of effort for a customer to come in and buy a car. Dealers would advertise and negotiate to make a sale. And this is where the story gets better.

When Brian was in Suzanne’s office for the first time, he noticed a huge trophy with his name engraved six times, along with the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Brian asked about the trophy and Suzanne said confidently: “Seller of the year. I have never lost. And it is Brian’s prediction that he will win again in 2022.

The point is that sales and service are so closely intertwined that they combine to create an experience. Customer service is not what happens when things go wrong. It happens throughout the entire experience, from the moment a customer only thinks about doing business with you until he actually does it. Then it all starts over again when the customer returns. And that’s what selling with service is all about. Create the experience that makes customers not only buy today, but also say: “I’ll be right back” morning.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, visit www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

Shep Hyken
Shepard Presentations, LLC.

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