They Were All New Customers Once!

posted: Thursday, January 29, 2009

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As salespeople, we all know that repeat customers are a big part of our on-going success and we discuss ways to establish a repeat customer base. There is no doubt that repeat customers are the lifeblood of what we do; however, we never want to forget about the customers out there that have not visited us to this point. I saw something the other day that bothered me and I want to share that experience with you. I was an innocent by stander on this one but what I witnessed was anything but innocent.

I was visiting with a friend who is a sales manager for a car dealership and as we were talking, I was loosely observing a salesperson interact with a young couple looking to buy a mini-van. Everything appeared to be going along fine and my attention turned back towards the conversation with my friend. About ten minutes later, I observed that salesperson still speaking with the young couple when a man in a three piece, suit walked into the showroom. The salesperson's eyes immediately went to that man and he quickly passed the couple onto one of his associates. As I observed more, it became apparent that the man in the suit had purchased multiple vehicles from this salesperson, making him a repeat customer. What I saw was a salesperson passing over a new customer in order to talk to his existing customer.

Here is my question, how do you think repeat customers become repeat customers? I know you know the answer but I ask the question to prove my point. I am not arguing the repeat customer should not be treated as a repeat customer, no what I am arguing is that the young couple should have been treated as repeat customers as well.

All the salesperson had to say was, "Hi Mr. Smith, I'll be right with you after I am finished with these fine people." My guess is the "repeat customer" would have been fine with that, there is obviously a reason he has bought multiple cars from this salesperson. His needs have apparently always been met. The young couple deserves the same customer service that turned the man in the suit into a repeat customer. Repeat customers do not happen unless they are first customers at some point.

FINAO - Brad Huisken - IAS Training

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