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Taking A Closer Look - Lessons from the Vision Care Store

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Ever notice salespeople and sales processes when you are away from the dealership just being a regular consumer of products and services? Maybe it's because we are in the training business, but we are always hypersensitive to the good and bad in other businesses salespeople and processes. You should also be a student of sales process wherever you are exposed to it.

Here's a tale of two optometry stores that illustrates a common pitfall automotive salespeople fall into: not taking a shopping customer seriously. My wife had been in to get an eye exam and an update on her eyeglasses prescription. She was undecided on the frame selection but planned on getting two pairs for her updated prescription.

When she was leaving the first store not sure about the frames, the salesperson gave her the sample sets of her top two choices to take home and show the family. They also told her that no matter what other styles or brand or color variation she might see and like better anywhere, they would order them in for her. No matter what you want we will take care of you was the parting message.

On to store number two. She walked in and said to the salesperson: "I've just got a new prescription and have been at South Island Optometry looking at frames and I wanted to see what you have." The salesperson visibly deflated, pointed her to the displays, and went back to some computer work. She asked a few questions as she was trying on many different pairs and each time the salesperson looked like it was an interruption to the important work they were doing on the computer. As we were preparing to leave, 30 minutes later, the salesperson suggested that their other location across town maybe might have some more selection or different inventory. Yikes!
Pop quiz: what didn't the second salesperson understand about the opportunity?
•    The customer has a need that has not yet been filled.
•    The customer came in because they thought you might have what they want.
•    The customer hasn't heard anything bad about your company. If they had they probably wouldn't have come in.
•    They did not buy at the first place even though that is where they got the eye exam and updated prescription.
•    Because the prescription has changed, it is no longer a "want" but a "need". The old glasses are no longer suitable.
•    This customer will buy from someone and soon.
•    Customers shopping for your product are not an inconvenience they are the reason you have a job!
•    Suggesting to the customer that your other location across town might have more selection is weak.
Now back to the auto dealership. We see this same dynamic happening when salespeople find that customers are shopping several brands or locations. The salesperson deflates and does a minimal job because they think the customer isn't serious or is just shopping around.

The customer is buying we just don't know from whom! They came to see you and your brand. While they are with you they can't buy from anyone else. So screw your head on right and put your best effort in. People know right away if you're putting in a half-hearted effort or not taking them seriously. If you don't, just like the optometry example, you are driving them away to another salesperson.

   "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Automotivaters is highly recognized and one of the most respected automotive training and consulting companies in Canada. Since 1987, the company has acquired an international client base throughout Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia, French Polynesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and New Zealand.

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