Service of an Expert Salesman

April 8th, 2013

Categories: Automobiles, Customer Care, Customer Service, Sales

Dancing with Fred A

When an improved product and expert salesman mesh, it’s a pleasure to spend money. For a service fanatic, it’s poetry to behold–like dancing with a star.

This happened to us the other week when Barry Lang from Audia Motor Sales in Millbrook, NY called to tell us our lease had expired on our Chevy Malibu. My husband Homer Byington, not a car enthusiast, was impressed by the negotiation. He said, “I knew I had to do something about the lease, and Barry got to me before I reached out to Audia. There was plenty of time to make a decision: Buy the car we’d driven for three years or lease a new one.

Chevy Malibu“He could tell I was technologically illiterate and conducted his sales pitch in language I could understand,” said Homer. “He also priced his offer competitively, not taking advantage of me.” Homer had checked with a family member in a related business who confirmed the lease price was fair.

Meanwhile, while we liked the 2010 Malibu we turned in, it had its faults, every one of which was addressed in the 2013 auto. The designers reduced the size of the side view mirror that previously had been so big that at certain angles I had to practically stand up in my seat while making a left hand turn for fear of running over someone hidden behind the device. The windshield seems bigger and the rear headrests smaller increasing visibility. Chevy also removed a lump that housed a break light at eye level for the cars behind, which took away rear window visibility for the driver. And it added handles above each door as a standard feature and enlarged the glove compartment.

Back to Barry. He was patient with our questions, explaining how the car’s Bluetooth system worked and other features basic for most but unfamiliar to us. We took a week to decide whether to buy or lease again and a car in the color we liked–a blue/gray–was still there on our return. When we noted this Barry said he’d reserved it for us.

snooty car salesmanWe’ve written previously about how friends and family members have been treated dismissively and disrespectfully by showroom staff selling highfalutin brands with hefty price tags. We don’t think Barry could make someone feel diminished; arrogance isn’t his style yet he could sell high end products with equal success.

If you drop in to Audia Motors, my bet is that one of the Audias will be there. One brother, Peter, chatted with us briefly last Saturday before we signed up and this Saturday Bob handed me my permanent NY State registration. During the week someone at Audia had paid for and picked it up at Motor Vehicles.

Can you share a boast about a similar sales experience for any product?

Happy Customer

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8 Responses to “Service of an Expert Salesman”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    I’m the wrong person to ask since I know what I want 99.99% of the time and have a practiced deaf ear towards spiels. As to the remaining fraction of a percent, the ear is listening because of personal like, not because of ablity to sell.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    That’s what was so amazing about Barry–no spiel. He didn’t try to sell us stuff we’d have no interest in–he listened to Homer and didn’t try to ride over him with blah blah.

  3. Lisa McGee Said:

    Well, if I am ever in a position to turn in my hunk of junk for a new improved model – I certainly hope to have an experience like this – sounds refreshingly pleasant as does your new car!!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lisa,

    Speaking with someone through the car’s Bluetooth system is the strangest thing! Oh, and while we were out earlier today, my husband said that Barry called and left a message. He wanted to know how we liked the car.

  5. JPM Said:

    Like your husband, I’m technologically impaired, but I’m also automotively illiterate. I know that this is un-American, I don’t even know the names of most car brands. Naturally, car salesmen see me coming miles away.

    The first car I ever bought, a used one at that – I remember it didn’t have a roof and was American – was so overpriced that when I moved to New York a year and a half later and had to sell it, I had to pay the car company $1,800 (and that was when $1,800 was a lot of money) to take it back.

    The second, and last one I ever bought, was in Brooklyn almost thirty years ago. I didn’t care what the thing looked like, or how fast it would go, only that it would go. Also, I was working a sixty hour week then and couldn’t afford to take days off to get it serviced. The salesman swore that his dealership serviced the vehicles it sold, properly and at a fair price. All I had to do was leave it off at the dealer when I went to work and pick it up on my way home. Like a dope, I believed him, but the first time I showed up for service, having made an appointment, I was told to go away and that they “were busy serving customers.” And when I tried to find the salesman, he was nowhere to be found.

    Fortunately, we had a friendly gas station in the neighborhood where we lived run by a man who owned and flew his own airplane. Those were the days when you made more money pumping gas than working in a bank. How times have changed.

    Indeed they must have, if your Barry is typical of today’s salesmen. What a great experience! I’m almost tempted to buy a car myself, if it feels as good as all that.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JPM,

    I wish that Barry was typical of today’s salesmen. If he were, I wouldn’t have all the grumpy posts that I sprinkle in with the others. It’s a joy to write about someone who does his job well. In fact, I keep thinking of other things he did right but I had to stop–who would believe me?

  7. Mervyn Kaufman Said:

    The truth is, few companies bother to train the people they put behind the counter today—people who seem too busy or bothered to answer questions or engage with their customers. I remember, years ago, visiting the Conran flagship store in the Citicorp building. I was bent on buying barware, and I’d seen a sale advertised in the newspaper (newspapers mattered then). I wandered around, finally cornered a young woman wearing the characteristic Conran smock. I asked her where I’d find the barware featured in the sale ad. “That’s not my department,” she said, then walked away, leaving me to fend for myself.

    I found what I wanted, after a search, but wondered to myself how long a store with employees like that would prosper. I didn’t have to wait long. In less than a year the store was gone. Gifted sales people should be rewarded; they matter. Uninterested, uninvolved and unmotivated sales people should be winnowed out. Because they are in daily contact with potential customers, they seriously undermine their employers’ sales efforts. A retailer’s sales force is key to maintaining or damaging its image, and it doesn’t take much indifference to tarnish it.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    I so agree with you, Merv–your description was the genesis of this blog. I can still feel the sting of rude or dismissive sales people from eons ago–I recall the conversations, the off-putting remarks and I never again set foot in any of the establishments where they worked.

    We’re lucky in NYC to have so much choice and now the Internet has opened a world to others who don’t care to be abused when spending their money.

    Hooray for businesses that celebrate good service. Along with solid products, that’s 8/10’s of the battle.

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