As we continue our conversation about Zero Moment of Truth, where customers research you and your products online, let’s not forget what the First Moment of Truth is: When people contact your dealership.

I want to focus on what happens when customers get on site and how what happens can affect the sale. To explain my point, at a recent workshop I posed this question to readers: What are some things that customers saw upon coming to a dealership that negatively affected their willingness to buy?

Each dealer had multiple stories, from customers having to walk through a messy smoking area to salespeople grouped together right by the door on a Monday morning, sizing up the arriving customers, to messy coffee areas, to—the worst situation in my mind—an incoming customer receiving no greeting for minutes at a time, even while the customer can see salespeople standing there looking back at him yet not moving at all…How unsettling.

So, when they asked me, “What would you recommend?” I responded simply as follows:

How do you respond to poor customer service?

For example, think of a bad customer experience in which you were on the receiving end.

• Let’s say you went to a restaurant and no one greeted you for five minutes yet workers walked right by you. How would you feel?
• Perhaps you were in a department store and could not find anyone to answer your question, so you walked all over the store, still finding no one. What was your impression?
• Maybe you asked someone a question and she ignored you or never returned with an answer. How did you react?
• Or, let’s say everything in a store you visited looked messy and sloppy. Were you happy to do business there?

If this type of behavior bothers you, then why would you allow these things ever to happen at your dealership?

Four things you can implement immediately that will have an impact on improving customer service.

• When you get out of your car each day and head into your dealership, look around outside and think: This is what my customers will see. Does it give a good impression? If not, fix it.
• When a patron comes in, someone from your dealership needs to acknowledge that person. Even if the salesperson says, “I will be right there,” people will wait, because they feel noticed.
• Give people your full attention; give them your focus. That gives people comfort. They will feel you care about them.
• Make sure all your employees are actively doing something during business hours. Nothing looks worse than people standing round. If anything, it looks desperate. Get your employees on phones, studying information on product, following up with clients, etc.

Creating an environment where people want to spend more time takes only a little effort every day from all employees. If everyone is focused on how the dealership looks, it makes the atmosphere energetic and inviting—and that makes people feel more comfortable and willing to do business with you. Even if they do not buy today, when they are ready to buy, they will come back to you.

Sometimes it is not the sale itself but where the sale takes place that makes the difference.


All our training programs are instructed by top “retail” experienced professionals. Rather than mere textbook recital, our training programs relate as well as demonstrate to those in attendance.

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     Date/Time: 4/18/13 (1:59 PM)
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