February '19

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50 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2019 "I'm John Smith and I'm with Jane Doe's Automotive," your salesman says. "John, today's not a good day—wrapping up end of the month," the sales manager responds. "When can I come back to discuss prod- ucts?" the salesman asks. "I'm going to be straight with you, we use Johnny Appleseed Automotive, and we're not switching vendors—we're happy with their work," the sales manager says. "You use those guys? I didn't know they were still in business. We fix their work all the time…" John Smith, who unknowingly put down the sales manager's longtime friend and vendor, will never be allowed to step foot inside that dealership entrance again without a sincere apology. Not only did the salesman reduce his chances of scoring business from that dealership, he hurt the company he's representing. Johnny Appleseed benefited as well. The sales manager and friend most likely picked up the phone and called the manager or owner of that shop, making sure Johnny Appleseed Automotive was aware. Now the new salesman has another obstacle to overcome; visiting dealerships where Johnny Appleseed's representatives know to be extra aggres- sive, safeguarding their active accounts. THE FACES OF YOUR BUSINESS As restylers servicing new car dealerships, we have sales representatives presenting products to the staff at new car dealer- ships, where appearance and personality play an important role. The first impres- sion they make is how the dealership will initially judge your business. Even if your rep is visiting a house account, what they say and how they say it is critical—especially if you've spent years building a relationship with that dealership. We've picked up new accounts based off the fact that the man- agers did not like the person our competition had hired. Sometimes a dealership is too busy to pick up the phone and call you to discuss a poor interaction with a rep, and if they haven't seen an owner or a manager in a while, they'll simply make a switch. As managers and shop owners, we keep track of the people making the initial inter- action, but there's more to the package. Any one of your employees stepping foot inside that dealership is promoting your company, whether you or the employee realizes it or not. The first time your rep walks into the dealership, it's usually unannounced. This cold-call serves as a meet-and-greet and a possible chance for a follow-up appoint- ment. According to an article on busi- titled 5 Ways to Impress Everyone You Meet, understanding the timeframe of a first impression, making eye contact and leading with a firm hand- shake will help you impress whoever you're meeting. The article refers to research from Prince- ton that states it only takes a tenth of a second for the average person to confi- dently judge traits like competence, trust- worthiness and likeability. CHECKING IN Are you losing accounts or have you had any slowdowns? It may be time to pay a visit to the dealership and see what's going on. Think of what we deal with on our end— the shop side of things. We find ourselves in the dealer's perspective more than we realize. What would make you want to talk to someone cold-calling at your shop? As restylers, we get people knocking on our door, trying to sell us on new products, just like we're doing with our dealerships. Think about who's been successful in grabbing your attention. Then, make sure your sales reps are using a similar approach when representing you at the dealership. Even if you're happy with the people responsible for making your first impres- sions, what about the other employees at your company? Do you have technicians and drivers going in and out of dealerships every day? Believe it or not, these people build rela- tionships with sales and service depart- ments as well. I've seen it firsthand with my drivers. When it comes to dealership clients, every interaction matters. 50 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2019 The Faces of Your Business By Courtney Pahlke From sales reps to drivers to manag- ers to owners, everyone from your shop who visits a dealer- ship is making an impression every time—whether you realize it or not.

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