Does he take sugar?

I remember my old granddad telling me some years ago about a time when he had fallen and damaged a hip and was being pushed down the road by my dad in his wheelchair. They decided to stop at a coffee shop for a brew and a cake, the assistant looking directly at my dad asked, when she had poured their tea, ‘does he take sugar’? At that point my granddad realised that because he was incapacitated the girl thought he was stupid and couldn’t answer for himself.

I don’t suppose for one minute she meant any harm and the story was oft repeated, mostly when being used to make a point about someone being able to answer for themselves.

What is the point of telling this little fable? Well because customers are often treated the same way and some salespeople will often make immediate judgements on the status of a prospective client without fully qualifying them and establishing a connection to ascertain their car needs.

I have often witnessed sales people avoiding certain customers because they ‘don’t look like buyers’ although how anyone can establish that just by looking at someone baffles me.

Believe it or not when there are fewer customers about and business is harder to come by, astonishingly these attitudes are often worse. Instead of treating every customer like a new born baby salespeople will often leave a customer hanging around not being attended to for ages before they finally deem it necessary to engage with them, in the mistaken belief that they are time wasters.

How often have we felt like intruders when asking a gaggle of sales assistants for some help when they are clearly having far more fun standing around gossiping?

Of course I am having fun with this and generalising but these things happen in car showrooms everyday and it is serious.

If car dealers want to leave buyers with a good feeling about the first class service they receive, which should be a right not an option, perhaps the next time a customer visits a showroom they should tape their credit card to their forehead.

In that way they may succeed in sending buying signals without having to make the poor old sales person work hard opening up the communication lines.

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