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Did You Call to Say Thank You?

February 28, 2016


Have you ever been served by someone who works on commission, whether in a stereo or furniture store, automotive dealership, or insurance brokerage?

Of course you have. Commission jobs are an ingrained part of North America’s economy and labor market. And if you’re ever worked in a commission job you know that because of the pay structure that if you want to put food on the table, not to mention the other necessities of life, that you need to perform. No concrete financial results, then it’s Kraft Dinner and beans for supper.

One of the mysteries of life is that in the context of a commission-oriented pay structure, far too many people doing the selling ignore doing the vital follow-up after a sale. After being a car owner for 35 some years, I typically never heard boo from the sales person once I took possession of my new vehicle. The same applies to buying consumer items, in particular big ticket ones.

A recent example is when Sue and I decided to splurge on a new high quality bed for our spare bedroom. The sales guy at Sleep Country in Ottawa was terrific – very friendly, knowledgeable and reliable. Yet there was never any follow-up from him to see if everything went well and if we were pleased with our new purchase.

One could argue that it’s a waste of time to do a follow-up if the customer hasn’t called to complain about something. That’s the core of the problem: it’s not just to follow-up to see if the product was delivered satisfactorily and that it meets your expectations. It’s about showing that as a sales person you CARE about the entire sales experience of the customer. The potential dividend paid to the sales person is that the customer will be even more motivated to share his or her experiences with friends and family, not to forget social media, and to recommend both the company and the sales person.


In short, the sales person sets the stage for future success by diligently following up and showing that she cares about the customer.

Well, there are a few people who are clued in and who practice what I’m talking about.

Meet Roy from Myers Hyundai, Kanata Autopark dealership.

Sue and I met Roy over five years ago. At the time I had a Mitsubishi Outlander, a great vehicle but one that I wanted to trade for all wheel drive, a bonus for Ottawa winters. However, the Mitsubishi dealership sales fellow, a nice guy, didn’t seem motivated to do a deal. I had heard about Hyundai’s significant improvement in the quality of its vehicles, so off we went to the Kanata dealership. That’s when we met Roy.

I’ve encountered plenty of automotive sales people from numerous brands over 35 years. And I’m leery, to put it politely, of such individuals. Roy came off as fast-talking. Sue was kind of bowled over. But I loved Roy. I wanted someone who was motivated to sell me a new vehicle. No BS. Just give it to me straight. What’s the bottom line on the deal?

An hour later we signed the paperwork for a 2011 AWD Tucson. That vehicle’s now paid for and solid as a rock. But the story is about how over the next several years Roy made his presence known. Always gracious and appreciative of earning our business, Roy always comes over when I’m at the dealership. He returns phone calls and emails promptly. And he gave good deals to family and friends I referred to him. That’s the A-ah moment: when a sales person’s attention to customer service pays off by referrals.

Woman Thanks

The sales experience with Roy reminds me of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s comment: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” Well, with Roy if you have the opportunity for a sales experience don’t ask for a seat number; just hop on.

Roy used to be Hyundai Canada’s top sales person. No longer. Why? Because he’s now a business manager at the dealership. Success brings promotions. For me, it’ll be a bummer when it eventually comes time to look at getting a replacement vehicle and engaging in the sales experience since Roy’s now in management. However, the other day while in for an oil change Roy came over to say hello and ask how the family was doing. When I mentioned that we’re thinking in the coming months to swap out Sue’s car he said he’d look after us personally on the numbers and the closing deal.

The sales world needs for Roys.

After the sale is closed and you’ve moved on to new customers, be sure to follow-up with that customer and others you’ve served. Show them that you care. You’ll be rewarded.

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
– Wayne Dyer (self-help author and motivational speaker)

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