We can learn much from automobile sales professionals on the subject of reciprocity.
Many car sales professionals are taught the very first thing to do when bringing you, as a prospect, into the showroom is offer you a cup of coffee.
Conversely, many books, articles, and training courses for consumers on how to buy a car or how to get a great deal on a car tell you to never, ever accept a cup of coffee from the salesperson.
This small cup of gnarly, stale coffee in the annoying cheap Styrofoam cup is no small matter.
Both sides know it.
Dave Fortunatti knew something was up.
This Stuff Is The Exact Kryptonite Feared By The Forces Of Sales Resistance
A few years ago, I was at a car dealership to possibly lease a new car.
It was Memorial Day, and I had a plan to make the rounds and see about trading in my 11-year-old Saturn, a good car except that for years, the air conditioning kept breaking. I wasn’t interested in yet another summer of no air conditioning in my car.
Sure, the Saturn was paid off, it was never in an accident, I was the only owner, and had taken good care of it.
Sure, I had needed to have the transmission rebuilt a couple years earlier – but another way of looking at that was that the car had basically a new transmission that would last a long time.
On paper, the smart thing to do was to drop a bunch of money into completely replacing the air conditioning and keep driving it, rather than take on a car payment.
Every “success coach” and “finance coach” reminded me about Bill Gates’ little Ford and the “truth” of how the smart bet was to avoid a car payment and just add to my financial forecast a plan to drop a few bucks into the Saturn now and then, as long as it overall kept running good.
They All Thought I Was Making A Dumb Move.
But MY truth was that I didn’t want to roll the dice on the air conditioning still having problems even after I had it fixed, or something else going wrong with the Saturn.
And besides, after 11 years… wasn’t it time to change things up a little?
I had my eye on a wonderful brand-new Opal Insignia (oops, I mean, “Buick Regal”) with all the extras and the most luscious color of dark blue paint.
The lease payment was something I could easily handle, and I was interested in a car that would be fun to drive, had the in-dash navigation system and the Bluetooth speakerphone system, and would make me look damn good driving it.
This was my Dave Fortunatti moment.
While I was waiting for the “trade in appraisal” of the Saturn (read: the delay tactic to make sure I didn’t make it to the next dealership on my list), the salesperson, Stu, brought over a bottle of Mountain Dew and two cups. “I can’t finish this myself. Want to split it with me?”
I said, “Sure. Thanks. But this doesn’t mean I’m going to lease a car today.”
Stu laughed… knowingly.
He filled my cup and I drank it.
That day, I happily drove away in the Regal, and enjoyed it for 39 months until the lease was up and I went for my Mazda 6 Touring Edition.
So about that Mountain Dew… or Margie’s offer to pour Dave a cup of cuppa…
Coffee IS For Closers…Who Will Offer A Cup If They Expect To Convert A Sale
That sounds a little out of balance, you think?
The salesperson gives you coffee, and now you owe them a signature on the line that is dotted?
Yep – that’s pretty much how it works.
This kind salesperson went out of their way (almost 12 feet) to pour you that tiny little (Styrofoam) cup of (stale) coffee.
You have to remember: this salesperson has a family, bills to pay, and quotas to meet if they want to keep their job. They work for a living, just like you and a lot of people you know.
They’re taking the time to show you their numbers, out of the goodness of their heart, so you see they’re just making a fair commission on the deal and not taking you for a long ride on the price.
Now that they’ve offered you a cup of coffee and you’ve said yes, they’ve micro-converted you.
Just a few more yes-es and it’s a done deal.
So Fire Up The Coffee Maker And Line Up The Coffee Mugs
Your sales process must create more reasons for folks to know, like, and trust you.
This is especially critical if you provide a service.
Give away your best content!
The more you show your best prospects that you know more about what you do than anyone else in the world, the more likely they are to hire you – and pay top dollar out of confidence you’ll do a great job.
Speaking of prospects, let’s speak about referrals – the lifeblood of just about any business.