It’s a beautiful, sunny, late-spring day.
Dave Fortunatti arrives at the car dealership on Ninth.
Casually dressed in a white sweatshirt, well-worn but clean jeans with paint stains, and name-brand white sneakers with just a little scuffing, a ball cap frames his face which shows a two-day stubble. He looks like he just finished up a tailgate party or a relaxing afternoon barbecue.
His casual, somewhat rough appearance belies the fact that he owns two prosperous businesses in town, is a published author, has been recognized for his involvement in various charities, and is often seen at community functions wearing a sharp, stylish suit.
Dave shows up, checkbook in one pocket and smartphone in the other, thinking today might be the day to buy a sleek, sporty convertible like the one he saw in a magazine the other day.
He looks around the lot, and after a couple minutes of slowly ambling between the rows of new cars, locks his eyes on a beautiful red convertible with a black top.
A salesperson, Luis, spots Dave admiring the convertible and approaches with a smile, one hand outstretched while the other hand holds a key.
Luis Is Sharply Dressed, Friendly, No-Pressure, And Knows The Product Well.
First, Luis plunges into a lengthy description of the material the convertible top is made of, tells Dave he used to own a car with a top just like it, and recommends the best cleaning agent.
Dave smiles and nods, “Great, I’ll remember that. Thanks!”
Luis then pops open the hood, graces his hand across the beautiful, clean engine, and proceeds to explain all the technical features, how it’s s optimized for performance, how the windshield-washer tank opening was designed so one can add washer fluid without a funnel and actually get the fluid IN the tank, and lots of other things.
“Do you have any questions about the car so far?” Luis asks as Dave scrutinizes the car.
A flawless, clear, concise presentation – and
Dave Is Ready To Walk Out On Luis And Go to Another Dealership.
What just happened?
Dave: “Sorry, but I’m losing interest in this car. This is not what I’m looking for.”
Luis: “What do you mean? You seem very interested in this car. I can tell you’re a man who appreciates a fine car. So I’m telling you about it. See, the bumpers are made -”
Dave: “No, no, no. I came here looking for a convertible that drives nice, goes fast, and looks damn good with the top down and me driving it. I don’t know about cams and cylinders. Someone else is going to wash it for me, so I don’t need convertible top cleaner. You didn’t ask me any questions about what I wanted before you began your presentation.”
Luis: “But -”
Dave: “Is it a convertible?”
Luis: (pause) “Yes…”
Dave: “Does it drive nice?”
Luis: “It has a unique proprietary suspension that is designed to-”
Dave: “So that’s a yes?”
Luis: “Yes. Would you like a test drive?”
Dave: “Does it go fast?”
Luis: “As I explained, it’s a high-performance car. Here’s the key. Let me go over the interior with you.”
Dave: (gets into the car, starts the engine, puts the convertible top down, places his hands on the wheel, and looks at Luis) “Do I look good in this car?”
Luis: “You are a very handsome man, Dave. This car looks like it was designed just for you.”
Dave: “Great. I’ll take it. Can I drive it home today?”
Now, Wasn’t That Simple?
At least, after Luis got out of Dave’s way and took time to get to know him a little?
Ayesha used to work in an art store. She told me about a married couple who pointed out a painting and, after brief exchange of pleasantries said to Ayesha, “This painting, it would look great in our living room. We like it. We’ll take it.”
Ayesha was an art connoisseur who loved the painting for sale and had even given thought to picking it up for herself, like she had several other pieces that had crossed the inventory during her four years working at the store.
She knew the name of the artist, the story behind the painting, and its journey through the hands of its previous owners, one of whom was a local sports celebrity.
With all this in mind, Ayesha knew just what to say to the married couple:
- “Excellent choice! I agree, it’s one of our best.”
- (gracing her hand past the couple, toward the direction of the checkout counter) “Will that be check, Visa, or American Express?”
- “Are you taking it home with you today, or do you need us to ship it for you?”
- “Do you need it gift-wrapped or just put in a box for the ride home?”
- “Can I have someone carry it to your car for you?”
Now that was easy!
Ayesha made a great sale, earned a handsome commission, and brought beauty into the lives and the home of the couple.
Sure, Ayesha could have kept talking about the painting, mentioning the sports celebrity who used to own it. The couple had said yes, but they hadn’t paid yet.
What if the couple hated that athlete?
What if they hated that athlete’s team?
What if they hated sports?
That could have been just enough to make one spouse say to the other, “You know, honey, on second thought, Jody’s prom is coming up. College is next year. Should we really be buying a painting right now? Sorry Ayesha, thanks anyway. We’ll come back another time.”
Good thing Ayesha knew how to take YES for an answer.
Did You Catch The Big Difference Between The Two Approaches?
Now, let’s get back to Dave Fortunatti over at the dealership on Ninth – where he is about to encounter ANOTHER hurdle standing between himself and that sleek, sporty convertible.