My daughter recently purchased a brand-new vehicle. It was her first ever and she was very proud and I was quite happy for her that she was financially able and ready for the responsibility. Her buying experience was so much better than mine (and many of my friends and family for that matter). My first new car experience was a high pressure unpleasant experience. It’s no wonder some folks like myself would almost rather take a beating than deal with a New car salesman and the whole experience.
Why is that? How was my first new car experience so much worse than my daughters? One key word is PREPERATION. In my first new car experience, I had no clearly defined budget, nor real concept of how many months I wanted to finance, or what my best finance rate was, or my credit rating, etc., etc., etc. In- short I was totally unprepared, and as such went to the dealer for one thing and left with a great new car…of the Dealers Choosing!! The only thing that I really chose was the color.
Now I have had the benefit of wisdom and experience (wisdom gained from lots of experience!) and as such now when I go in to make a deal, I have done my homework, know my budget, my credit score, have preapproved financing and what features I need on the specific vehicle I am going to purchase. In- short I am a confident shopper and as such can set the parameters of the meeting in the early moments and make it clear I will walk away if my needs are not met. Did you catch that part?……My needs must be met…..Needs satisfaction selling…what a concept right??
In Business, we have an obligation to meet the basic needs of our patrons and if possible go beyond the basic needs and meet some desires and wants as well, if we are to successfully beat our competition. Needs satisfaction is a simpler process than most folks think. In fact, some folk’s complicate things to the point where it makes it nearly impossible for their employees to even meet basic needs. Take for example a 60 second radio commercial with nearly 30 seconds of “Mach Speed disclaimer”. The whole point of the ad is to get Butts in seats, but the disclaimer has the opposite effect. When a Business worries more about litigious issues before a customer even sets foot in the door this is usually a red flag about their philosophy on Needs satisfaction for the customer. A customer usually has very few real needs in the service sector. They NEED a quality product for the price point charged, a certain level of reliability, and if there is an issue down the road, someone to assist in fixing it. Now you notice I didn’t say a Business has to provide a Cadillac product for a Small econobox price, but the econobox priced item should still be reasonably reliable. And if after the sale the econobox needs some work, charge a fair price for the parts and labor to keep the customer happy and coming back for more.
My daughter and I researched, makes and models and location from her house for maintenance, and then went window shopping when the dealers were closed to get a good look before talking to anyone. She found the exact vehicle within her price range and already knew her finance rate and payment amount. The salesman really didn’t have to do much except show her how to pair her iPhone with the Bluetooth in the car. By being prepared and knowing what she wanted and NEEDED beforehand, she was confident, and made the buying experience better for both herself and the seller. It was a win/win and even I felt pretty good about helping her with the purchase. Remember, that needs satisfaction is a two-way street, you can help your customer’s better if they can help you define what their needs are and how you can help them achieve them.