These crazy economic times we’re in call upon those of us in business to especially mindful of Relationship Selling; customer service, trust, honesty and integrity. To illustrate the point, here’s a story that happened to me.
The other day when I was checking around,getting prices for a repair job on my car that was
hit in a rear end collision.
Since the other person’s insurance company will be paying for repairs, I wanted to get a couple of opinions so they would know I wasn’t trying to “pull one over on them”.
Let me start by saying that I have an Acura SUV. It’s my third Acura, so I know they’re not cheap to fix.
The first place I went gave me an estimate of over $1700, just to replace a muffler. That doesn’t take into account the body damage. I thought that was a little pricey so I called another muffler place for a second opinion.
The answer I got is the reason I’m writing this now.
Now, I know my car and I know the price of the parts are a little steep. When I called the second muffler shop (mind you I already had the first estimate) The guy who answered the phone quoted me a price off the top of his head of “around $150″. No asking anyone, no checking in the computer for the part number or price.
I reminded him of the make and model of my car and he then rethought his answer and said “well, maybe then double that to around $300).
Still not convinced, I stopped by the shop later that day to get a written estimate for the insurance company.
My car was put on the lift and examined. They called the parts supplier and the final estimate was over $1500!!
Now, back to point of the story. When a client or customer asks something of us, it’s because they consider us an expert.
They’ve come to us because they need the product or service we offer.
Nothing, but nothing, will kill business faster than pretending to be an expert and giving someone an answer when you don’t know all the facts.
Any business person that gives a customer an answer that “sounds good” Any amount of trust that had been established is now gone. Even if the customer still chooses to do business with that company, they’re going to be suspicious of anything they’re told.
Long term business success is based on trust and honesty.
We’re the one’s working in a certain establishment or running our business. We know more than they do, right? And if we’re not sure of something, the last thing we should do is make something up. That’s what this kid at the muffler shop did.
Rather that look up the information if he wasn’t sure, or ask someone who had more experience, he told me something that even I, as a non-mechanic knew wasn’t true.
Did I go in and get the estimate anyway? Yes, they are a national chain that I knew the insurance company would recognize.
Did I believe the actual technician who looked at my car? Yes, because he showed me (in black and white) the price for the parts. He gave me the information I needed to make an informed decision and didn’t just quote something off the top of his head.
All our customers want is some understanding and honesty. They’re not asking for perfection. People are a whole lot more receptive to the not-so-great news (like the price to fix my car) when they’re being consulted with and not talked at. That’s relationship selling at it’s best.