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Life lessons typically come when you least expect them as software coder, Ted Dziuba, discovered. He and his friend went to a bar that served Pappy Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon Whiskey that is widely regarded as the world’s best bourbon. While drinking, they talked to the bartender who explained to them its origins and other interesting information about it. He then told them about other drinks that were interesting and they were enthralled with his creativity and mastery at his craft.
Around that time, a man approached the bar and said, “Lemme get a Captain and Coke, brah.” After the gentlemen left, they asked the bartender whether it bothered him to make such a common drink when he quite clearly had demonstrated his expertise. His response was:
"No, it doesn’t bother me. If the customer orders Pappy and can talk about fine whiskey, I’ll pour Pappy and talk about fine whiskey. But if the customer orders a Captain and Coke, I’ll make the best Captain and Coke I can."
Mr. Dzubia learned a life lesson that we could all benefit from. In his words, what he learned was “that barcraft is fundamentally about giving the customer what they want…[and that] the true master obliges both.”
How does this apply to car dealerships? Think about the many different types of customers you see every day come through your dealership in all departments. Dealerships see a wide spectrum of customers from “gear heads” to those who don’t know how to turn on their headlights. Dealerships have certified mechanics that are highly trained, service advisors that know vehicles intricately, salespeople that know every detail of their product and a leadership team in place that, typically, encompasses it all.
I think the lesson learned is applicable to not only “barcraft” but to all crafts. Every position in your dealership should be viewed as a craft. You expect your porters to know how to make a new vehicle immaculate when it’s sold to pass even the most discriminating customer’s inspection because you know a CSI survey is going to ask that question. Your mechanics are trained to do it right the first time and have the knowledge and ability to accomplish that. Your salespeople are infused with the knowledge about your product as well as the ability to assist customers in selecting one that’s appropriate and right for their needs.
Ultimately, all of these positions have exactly the same fundamental purpose, to give the customer what they want.
When a service advisor gets a customer in service that’s a “gear head”, he has the ability to talk the language with them. If their customer knows nothing about cars, he should change his language to speak in a way that the customer understands. In addition, a big part of a service advisor’s job is identifying and recommending additional services to each customer. They can be much more successful in doing so if they adjust their language to match each customer’s.
Great salespeople know to mimic their customers. Not only will they copy their language and speak to that specific customer’s knowledge level but they’ll go as far as mimicking body language. If a customer is interested in a high-performance sports car, the salesperson will sell the vehicle by pointing out all the performance features: how fast it is, how much torque it has, horsepower and speed. If their customer is looking for a family vehicle, the salesperson will focus on the safety, comfort and practical features of the vehicle.
Too often, dealership personnel don’t give the customers what they want. Maybe the service advisor is talking in a language above the customer’s knowledge level or a salesperson is trying to sell a vehicle that’s not matched to the customer’s needs and wants.
Learning to give the customer what they want is a craft in itself. Learn how to listen to your customers. Make sure that you’re speaking in a language they can understand. You’ll offer a superior customer experience while increasing customer retention and loyalty.