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No interest? No sale. Sales training isn’t a solution for someone that doesn’t care

Sales training isn’t a solution for someone that doesn’t care

In a past life I worked for an advertising agency, managing the marketing for a large automotive brand.

Some years later, I spent time as the marketing lead for a large independent motor retailer and up until a few years ago, I was responsible for training the sales and after sales team for that same retailer.

Despite the CV, my greatest understanding of the automotive sector comes from being a customer.

Recently I was asked by a friend, coming from France to live in Ireland, if I could buy a car for him – the only conditions were price driven (less than £10,000), automatic and it had to be available from a particular date.

Sending me through links to cars available in the area (south Down) was his way of nudging me forward.

All the sales training in the world will not prepare the sales man for a customer like me – (irony claxon) – I had clear and specific needs, a fixed budget and no trade in but I had valuable sales insight from my time spent with the manufacturer and the retailer.

Second hand cars currently are priced beyond their value – new cars are very scare due to the pandemic and supply chain issues – and accordingly demand for used cars has increased.

That said car sales are usually flat in the summer so I would have expected greater interest and negotiating space from any seller.

How wrong was I.

Sales training prepares the individual for most circumstances and technology can help accelerate information flow to and from then customer but the real magic is harder to coach or instil.

It’s hard to fake genuine interest in anything.

Over the course of 5 visits to car retailers in the area, I had:
– one test drive accompanied by a cleaner
– 2 test drives unaccompanied
– discount offered without really asking
– 3 engagements with one dealer with them not taking note of my name and telephone number

It used to be the case that 70% of all test drives resulted in a sale.

It’s hard to close a sale if you don’t know who the customer is or how to get in contact with them…
It’s easy to criticise without fully understanding the situation of each dealership but ultimately the burden is on the seller to be interested in selling and not on the buyer.

The story has a happy ending thankfully.

I checked in with the guy that sold me my own car at The Donnelly Group – on the other side of the country…2 hours away.

Everything was teed up in one phone call, a car made accessible to my friend to test drive within 24 hours and the car was bought within 24 hours.

I’d love to tell you it was all down to my sales training but it was down to someone being genuinely interested in selling me a car.

That’s all – nothing sophisticated.

Basic human behaviour.

It made me think about the hard work I had put in to buy from a new dealership and the resistance and reactance I had faced and why much of the sales training work that we do with companies focuses on emotional intelligence, customer empathy and listening skills.

If the seller doesn’t care about the buyer, the buyer will not care about the seller.

Podcast here:




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