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Don’t Make This Fatal Sales Mistake

So I drop into my local BMW dealership/service center to check out an error message I’m getting on the car’s computer system.

A few minutes later the service clerk emerges after the garage had made a couple of small adjustments.

“It’s all sorted”, he goes on to explain the problem with some technical car jargon. I nod my head knowingly, pretending to understand what he’s saying to prevent the castration of my male ego.

Next, he asks me, “would you like to book the car in for a service, the car’s computer indicates you’re almost due”. Nice upsell move.

I say, “sure let’s book it in for mid next month”.

The service clerk then advises me that when making a booking that far in advance that I’m eligible for a loan vehicle for the day. I think great that way I don’t need to have anyone (i.e. my long-suffering wife) to drop me off.

I request to borrow a car that is the next model up from mine.

This request should have sent their sales alarm bells ringing: existing customer with a 3-year-old car that has just come out of warranty requesting to borrow and test drive the expensive next model up for a whole day.

If ever a golden sales opportunity dropped in someone’s lap, this was it.

Instead of recognizing and grabbing this opportunity, the sales clerk apologizes and says he can only give a loan of a car several models down from mine. Then he goes on for the next few minutes telling me how good this much cheaper model is.

I felt like knocking on the clerk’s forehead and shouting “HELLO, anybody home, HELLO!”.

Or perhaps I should have channeled Julia Robert’s character from Pretty Woman and said, “Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.” and then stormed out.

Instead I thanked the clerk for his time and said, “I’ll see you next month”.

I couldn’t believe what transpired.


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Did the service clerk really not see the opportunity? Unlikely.

It was probably more of a case of “it’s not my job”. The thought process was probably something like, “Hey I’m in service, if he wants to test drive a new car, he should go see someone in sales”.

This is a mistake many businesses make. They segregate their staff into “departments”. Therefore logically people outside of the sales department think that sales has nothing to do with them.


As business owner you should make it abundantly clear to all staff that sales are the lifeblood of the business and that EVERYONE IS IN SALES.

Every staff member at some stage will have the opportunity to positively or negatively influence a sales opportunity.

Make it known that regardless of what their primary role in the business is, responding to sales opportunities IS THIER JOB.

One of the best ways to get this point across is to have an incentive program where sales get rewarded regardless of the position of the person they came from. You might even discover some hidden sales talent.

The easiest sale to make is to an existing satisfied customer. Let all your staff know the cues to look out for – without being pushy or obnoxious of course.


Now granted, I may not have been ready to buy a new car right then and there but would spending a full day with a car I’ve been eyeing off have gotten me closer to buying? Heck yes!

Would it have started my buying juices flowing? Absolutely!

This brings us to another very powerful sales technique – try before you buy. Sometimes also known as a free trial or the puppy dog close.

Picture the scenario – you’re not sure if getting a new puppy is such a great idea, or perhaps you’re unsure if this particular breed is the right fit.

The pet store salesperson assures you that you can take the puppy home with you and if you don’t like it, just bring it back – no questions asked. Sound reasonable?

So you take the puppy home with you, you play fetch and run around outside with it. He licks your nose in the morning and waits for you faithfully at the door at the end of the day. So of course you fall in love with the new member of the family. And the sale is made – not by the salesperson, but by the puppy.

It’s that simple.

The Puppy Dog Close

Try returning this little guy – I dare you

It’s one of the most powerful ways to win more business and it’s based on the magic of “try before you buy”.

Using this technique can dramatically boost your sales.

Firstly it breaks down sales resistance, making the prospect feel less like their committing to something irreversible.

Secondly, it puts the onus on the buyer to reverse the sale which puts inertia back on your side.

Lastly, a genuine customer is highly unlikely to return a good product that is meeting their needs.

Implement the “everyone is in sales” mindset in your business and couple it with a “try before you buy” offer and you’ll see dramatic results.

I have to go shopping now.

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