Sunday, April 17, 2011


Last week, while at a dealer client, and while reviewing the mystery shop I had just done for them, I flashed on a story told to me last year by one of my teammates.  First know that this was a pretty typical mystery shop – the shopper received 2 emails and 1 phone call before the store stopped contact attempts.  Now the story:

Bob was 13 years old, in middle school for the first time, and faced with having to ask a girl to an upcoming school dance.  Like a lot of 13 year old boys he had no experience in this area and had no idea what was expected of him.  So, summoning up his courage, he walked up to the girl he wanted and asked if she would go to the dance with him.

She said no.

Dumbfounded by this unexpected setback, he retreated, concluding that he would either have to find another girl to ask, or forgo the dance altogether.

The next day her best friend pulled him aside and said “Bob, you putz, you don’t give up after the first ‘No.’ You’re supposed to ask again.  And again if necessary. She wants to know that you really want her to go with you.  She wants to be courted.”

The best friend was right!  And to my surprise, I've discovered that’s also exactly how an e-shopper feels.

The dealership that sends my shopper a killer 1st response email and/or phone message earns the shopper’s undying respect – until the next day, when I hear nothing from them.  Then it’s, like, out-of-sight, out-of-mind.  A few days later, when clearing out the bottom of my Inbox, I come upon that dealer’s responses and think, “Huh – oh yeah, I remember that shop.  Whatever happened to those guys?”

Remember the prospect you accidentally forgot about?  (We’ve all done it, right)?  The one you apologetically called or wrote days later in a panic hoping to save the relationship, and the one who responded with those cruelest of words, “I guess you guys aren’t very interested in selling a car.”  Yep, that’s how it feels out here on this side. Ouch.

Another true story: on two and only two occasions this year, I have had to call a dealership’s sales manager and ask them to please remove my shopper’s info from the CRM.  The salesperson had been calling & writing and calling & writing so much that, not only did I feel courted, I felt guilty knowing that my prospect was really a shopper who can’t buy anything to reward this salesperson for his/her efforts.  Now, that’s follow-up.

Last year at Digital Dealer Conference I attended a session on e-shopper behavior and one of the presenter’s concluding bullet lines was, “They want to be courted.”  Wow!  There’s that word again

So…it turns out that the store that displays tenacity, the one that is willing to ask for the prospect’s business, again and again if necessary, is the one that gets a “Yes” to the dance invitation.

Ask Bob.

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