This week’s fundamental was written by Dick Fabian. Dick Fabian has over 15 years in the sales and marketing areas of specialty vehicle lending. He previously served as the Regional Sales Manager for the Automotive Management Group in Melville, NY, where he facilitated financing and leasing options for commercial customers on a nationwide basis. His specialties included the financing of vehicles and equipment in the tow and recovery as well as EMS and patient transport industries. In 2001, Dick joined Network Capital Alliance, part of the Network Group of companies, as a Business Development Manager where he continued to focus on the tow and EMS industries. Throughout his career Dick has effectively developed and implemented strategic business plans that have positively impacted the market share and loan origination volume of every organization with whom he has been associated. The Specialty Vehicle Funding Group is very fortunate to have an individual of his experience and character on our team.
Fundamental # 7 – Speak Straight. Speak honestly in a way that moves the action forward. Say what you mean, and be willing to raise issues that may result in discomfort or conflict when it’s necessary to reach our goals. Address issues directly with those who are and involved and/or affected.
I have been in sales most of my working career. Even as a young boy, I had my own Newsday (newspaper delivery) route, and I worked in a pizza store all through high school to help pay for my clothes, school supplies and entertainment. Later, I opened my own bar/restaurant business, worked for Chevrolet and Chrysler selling cars and trucks and was a finance manager handling customer credit and financing of vehicles for many dealerships.
Due to my extensive experience and understanding of the so called “Art of Selling ,” I am often called upon by many friends and family members to oversee the entire process of helping to buy a car or truck. It appears that most consumers do not trust sales people. This perception puts potential buyers on guard and creates doubt in their minds as to whether they are truly getting a fair deal. The experience can at times be so frustrating and painful that it has been said many customers would prefer going to the dentist to have a tooth pulled than deal with a car salesman to buy a car.
I have always found that selling is just like making a new friend. It is all about the relationship and the manner in which you build the relationship. The strength of any relationship is only as good as the trust, honesty and bond created in your initial contact with a friend or customer, then being consistent in its execution throughout the relationship. As we all know, it is far easier and far more profitable to keep repeat business than it is to land a whole new account. By focusing on creating a positive customer experience based on openness and trust, we are securing our ability to almost always enjoy an extraordinary level of loyalty and repeat business.
So what is the secret to establishing and maintaining credibility in the eyes of our customers and maximizing repeat business? Simple, never lie!! Lies not only damage your ability to communicate with your customers, but in many cases, they can lead to a complete breakdown in communication that can be difficult or even impossible to repair. It can ruin your reputation in the industry, seriously damage your credibility and jeopardize your ability to earn future business. I deliberately make it a point to fully disclose a customer’s rate, term and COD prior to sending contracts. I would prefer to address any questions or concerns upfront to alleviate any uncomfortable misunderstandings or conflicts later on. This practice not only gives my customer an opportunity to raise questions or concerns, it also represents a handshake, a customer’s confirmation of approval and permission to process the contracts and move the deal along.
Our “word is our bond.” If you say that you are going to do something, then do it! If for some reason we cannot fulfill a promise, then be truthful – tell that person.
I like this simple quote from Mark Twain: “If you speak the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”