Relationship Selling and Transmissions

Editor | MLM Training Tips | Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Before my pink jeep, I drove a 1997 green Ford Ranger. It served me well as a volunteer on the Celina Fire Department. In 2003, when I began having difficulty putting her in reverse, it became evident my transmission needed to be rebuilt.

The first mechanic I talked to was this big, burly, hairy man. His shop was nasty. He smoked. And, he looked like he’d been working under trucks for the last two weeks without bathing. I remember he was working on some mechanism while he was telling me about my truck.

Cigarette in mouth, stained wife beater tank, sweat dripping off his forehead, and oily red rag in his hand that doubled as a sweat rag, “It’s your transmission. I can rebuild it for $1200.”

I thought that was crazy. I had no clue what those kinds of things costs, but I was sure I could find a better deal elsewhere.

He wasn’t a stupid man, he was a man who worked every day and that’s his business, work – maybe even, ‘work hard,’ but he wasn’t going to ‘work for’ my business.

He saw the dismay in the price on my face, “you’re not going to find a better price. Call me when you’re ready.”

One of my fire buddies recommended I visit his friend, “He may not be the cheapest, but he does good work.” The shop was clean. There was an actual air conditioned waiting area.

The guy my friend recommended came out to greet me, “Tami, I’m Jim. What’s the problem?”

Jim had on dark blue Dockers with his clean collared shirt embroidered with the company logo. Jim was reasonably attractive, well spoken, and engaging. He listened as I gave the diagnosis from the other shop.

Jim agreed, based on the information, the other mechanic knew his transmissions.

Jim sat down with me and proceeded to explain, “There’s no way we can rebuild a transmission for under $1600,” and he couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t cost more. He explained, “We stand behind our work and we do it in writing.”

Jim suggested I think about it and he’d follow up with me later. He even seemed empathetic to my financial concerns. Jim did follow up. He sounded sincere and even concerned that we make this financially feasible.

No, he didn’t offer any financing solutions, but we did come to the conclusion that I could use 3 different credit cards.

Jim was not a mechanic. Jim was a salesman who specialized in relationship selling. Whether this skill came naturally, or he learned it, he used it.

Relationship selling is the only way to create a loyal customer base. People don’t care how much you know. They want to know how much you care.

The first mechanic sounded as though he knew what he was doing. There may have been a little arrogance in the matter of fact briefing we had. His manner did not reflect a man who desired additional business. It just reflected business.

Jim, without being pushy, seemed genuinely concerned about me. In my mind, it was validated when he followed up. He didn’t just blindly call. He remembered my situation. He remembered my needs.

When we take the extra steps to exhibit concern and interest in our prospects, clients, and/or associates, we are opening doors to future relationships.

Remember, Jim started out as a referral. In turn, I have referred Jim’s services. (Referral marketing in action.) People buy on emotion and back it up with logic. Create the relationship and support it with evidence.

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