Baby, You Can’t Drive My Car


test drove a car last week. I loved it! It had everything I’m looking for – a high performance engine, good gas mileage, all the tech gadgetry you could ever want and it’s small – like me!

bought the car this week. But, sadly, not from the dealership that gave me the test drive. Let me explain. After the test drive I sat with the salesperson and gave him all of my contact information, told him I wanted to buy a car “soon” and asked about pricing. I had a tight schedule that afternoon so I had to leave relatively quickly.


Within a few hours of the test drive, I had a text message from the dealer asking me to reply YES if, in fact, I had come into the dealership and test driven a car. I replied YES. The next day I had yet another text from the Customer Care Department asking me if I had any questions for the salesperson. I didn’t respond to this text. And, five days after the test drive, I didn’t have a text or a call from the salesperson. Very disappointing . . .

So, this week I went to a competitor. I had provided my name and email address (but not phone) on their website. Inbound marketing, I love it! Within two minutes, I had a response with a name and the direct phone number of their “Internet Manager.”  His smiling face was on his email as well. We set up an appointment online. When I arrived he was easily recognized and within a few moments he turned me over to a “Product Specialist,” their euphemism for salesperson. The rest is history.

The salesperson was friendly and solicitous. We did another test drive. He reviewed more of the car’s features and even told me about more benefits I will enjoy. He kept in touch with me every step of the way. (He even called me on Sunday to say that he tracked down the color car I want in Connecticut.) This was all done with a casual, professional, non-pressure demeanor. This is exactly how I want to buy everything – not just a car!


I know I’m super sensitive when it comes to sales. Because it’s been my career, I can sniff out a top salesperson in a nanosecond, and I have a hard time tolerating anything less.

Here are two ways to quickly decipher whether you’re considering a deal maker or an order taker:

  • FOLLOW-UP: Whether your sales cycle is one day, one month, or one year, (and everything in between), at every step in the process, follow-up is critical. It’s the same when you are interviewing. The candidates you interview should be following up with you after every step, from initial contact (web, email or phone) right through to an offer. Watch carefully what your candidate does during the process. Good candidates know that finding a new job has the same dynamics as making a sale. Good candidates ask for a clearly defined next step. Watch for this persistence in your own dealings with them. If they call you a day after the interview as a follow-up, that’s a good sign. If you tell him you’ll get back to him in a timely manner and you don’t, the persistent candidate will be emailing or calling you for the next step. Persistence during the hiring process is a clear indicator of how persistent they will be with your precious leads and prospects.
  • ASK PROBING QUESTIONS ABOUT LEAD CONVERSION:  Have a set of questions that focus specifically on the process the candidate uses to convert a lead to a customer. Some of these would be:
    • How many leads do you get in a month?
    • Where are these leads generated?
    • How many of the leads come directly from your prospecting?
    • How long does it take to convert a lead to a sale?
    • How many calls or ‘touches’ do you make before you drop a lead?
    • How many leads are typically in your pipeline?
    • What lead tracking software are you using?
    • What are your personal statistics for converting leads to sales?

Good salespeople will be able to answer questions like this. The best will have those numbers at the ready.


So, the car I bought is a 2017 VW Golf GTI SE, 2.0 litre, 6 speed manual transmission. She really moves! Thanks to the “deal maker” at the dealership, I went from a lead to a satisfied customer in less than a week. Here’s hoping all of your salespeople know how to make a deal!

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