Car Dealers, Treat Customers Fine and You Will Shine

In 1942, Edgar Guest wrote a poem called “Good Business.” It resonates today.

Richard Libin, President

December 9, 2019

3 Min Read
good business
An exceptional customer experience requires that every employee – not just the salesperson – provide the Red Carpet Treatment.Getty Images

In the movie “City Slickers,” Curly (Jack Palance) tells Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal) that the secret of life is one thing.

He says, “One thing, just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean (anything).”

In sales, the customer experience is all that matters. Nothing else, including price, really matters if customers aren’t treated right. This always has been and always will be the one thing needed to succeed in sales.

In 1942, Edgar Guest wrote a poem, “Good Business.” General Motors Customer Research later illustrated the poem and ran it as an ad “in the interest of promoting better customer relations in all fields of business endeavor.”

General Motors then provided reprints to its auto (and Frigidaire) dealers.

Today, this poem still articulates the one thing that matters in sales:

If I possessed a shop or store, I’d drive the grouches off my floor!

I’d never let some gloomy guy offend the folks who come to buy;

I’d never keep a boy or clerk…with mental toothache at his work,

Nor let a man who draws my pay drive customers of mine away.

I’d treat the man who takes my time, and spends a nickel or a dime,

With courtesy, and make him feel that I was pleased to close the deal,

Because tomorrow, who can tell? He may want stuff I have to sell.

And in that case, then glad he’ll be to spend his dollars all with me.

The reason people pass one door to patronize another store,

Is not because the busier place has better silks or gloves or lace,

Or special prices, but it lies in pleasant words and smiling eyes;

The only difference, I believe is in the treatment folks receive.

At APB, we call it “The Red Carpet Treatment” and it means that you treat a customer exactly like you’d treat a guest in your home.

You’d greet them, invite them in, offer refreshments, develop a relationship and engage in conversation.

Treating them right makes your job easier. It helps develop their trust and confidence in you.

The transaction price of a new vehicle today averages about $36,000. So what will make people choose you? The Red Carpet Treatment. It should always be the basis for the sales and service process. 

The knowledgeable salesperson helps customers select an ideal product, building trust and confidence. Their perception of that ranks high in any successful and enduring sales approach.

By providing the Red Carpet Treatment, salespeople learn about the customer’s needs, wants and desires. They then discuss product features and benefits relative to those needs.

An exceptional customer experience requires that every dealership employee – not just the salesperson – provide the Red Carpet Treatment, from the first interaction to the last. And beyond.

Disney, a master at delivering that type of treatment, describes it this way:

“(We) strategically focus on the details that (other) organizations may under-manage – or ignore. Where others let things happen, we're consistently intentional in our actions. This insight allows us to maximize the opportunities to exceed guest expectations.”

Are you and your organization committed to delivering that type of treatment?

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Richard F. Libin (left) is the president of APB-Automotive Profit Builders, a firm with more than 50 years of experience working with sales and service professionals to build customer satisfaction and maximize gross profits. He has written two books –

“Who Knew?” and “Who Stopped the Sale?” – that aim to help all people because, as he says, “Everyone is selling something.” He can be reached at [email protected], 508-626-9200 or www.apb.cc.

About the Author(s)

Richard Libin

President, APB-Automotive Profit Builders, Inc.

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