My wife and I were on a mission. Christmas was coming up. The mad dash to buy the perfect gifts was on. One of our gifts was for a friend who lives out of state and happens to be a police officer.
“Cigars my wife said, he likes cigars!” Now the hunt was on. How was I to know that a search for cigars would lead us to the best salesperson we would meet all year?
My wife and I are both non smokers. I have never even so much as puffed a cigarette or cigar. We walked through the door of the tobacco shop without a clue as to what to do.
Immediately, Mr. Bell, the owner greeted us with a warm smile and a hello. We immediately confessed our ignorance of cigars. He laughed and said, “Not to worry, your friend will love what we come up with.” I was shocked when Mr. Bell did the unthinkable. He actually began to profile what our friend would want, by asking open-ended, meaningful and caring questions.
“When you have observed him smoking cigars in the past, do you remember if the cigars were lighter or darker in color? Does he usually have a beverage when he smokes? Does he smoke with others? Do you know what they smoke? Does he smoke cigars often?
“How long will it be before he uses the cigars? Do you know if he has a humidor?”
How could it be that a tobacco shop owner had already better profiled the potential purchase than the majority of automotive salespeople ever do?
Now that Mr. Bell had gotten our attention by showing us that he actually cared about our purchase and the person using the cigars, he told us about the style, color, type of tobacco, taste, aroma, where the cigars were made and anything else you could possibly imagine about them. Then it hit me, I realized he just gave us a presentation and a demonstration on cigars!
Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, he began to tell us stories about the cigars. He told us of famous people who smoke those cigars and showed us pictures of them smoking the cigars.
He told us amusing stories of the companies that made the cigars and of the people who had started the companies. We learned about where the cigars were made. Imagine that a tobacco shop owner would use imagery, empathy, social proof, pleasure, pain, humor, energy, emotion, listening skills and a strong message — all to sell cigars! Facts tell and stories sell. Mr. Bell was poetry in motion while utilizing sales skills, people skills and life skills wrapped up in stories.
The cigars were selected, but Mr. Bell being a consummate salesman saw additional wants and needs to be filled and a desire to do so. As he moved to the cash register, he reached below and pulled out cigar cutters in the shape of bullets.
He said, “You said that your friend is a police officer didn't you? Look at these cigar cutters. Wouldn't one of these be perfect for him?” We added one to our purchase, but passed on a humidor.
As we left the shop, my wife turned to me and said, “I can't believe buying cigars could be so much fun. I can't wait to come back.”
It hit me: “He's selling cigars, for crying out loud!”
If a salesperson can get that excited, get us that excited, be that professional, display incredible sales skills, people skills and life skills to sell cigars, then every single auto salesperson can do the same, every time.
Mark Tewart is president of Tewart Enterprises Inc. and Auto Sales Pro Inc. sales and management training companies. He has more than 20 years in the automotive retail industry He's at 513-932-9526 and [email protected].