Imagine the situation. You’ve just spent weeks researching your next motorbike. You’ve looked at the different brands, decided on the ideal engine size and have drawn up a shortlist based on the somewhat critical seat height (important, if like me you’re a girl who’s just 5ft tall).

You’ve narrowed your search down to two bikes – a Honda CBR300 and a Kawasaki Ninja 300.

Honda CBR300 and a Kawasaki Ninja 300So what’s next? You start searching for dealers and private sellers that might have your dream bike.

And you think you’ve found it. It’s a cracking one year old Honda CBR300 but it’s from a dealership that is 70 miles away and you can’t be sure it’s still available.

So what do you do?

You ring them of course. But they don’t answer.

You ring them again and they don’t answer but this time you get an answer machine. So you leave a clear message asking them to call you saying you want to come and see it.

Why you no answer my call

AND, as you’re really keen (you need this bike in your life right!) you find a contact page on their website and you email them as well

They’re a bike dealer, they’ll call you straight back right as they want to close the sale. Right?

WRONG!

They don’t ring. They don’t email. You get worried. You really want this bike…

So you jump in the car and drive 70 miles down the M4 to get there before they close.

M4 racing

When you arrive you find this is a big motorbike dealership, in fact it could even be the biggest in the South West. They have a huge store with three floors full of bikes, clothing and every possible accessory you’d ever need.

You walk in the door and you literally can’t see the wood for the trees, there are bikes everywhere.

You look for your bike but you can’t see it.

You go up to the next floor, it’s not there. It’s not on the top floor either. And no one is coming over to ask if you need any help. The staff are just stood around chatting to one another. Anxiety sets in. What if it’s not here?!

Needle in a haystack

Reluctantly you go up to one of the groups of sales assistants and ask whether the bike you want, the one you now can’t live without, is still available.

“Sorry love, we don’t sell Honda in this building. You need to go to our specialist Honda dealer” is the answer. Well where the hell is that? So now I’m getting stressed, maybe this is a message that I shouldn’t buy this bike and that I should go for the Kawasaki Z300 instead. Buyer’s doubt starts to fill my head.

“It’s downstairs on the opposite side of the car park.” he says.

OK, well you’ve driven all this way so you should probably go and take a look.

You walk across the car park into the dedicated Honda dealership. It is full of shiny new Honda bikes and there is my bike, it still has a price tag on it so it must still be for sale!!!

This dealership is different to the huge motorbike superstore on the other side of the car park. These guys know about selling.

Within two minutes a sales assistant has come up and asks you if you’re interested in the bike.

You say are you and he invites you to take it for a test drive. It’s love at first ride and so you sit down to do the deal.

Doing a wheelie

You explain to the sales assistant that he nearly didn’t get the chance to show you this bike today. That you tried to call and no one answered. That you emailed and didn’t get a reply and that you thought his dealership really didn’t want to sell
you a bike at all.

He apologised for the poor experience and said he hadn’t got your voicemail or your email, the number and email address on the website gets answered by the bike superstore on the opposite side of the car park.

“But you’re the same company right?” you ask.

Yes he says, but we also have our own dedicated Honda number. This clearly isn’t on the website or you’d have called it first!

The good news for you is that your poor sales experience put the sales guy on the back foot and you used this to your advantage to get a better deal on the bike.

And you can be sure you aren’t the only person that has experienced this dreadful experience. Many won’t have taken the trouble to jump in the car when they didn’t get a reply, they will buy elsewhere.

Is your marketing department killing your sales?

Here are three things that you should check that you’re marketing department are doing to support rather than prevent sales in your business.

1. List all relevant numbers and emails on your website

Make it easy for people to find the right department so they can ask someone relevant a question that they’ll be able to help with. Don’t have one central number or email for all enquiries if you have lots of different departments in your business.

2. Reply to telephone messages quickly

Ideally the same day if possible or in the morning if they are left overnight.

You don’t get a much stronger buying signal that someone who picks up the phone and wants to speak to a sales person – don’t ignore these calls or take days to return them, it will be too late.

3. Mystery shop your business

Either do it yourself or get some people you know to call in and email into your business to see how quickly they get a reply.

If you find any problems when you mystery shop put an immediate plan into place to correct this and then test it again to ensure it has improved.

Mystery shop again regularly as standards slip and new people join who may not have been trained. Monitored the time to respond and take corrective action as and when required.

Don’t let marketing kill your business – it should be there to grow it!