Friday, January 23, 2009

Craig The Car Guy

Yesterday I received an email from an automobile Dealership regarding an inquiry that we had made. Before reading the email that I am about to copy here, keep in mind that we were surfing the Internet and entered an inquiry into some features of a Ford Edge as we were considering downsizing our minivan to a smaller yet still SUV type (HENCE THE CROSSOVER) vehicle to fit our boys. Everything in the email below is as is besides the dealership's name,sales person's last name and town. Did I mention we put in the inquiry back in October?
What do you see wrong with this emailed dealer letter?

Here you go:

Dear Brian ,

Thank you for your interest in the Ford N/A N/A N/A that you had researched on line a while back. My name is Craig and I am the New Internet Sales Manager at (insert Dealership name, and location here), in IL.

I just took over the Internet dept this week and it looks to me as if your request has gone unanswered. I do apologize for the delay and will do what I can to help if you are still in need of any information on the N/A N/A N/A. Please let me know if you are still in need of help.

I will handle your request personally and provide you with the best customer service you have ever had when it comes to purchasing and automobile. I do make this a very painless and satisfying experience for all my Internet customers. If you are concerned of the distance to my store I can come to you and also serve your needs at home or your workplace.

I need to discuss with you by phone or email briefly the specifications for the N/A N/A N/A such as the model, options and colors you desire. Going over your features will give me the necessary information I need to provide you with an accurate NO HASSLE and NO OBLIGATION quote.

I will also try to find the car of your choice at NO CHARGE if we can solidify a deal and I do not have it in my inventory.

Feel free to contact me anytime on my cell 630-555-1212 or via email. Please leave a message if I do not pick up the call. I look forward to helping you in any way I can.

Our store is open from 9am to 9pm Monday thru Friday and 9am to 6pm on Saturday.&nbs! p; My hours in the store are whatever fits your schedule and we can set up an appointment to meet at your convenience. So I can serve you 7 days a week, you call me, I'll make your experience far from anything negative.

Not just because I'm tired, but yes, it does have A LOT to do with it, I replied to this embarrassment of a sales approach. There's a saying that Brian and I jokingly walk around saying, it's, "Craig how'd you get fired on your day off?" I'm hoping it's not the case for this particular Craig. He just needed some assistance in proper sales customer satisfaction. Although I can't blame him completely, he's probably working off of a standard template developed from a poorly navigated CRM, like Salesforce.

No matter the case I did something out of character, I sent him a reply, unsolicited advice on how he should run his Internet business. At this point I'm not sure why I sent it, aside from the zzz factor, but this overwhelming unusual urge took over and I sent him a very detailed (something completely usual for me) email on tone friendly Internet inquiries. I know what it feels like to get unsolicited advice, especially if it's more critical than kind. I know that at many times when unsolicited advice is given to me I'll just listen to it and move on, especially when it's a pattern, generally in the elderly and the Laws. Yet sometimes it will drum up my emotions and awaken my already sensitive personality and will ultimately piss the hell out of me. But again, I wouldn't be rude about it to the solicitors, rather I'd just find a way to vent about it, somehow.

Like here.

But last night, I became one of those unsolicited advisers, not paid to consult, those that give constructive advice not knowing how it will impact the individual, not thinking about it clearly, I just replied, typed and hit the send button.

Here's what I sent:

Dear Craig,

First off thank you for your delayed response in my husbands inquiry that we placed back in October of 2008. I wish you luck in your new position as Internet manager with (Dealership) and I hope you have a very successful year.

If I may offer some advice though, as someone that has a background in sales, I couldn't help but feel this letter held no level of personalization to it whatsoever. You might want to proofread it and double check the condition your CRM is in as it sent out many different errors, like the N/A and the &nbs and the other ones I'm sure you can see up above.

Also, I'm sure you're already aware of this, but in sales the last thing you want to do is to give the potential buyer any image that refers to negativity. In this case you mentioned, "painless." What's the first thought when you hear that word? The dentist. Never ever refer to anything, or use any word that represents a negative word. Instead I urge you to rethink this generic format of a letter and make it much more personal.

With the Internet as a main tool for consumers, it's so important to be able to find a way to stand out from the rest of the online sales industry. How do you do that? You personalize it. You try to express tone in each one and you need to investigate before just mass mailing me. There are too many companies that put effort into things, therefore having a much higher success rate. To just copy and paste and mass mail something to consumers looking to spend money on a large item is a waste of time. You want to get noticed, this isn't a way to get noticed. You'd have better luck sticking your tongue to a flagpole in the dead of winter.

You mentioned that you're available to us at anytime. However that is a false statement. Unless you just moved here from Florida, you should be aware that dealerships cannot conduct business on Sundays. They're all closed in the state of Illinois. Therefore you cannot make a statement such as that you can be there for us at anytime, because that's just not possible. I understand your attempts, however I urge you to rethink this basic reply letter and try to tweak it to a more individualized manner. You have the CRM, therefore you have many different options. Please use them.

Or at least use them if you want to have a successful career within the walls of your new dealership.




I get a reply back.
With a newly formatted letter and a sarcastic undertone asking me if this is something that would be better suited for consumers.

I did reply back giving him more of my feedback. By then he had involved his general manager, I'm guessing because he thought it would be fun to mock the annoying stay at home mom (he was aware of that too), but unbeknown to him, his General Manager had sent me an email asking me if he could contact me at home and discuss my dissatisfaction further.

We chatted and by the end of the conversation he had asked me not once, not twice but at least three times if I would please think about employment within their dealership on a consultant basis reviewing and writing and generating sales leads, etc. It was a wonderful offer to hear that you still "have it," even to the point where you're offered a position without even applying. I declined as being in that industry isn't something I can do right now with my family, although, like I said, it was a very inflating moment.

I just hope that Craig didn't get the call on his Day off, "you're fired."

Now Craig, how you go get fired on your day off?


Kathy said...

You ARE good! but you already knew that, didn't you? I think it's great that the manager contacted you. And sarcastic or not, Craig learned something. Furthermore, he knew he had been 'bested.' You go girl!

austere said...

Terrific. You are GOOD.
About the marketing edge, though its been so long...Terrific.

I'm surprised you didn't trash the first letter immediately, but hey...

Cheryl said...

Sometimes we just can't help ourselves. Wonderful that the manager contacted you. I'm impressed!