There’s a fair degree of excitement in the process of getting a new customer. There’s also something inherently disappointing in being denied. In a very real way it could be considered a form of rejection, kind of like finally mustering up the courage to ask that special someone for a date to the senior prom only to be turned down.
Perhaps, that’s why the level of frustration climbs so high when you call your local supplier for a part only to have the conversation end with, “We don’t stock that part,” “It’s not in our system,” or, worst of all, “Nope, don’t have it!”
I’m not going to discuss the ramifications of leaving the service writer, parts manager or service dealer hanging with no other alternative but to call another source they’re self-evident, or at least should be. What I’d like to discuss here is a very simple alternative that could prove invaluable if used correctly an infinitely more profitable alternative when compared to allowing a competitor to make the sale.
It’s a simple sentence, or countless variations thereof, an outside salesman and good friend shared with me as I expressed my frustration after another, “It’s not in our system” response.
I told my friend what had just transpired over the telephone and he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “All he had to say was, ‘Can I get it for you?’” I then realized that the companies I like to call for parts have people on the counter who say exactly those words when the part isn’t readily available.
The dynamics are simple. It takes the pressure of locating the difficult-to-find part off me, something I appreciate dearly as I have more than enough daily stress to deal with. It also adds an incalculable amount of value to the relationship, the kind of value that makes you want to call back. And it shows a genuine interest in service the willingness of the parts provider to find the parts that are most difficult to come by.
Sure, you can mount an argument suggesting that not all service dealers will react that way. Some will certainly say, “No thanks, that’s okay. I’ll find it myself.” And, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. What matters is that you tried, and by trying, you just might find the occasional service dealer who will say, “That’s great! Thanks!” And, who knows, when that happens you might just sell something you otherwise could have missed.
The important thing to remember is that since you aren’t always going to know if it’s a first-time caller or a “first call” caller you just left hanging, it would be better to err on the side of caution and not give that sales opportunity to a competitor. Aside from that, you just never know if or when the first-time caller is going to become a “first call” caller. Or, when the “first call” caller is going to look for someone else to call first.