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Sometimes it Pays to be the Slowest Person in the Room

By October 27, 2020 January 22nd, 2021 No Comments
Be the slowest person in the room

A Note From an Automotive Sales Training Professional

Whether you are in the auto industry looking for automotive sales training, a service advisor at a quick lube station, or a service call center employee with a sales goal, you can benefit from the moral of this story.

Sometimes it Pays to be the Slowest Person in the Room

The other night I was watching an old detective show. Its highly exciting climax included two young cops and one old Sargent on one side of a door with guns drawn.  On the other side of the door there was a really bad guy with a bigger gun drawn, who was refusing to surrender. One of the young cops kicked in the door, barreled into the room, and got shot in the leg. The second young cop, stormed in right behind the first and managed to take down the really bad guy, but not before he took a bullet in the arm. The really bad guy’s gun somehow landed at the feet of the old Sargent who picked it up. Pointing his gun at the bad guy, the Sargent said,  “Sometimes it pays to be the slowest guy in the room.”

I laughed as I heard this line because it instantly reminded me of an annual review meeting, I once had. I was being singled out for being slow when helping customers. It was explained to me that it took my teammates six minutes to help a customer.  It took me eight. Frustrated, the manager even calculated that my teammates were able to help 24 customers and I was only able to help 18 in that same amount of time. He chastised that my “leisurely” manner was costing him customers.

Luckily, the owner of the company was sitting in on the meeting and before I could defend myself, he pointed out that although I may be slower, my percentages in every category were significantly higher than anyone else on the sales team. He further stated that the company made more money off the 18 people I worked with each day than the 24 being helped by other salespeople.  In addition, he said that I had happier customers and happy customers meant loyal customers.

The owner, having taken over the meeting at this point, moved to the front of the room.  He wanted to know what I did with the extra two minutes I was spending on each customer. I replied that I made it a point to get my customers to slow down and talk more.

“Why?” he asked.

I said that I found that the more they talked, the more information I got, and that allowed me to deliver more of what they truly needed and wanted.

He then asked me if I felt like I was slow?

I told him that I had never really thought about it, but based on the what my manager had said, I guess I was.

The owner then said, “Well Mr. Cowan, you may be slower, but based on what I’m paying you compared to your teammates, it looks like it pays to be the slowest guy in the room.”  He then increased my commission rate by one percentage point and left the room.

Looking back, I think the owner was right. That was not the last time I was called out for being the slowest. I always led every sales team I was on in sales ratios, percentages, satisfied customers, and income, so at least for me, it always paid to be the slowest guy in the room. It may seem more exciting to kick in a door and burst through it, but in sales as in crime stories, a more deliberate, methodical approach will ultimately win the day.

Service Advisor and Sales Techniques for the Auto Industry

Sales is not an easy job because years of pushy salespeople and bad sales tactics have conditioned us, the consumer, to say “no” when we think someone is trying to sell us something. Yet, we still love to buy stuff. Using the above tactic of simply letting the client talk, could be the motivation they need to change their mindset from “I am being sold something” to “I am buying something.”

This is just one of the many strategies we cover in our Service Advisor and Automotive Sales Training courses. For more information, to schedule Onsite Automotive Service Training, or to attend one of Jeff Cowan’s speaking events on sales and service in the automotive industry, contact us at (800) 248-2931 or fill out this form. If you would like an estimate for service you can fill out our pricing form.

Check out our Podcast, It Pays to be the Slowest Person in the Room, too.