By Mark Creedon
How Billy Joel sold a car!
Okay, so the piano man didn’t really sell a car.
Well, I don’t know for sure, but I’ve never seen anywhere that he used to be in car sales.
He did, however, help sell a car and he’s also helped hundreds of my clients, get their clients to know, like, and trust them.
Got you wondering?
Here is what happened. A few years ago (okay it may have been quite a few years ago!) a good friend of mine went shopping for a new luxury car. She shopped around with various dealers.
Whilst test driving the car the salesperson asked her what her favourite music was.
“Billy Joel,” was the immediate reply.
She proceeded to test drive a few different cars and dealt with a few different salespeople.
Eventually, she settled on a new Lexus and went back to the original dealership and asked for the salesperson she had dealt with.
“Ah, the Billy Joel fan,” he said.
So, they negotiated and eventually settled on a deal. The car needed to be ordered and would take about three months to be available for delivery.
Across that time, she waited patiently but essentially got on with things not giving the whole thing a lot of thought. And she gave the salesperson even less thought.
Finally, the time came to take delivery and she was a bit excited although the buzz had waned slightly because she had to wait so long.
As she took delivery of the car, the dealership had made a lovely fuss, putting a big red bow on the car.
My friend signed all the paperwork and then took her place behind the wheel of her nice new car. As she started the car, the sound system sprang to life, playing Piano Man, Billy Joel’s greatest hit.
The salesperson had remembered and had gone to the effort of buying a CD (well I did say it was a few years ago!), loading it into the car and setting it up so that it would play as soon as she turned the car on.
What he did was to show he had been listening, that he took an interest and that he genuinely wanted to make the whole transaction an enjoyable and memorable experience.
The real kicker here is that when my friend shared the story about her new car with her friends and colleagues, she focussed on the Billy Joel CD.
In fact, she led with that rather than the brand of new car she had bought. I heard her tell the story constantly and almost every time, others had to ask her what brand of car she had gone with.
Not only did she tell the story of the CD, but she remembered the name of the man who had taken the time to make her car buying a true experience, and she shared his name far and wide usually followed by “you should go and see him”.
It’s that simple really. Yet, for something so simple it is frustratingly rare.
I have told that story dozens of times from the stage and I have always followed it by asking the question, “what’s your Billy Joel?”
So, what is your Billy Joel? What do you do in your business to make your clients feel special, to show them that you have listened to them and that you are interested in them as something a whole lot more than a transaction?
I suspect that little exercise brought a whole bunch of new business for that salesperson. It would be a lot cheaper than advertising, Facebook campaigns, or client nights.
It shows how powerful a well-thought yet inexpensive gesture can be to generate powerful publicity and referral business.
Sometimes it isn’t the whistles and bells, it’s the simple small steps that enhance the experience of our clients. That’s what referral business is based on.
So, let me ask you…. what’s your Billy Joel?
Mark Creedon is the founder of Business Accelerator mastermind by Metropole and business coach to some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs – helping them build a true business, not a job.
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