When we think “sepia,” we think “old fashioned” or we think of “the way things used to be” My memories of genuine quality customer service are vague – rather like those long hot summers we always had when we were growing up?
These days, I am mostly confined to writing and discussing poor experiences, as I crusade to make things better: I am very sad that when we do encounter anything remotely resembling that “genuine quality customer service” we are surprised – shocked even – as maybe we have almost forgotten what it looks and feels like?
Enter Stephan Mulder – you may recognize that name from a recent post. Stephan is not the best salesman I have ever met – although I am quite discerning, having personally trained and coached more than 100.000 of them – but he is certainly in the top 5%, and has the potential to make it into the top 1%, if he decides that is what he wants for himself.
So, what is so special about Stephan? To begin with, he obviously possesses all of the essential skills and traits of a top performer, i.e. negotiation, presentation, closing skills etc. He also takes a long-term view to relationship-building and business development, and I suspect he is building a very strong customer portfolio – and I am now part of that! Nothing out of the ordinary so far, lots of salesmen and women have all of that – maybe. But when you add in Stephan’s exceptional rapport-building ability; his eye for detail, never leaving anything to chance; the way he instantly finds common ground/interests; the way he always does what he says he is going to do – precisely when he said he would; his gift of communicating “with” rather than “to” or “at” and last but not least, his very wide commercial bandwidth.
There are those in the motor industry who believe that the sales function should become obsolete – after all, quality cars sell themselves, don’t they? It is true, as I suggested in that first post, I did know what I wanted and no selling was really required, but I did most certainly need “facilitation” and I needed assurance, guidance and for the whole transaction to go smoothly. Stephan gave me all of that, and more. Make no mistake, I did have choices, because I could have chosen another dealer! Thanks to Stephan, I chose Vindis, and I will go back again. I will even tell all my friends, colleagues and acquaintances – and a few thousand readers of this blog post!
Again, thank you Stephan Mulder – you really did provide customer service in sepia, but the quality of your salesmanship was definitely full technicolor.