By on December 17, 2012

Porsche salesfolk in Germany may have to go to school again. On the curriculum: Manners. Getting up while greeting a customer may not be a bad idea. Porsche sales in Germany grew 17 percent from January through October. In November, sales were up only 0.1 percent compared to the prior month. Immediately, alarm bells rang at Porsches new owner Volkswagen, says Der Spiegel.

If customers don’t like their treatment at German Porsche Centers, it will result in immediate pain: Payment of Porsche salesfolk will be partially tied to customer satisfaction. Bad manners will be corrected in trainings, conducted by Ritz Carlton, Volkswagen’s favorite etiquette consultant.

Predictable reaction: If the car sells well, then it’s the car. If it doesn’t sell well, then it’s the dealer.

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16 Comments on “Porsche Salespeople To Be Taught Manners...”

  • avatar

    Sounds like a great program. When are they going to extend it to Porsche buyers?

  • avatar

    I am a proponent of teaching and instructing people. But I think the best salespeople are already “people persons”… a natural trait. Additionally, when a salesman has a genuine passion for the products he is selling, it shows in his mannerisms, his product presentation, and so forth.

    • 0 avatar

      Having spent a number of years cleaning up the mess left by sales people, yes, the best ones don’t need to be taught that… but the problem is that the best ones are also good at picking out the customers who generate the most revenue, ignoring everybody else. Think of that hungry look you see in casino workers eye’s on the Las Vegas strip, if you know what I mean.

  • avatar

    Well, since the cars are so expensive and prone to be ogled by people who have no means to afford one, I suspect sales staff might be a bit discriminating in who they devote their time to. All automobile salespeople do it. That doesn’t make it right, but people are people. I’ve discussed this phenomenon with people who have done the job and the racial, economic, and cultural stereotypes projected on potential customers is truly shocking and disappointing at the same time.

    I don’t read German very well, but does the Spiegel article imply that snobby salespeople is the reason for Porsches’ sudden slowing of sales?

  • avatar

    I have been in sales my entire life. One of the first things you must learn in order to be successful is that the appearance of the possible buyer is completely irrelevant. So called salespeople, who are not told this on day one, are not being managed by true sales managers. To me, having Ritz Carlton run training programs misses the mark again. Ritz Carlton’s are about customer service, not sales. No one comes into a hotel lobby and expects a desk clerk to convince them they should stay there.

    Company culture begins at the very top. Obviously senior Porsche management patronizes Ritz Carlton’s, and thinks this is a culture they want to emulate. My guess is that no senior Porsche executive has ever actually spent a few weeks working as a salesperson at a dealership, to truly learn what the job entails, and most importantly, what their potential customers expect in a buying experience.

    • 0 avatar

      My BMW was in for service over the weekend and I had to come in Saturday to pick it up. I was wearing a black hooded shirt, fairly worn out jeans and sneakers while towing my 3-year old son. Since he was being such a great kid, we went to the boutique to get him a toy car like Daddy’s. I half expected to be given the stink eye cruising through the showroom in such condition, but the staff at every turn was friendly and accommodating. Some of the sales ladies even tried to engage my son and offered to let him sit in the M6 convertible they had on the floor.

      That’s what I would expect from a customer service perspective and it’s what I got. Were I in the market for a car now or if someone asked for a recommendation, I am much more likely to recommend this place now then had I been ignored, followed like a security risk or otherwise handled.

      While it’s not bottom-line sales, it’s still selling an experience and an expectation of service which can lead to future sales. I think that is something that the Ritz gets right and many companies can learn from.

      In fact when discussing the experience with friends, they’re more likely to turn to this dealer when the time comes too.

  • avatar

    Sounds like that Ritz guy should come down here (Brazil). One of the reasons none of my 14 or so cars haven’t been a VW is precisely the poor treatment of customers at dealerships. Whenever I went to a VW dealer to look at the car, the salesperson was always arrogant and dismissive. Acted as if he were doing me a favor by showing the car. Yikes! ‘Cause of that Wolfsburg has never seen my money.

    Granted, I haven’t darkened their gates in more than 10 yrs., but that is the result of 3 or 4 previous visits that I always felt badly received. Glad there are others out there happy to take my money.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 for VW salespeople. Even though my current car is a 2012 VW GTI, I did not buy it from a dealer 5 miles from my house. This dealer is so arrogant they have brand new 2009 models on their lot. I drove to the dealer driving my 2005 Civic Si which I guess made me too bourgeoise to warm my arse in a new VW. So I bought it online from a dealer 250 miles away. They cheerfully took my money.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep. After I bought the only new car that I have ever owned, I made a pact with myself to never deal with those idiots ever again and try mightily to only buy used. It was such a letdown and so unnecessary. VW really needs to up their training and vetting of their dealers.

  • avatar

    It’s very important for sales people to respect the customer’s wants and needs, especially if they are out of the ordinary. Long ago, I went shopping for a car to race in SCCA Showroom Stock. Only two salesmen didn’t give me the stink eye. One of the two insisted on taking the car first to “show me how to drive it.” I hesitantly agreed to this, thinking that, if I liked the car, I could always buy it from someone who wasn’t a prick. What he wanted to show me was how to drive it like I had stolen it. We traded seats after he ran the car up to 90 mph in a 55 zone. He was completely comfortable while I tore around curves at speeds that would have left most salesmen gibbering in terror. The other good salesman simply handed me the keys and sent me off by myself on a test drive. In the end, I bought his car because it fit me best.

    I have noticed the emphasis now being put on customer satisfaction surveys. Frankly, it has become annoying. I no longer feel free to make suggestions for improvement for fear of ruining a decent employee’s future. As a result, a guy has to really piss me off before I give him anything less than perfect ratings.

  • avatar

    aside from what they showed up in the sales floor if they’re in tux from saville row or a white toga, u only take 5 mins to qualify them as whether if they have the wherewithal to won a an expensive toy.

    being rude will not shun all of them away from buying porsches.

  • avatar

    during the mid 80s Vancouver had one RR & prancing horse dealer,
    one day I went in the salesman looked at me from the top of my hair to my shoes!
    i have heard one guy didnt bought from him but went elsewhere.

  • avatar

    You guys should try walking into a showroom with a salt’n pepper head of hair like George Clooney/Khalid Meshal. I can’t go to dealerships just to eff around without getting swarmed.

    ps Even the Porsche dealer couldn’t resist the coif when I was impelled to check out the new Panamera.

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