Service Begins in Sales, New Sales Begin in Service

Ron Kaufman

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How often is the Sales team on one side of an organization while Service is on the other?

How often does this ‘divide’ lead to the loss of possible sales, more tension between the groups, and negative service experiences and perceptions for the customer?

At one high-end European car dealer, the physical separation between Sales and Service was so thick, they called it the Berlin Wall.

It doesn’t need to be this way!

In a bold effort to bring these groups together, the car dealer tore down the physical wall separating Service from Sales.

The sales staff were concerned. They were afraid new business prospects might be turned off by what they saw in the Service Department.

The service team was equally unsure, afraid of frequent and furious criticism from their colleagues in sales.

We need to change these points of view!

When you buy a new car, when do you want to meet the people in the Service Department? Do you want to wait until your first problem, tune-up or oil change? By that time you might be ‘just another customer’ needing service.

How would you feel if the people in Sales introduced you proactively and personally to the manager of the Service Department? Would you prefer the Service Manager know your name, greet you face-to-face and match you with your new car before you ever needed his assistance? I would.

A proper, positive, proactive introduction to the Service Department can have a huge impact on the experience and satisfaction of the customer. This makes sense: good service begins in sales.

Service is also a great time to begin new selling!

Experienced service professionals know a lot about the latest products and features. They know which models are popular, reliable and trouble-free, and they know which ones have problems.

If someone is repairing your machine and tells you about a newer model that is trouble-free and getting great reviews, would you be interested in learning more? Would you trust this person to be telling you the truth? Would you be willing to see or try a demonstration?

‘Good morning, sir. Your car is scheduled for a tune-up. We should have it ready by four o’clock. By the way, some new cars came in that handle just the way you like, and have the extra space you need for your sports equipment. I thought you might enjoy driving one. I reserved it for you to use while we repair the car you’re driving now. Have a good afternoon. Enjoy your new car!’

It’s true. New sales can get started in service.

Incidentally, the European car dealer is doing more than just tearing down the wall. They are changing the compensation program to pay salespeople when customers get great service, and pay service people when the Sales team sells more cars. It’s a great way to get people’s attention. And a smart way to get them working more closely together.

Key Learning Point
For more sales, better service, happier customers and employees, get Sales and Service working hand in hand. Customers experience both sides – each should support the other.

Action Steps
How well integrated are your Sales and Service teams? Do they work together to create positive service impressions and stimulate new sales? What can you do to tear down the wall between these two departments?

Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed educator and motivator for partnerships and quality customer service. He is author of the bestselling “UP Your Service!" and founder of “UP Your Service College". Visit for more such Customer Service articles, subscribe to his Newsletter, or to buy his bestselling Books, Videos, Audio CDs on Customer Service from his secure Online Store . You can also watch Ron live or listen to him at .


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