I'm sorry, we can't help you...
We were 3,600 miles into our 4,000-mile road trip with the motorhome. Then, it happened...
Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP, Professional Development
A bolt came loose on the load-leveling system and the ride got very bumpy. We pulled into the next available rest area, I crawled under the coach and found the issue. Thankfully, or so I thought, at the next exit there was a sign for the Iowa Truck Center. How lucky for us to break down right in front of a repair shop. I walked in and explained the situation to the salesperson, he came out and looked at the coach and crawled under so I could show him the situation. We went back inside, he got on the computer and then words I hope I never hear or use again came out of his mouth: "I'm sorry, we can't help you." Wait, what? You're a repair facility, how can you not help me? "We don't have the part; it would take a week to get it and we are booked for months out in our service bays. You could try the Cummins dealer that is about three miles up the road." I said, "could you at least call them and see if they have the part?" "Here's their number." That was the response.
Thankfully, a parts guy was listening to the exchange and came over after the salesperson left me standing there stunned. He looked at the part and said, "I don't have the exact one, but I have one that I'm sure will work to at least get you back home."
We're in the service business. We do not have all the answers, nor do we have all the solutions, but we should NEVER say to our clients, "I'm sorry, we can't help you." Why? Because we can always help. Even if it's directing them to a competitor or helping them find another solution, we can always be of value and help to our clients and prospects, IF that’s our goal.
The salesperson at the Iowa Truck Center had no interest in helping a stressed traveler; he wouldn't even make a phone call because all he was focused on was the sale, and he knew that he wasn't going to make one.
We are not going to sell every client, or solve every client's problem, but we can always be of service. Serving your clients and prospects is always a great business practice.
The next time you uncover a client situation that you can’t solve, please don't simply say, "I'm sorry, we can't help you." Because you can always help them find a solution, even if it's not one that you sell. That's providing service to your clients and prospects and helping them achieve their objectives. If you can be counted on for help, advice and recommendations even when they are not yours, you will be remembered — and rewarded. Kindness and helpfulness never go unnoticed.
Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at jeff.Schmidt@Rab.com or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.