I waited for my bags to arrive, draggedthem over to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car counter, and stood on the linefor a few minutes. When it was my turn, I walked up to the young manand handed him my license and credit card. He took both, glanced atthem and then held out his hand. "Hello, Dan," he said. "Welcome toChicago. I'm Joe. How was your flight?"
So I'm standingthere, still shaking from being juggled across the sky, and I'mthinking that this guy is just tossing me a stock line. But he justlooks at me and smiles and he's really expecting an answer. "The flightwas bumpy, Joe." I said. "Real bumpy."
"I figured it'slike that today. That wind is really rough. I felt it in my car drivingin. I'm glad you're safe. Dan." And I thought the guy really meant it,so I thanked him.
"We'll let's get you on your way," Joesaid. We were on a first-name basis now, and that was actually calmingme down. "Will you be going out of state, Dan?" he asked.
"Yes, I've got a couple of days here in Chicago and then I have to head over to Davenport for a meeting."
"Iowa, huh? That's a few hours in the car," Joe said. "I see you requested an economy car. Do you have Triple-A"
"Letme check something," he said. "I think I can get you a bigger car forjust a few bucks more. I mean look at the size of you!" (Joe is aboutthe same size as me.) "You'll be much more comfortable in a goodmidsize car, and it will be just, let's see, just five bucks a day.You're going to have the car for five days, so it's just twenty-fivebucks more to be comfortable, and I think a whole lot safer. What doyou think? Big guy like you?"
"What the heck," I said. "Give me the midsize."
And it was that easy for Joe to move me up to the next level.
"Great!"he said. I figure you were uncomfortable enough today already." Hepointed up toward the sky. "It's time for you to stretch out and relaxa bit."
"Thanks, Joe," I said.
"Okay, you'reall set, Dan," Joe said. "Just head over to those orange doors and takethe elevator. You don't need any paperwork. Sara is waiting up therefor you. "Enjoy the rest of your day!" And he reaches out his hand toshake mine again. I felt like I was with family.
I takethe elevator, get off at the proper floor, and head toward the littleEnterprise kiosk. This young woman rushes out as I approach and shereaches out to shake my hand. "You must be Dan," she says. "I'm Sara.Welcome to Chicago! I have your car right over here." And she smiles atme and walks me to a comfortable midsize that's just-washed clean andready to go. "Need any help with those bags, Dan?"
"No, I'm fine, Sara. Thanks."
"You okay with directions?"
"Okay.Let me take a quick look at the car to check for dings. I don't wantyou to be charged for something someone else did." She walks around thecar and looks carefully at everything. "Looks good to me," Sara says."You see anything I'm missing."
"Nope," I said, "looks fine."
"Okay,let's get you this paperwork so you can be on your way." She looks ather clipboard, then up at me, and says, "I figure you'll want the fullinsurance. That's really the best deal for you."
Nowhere's what you need to know. Never in all the years that I have rentedcars have I ever taken their insurance. I have insurance coveragethrough my own company and they'll cover me in any car that I'mdriving. Why would I ever pay for something I already have?
Sara was about to tell me why.
"I'm good on the insurance, Sara. I've got full coverage."
"Just about everyone does, Dan, but what's your deductible?"
"It's five-hundred dollars. I'm a very safe driver."
"Iknow you are, Dan, but you've been here before, right?" I nod. "You seethe way Midwesterners drive?" She giggles. "Most of them think they'rein a NASCAR race."
"I'm from New York, Sara. I'm used to crazy people."
Shenods and giggles again. I like this woman. "I can give you fullcoverage – and that means on absolutely everything – for just ten bucksa day. Fifty bucks total. That's one-tenth of your deductible, Dan. Andfrom the moment you drive out of here until you return on Friday youwon't have to worry about this car a bit. I figure you've got enough onyour mind already. Think about it; someone in a parking lot can crashinto this car, but that won't be your problem. They can set it on fire,roll it down a hill, bust the windows. No problem. Just call us andwe'll pick you up."
"And no matter what happens, yourinsurance company will never know about it. You won't have to worryabout your rates going up, and you won't find yourself in an argumentbetween a big insurance company and a big car-rental company. We'lltake care of everything. And it's just fifty bucks for the whole week –one-tenth of what you'll have to pay if some jerk runs into you."
Andshe looks at me and smiles. And I, who have never once bought insurancefrom a car-rental company, bought total coverage this time. And I washappy to do so because what Sara was saying to me was making sense.
Andthat's how you sell goods and services. You first create rapport, andthen you appeal to your customer by talking about things that are inhis or her self-interest. Both Joe and Sara did that, and I'm sure it'snot something that they arrived at on their own. Enterprise Rent-A-Cartaught them well, and Joe and Sara did everything perfectly. That's oneof the reasons why J.D. Power rated Enterprise highest in customersatisfaction three years in a row. They've certainly won me as acustomer.
I spent more than I had planned on spending, andI was delighted that I did. The company benefited and I was satisfied.That's success. That's the result of good salesmanship.
Call people by name.
Care about them.
Think in terms of their self-interest, not yours.
Offer them options that appeal to those self-interests.
Be sincere, which is so easy to do because you know that what you're proposing is the best thing for your customer.
Write the order and reap the benefits.
EnterpriseRent-A-Car's slogan is "We'll pick you up." My experience with themsure did pick me up. And I hope it gives you something to consider.