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The Ultimate Sample

The transmission went out on my Acura TL this weekend. No bueno. Thankfully it's under warranty. I've only got a few months left on my lease anyway.

I'll be without my car for about 2 weeks. Last time this happened, Acura payed for a rental (that's part of the deal). But I ended up with a Dodge Neon or something. No bueno #2. You feel a little silly driving a Neon and making an Acura payment.

Anyway, I fully expected to get the same deal this time - and was not looking forward to it.

I called the dealership and let them know I was coming down - they said they would have a car waiting when I got there.

Sure enough, I meet the guy right at the curb and he says the car is waiting - and he has it started with the AC on so it's nice and cool when I get in.

The only difference was this time it was not a Neon - but a brand new TL. Yeah!!

He explains that they felt bad about the problem an wanted to take care of me. Whatever. I was just mucho happy that I didn't have to drive the Neon again.

Then it occurred to me. I'm not sure if they did this on purpose or not, but this was a brilliant marketing ploy.

First of all, they get to look like heroes by taking good care of me.

Second, I get a 2 week test drive of the brand new model. Since my lease is up in a few months, "what to get next" is on my mind.

I don't foresee any other dealership giving me a 2 week demo. So if the product proves to be exceptional (which I'm pretty sure it will), I'll be that much closer to closed when I turn it back in.

If they're really smart, they'll call me in a week or so, and ask how I like the car. Maybe suggest that I just leave my old car with them, they'll take care of the remaining few payments, and I just keep the car I've got. "We'll mail you the paperwork, Mr. Miller." I'm not expecting that, but it would be pretty clever.

Anyway, it's a great example of thinking a few steps ahead, turning adversity into pleasure, and using any customer interaction as a chance to build value.

Are you this smart in your business? Or are you so busy that you can't even take 5 minutes to analyze your situation and come up with clever tricks like these? If you are so busy, are you making all the money you want to be? Why not? Do you expect the days to get longer? There really is no excuse for NOT doing things like this - unless you're fat and happy and don't need any more business. But if that was the case, you wouldn't be reading this.

Hmmm. What can YOU do to wow your customers and turn an upcoming interaction into a SALES experience?