Sitting vs. Standing — How Would You Rather Close a Deal?

Keep customers comfortable with actual chairs, and your sales are bound to increase.

I have been trying to get out more to see other dealerships and how they are operating. As usual, there are some great ideas out there. It’s been a challenging couple of years with COVID, fires and floods, not to mention the usual challenges we always have.

However, one thing I have noted lately is an odd trend that seems to be poking its head up, and even the dealerships doing it can’t seem to justify why they are. It just looks to be a new trend. Some trends are great; some are unfortunate.

This one is the latter. Instead of desks with chairs, I am seeing these “stands” popping up. The usual set up, of course, is a nice-sized desk with a comfortable chair for the salesperson and a couple more nice, padded chairs for customers to relax in.

But, I am seeing these stands showing up that are hip high where the salesperson sits on bar stools, as do the clients. Now, maybe barstools are nice in bars, although I personally have never found them comfortable, but when I’m talking to a client, I want him or her relaxed, sitting back, feet on the floor, and having a nice conversation about that person’s new unit.

Not hunched forward with his or her feet on a cross bar like a toddler in a highchair. I want a client who isn’t concerned about posture and trying to get focused on what we are talking about, rather than someone who can’t find a comfortable position.

One other thing I have noticed is that in the dealerships where these “stands” are being used, the dealer principles are using regular desks. If these stands are so great, why don’t they use them?

I have even seen shops where not only are they using these things, but there are no chairs at all for the clients. The clients have to stand. If I were running a taco cart, a chair for the customer to sit in while ordering is not that important. In the Service Department or the Parts Department, I don’t want customers just sitting there taking up valuable space and time; I want them to order or pick up and be on their way. Maybe in a Service Lounge, where the client is waiting for his or her unit, but not at the Service Counter.

Above, you can see a picture of two such stands. There are actually three in a row in this shop — side by side — with nowhere for a customer to sit. Also, another one of my pet peeves: two monitors that build a wall between the salesman and the client.

The result: customers standing uncomfortably, a wall between the two parties involved and the buyers crammed together while deals are being made. Who in their right mind thinks that this is a great way to do any kind powersports business? How do they think this will raise gross profit?

On the sales floor, I want my customers spending their hard-earned money, and I want as much of it as I can get while still keeping them happy. Who do you think will be more amenable to a bump? The client who can’t seem to get comfortable — or is even standing — or the one who is relaxed and having a great time? Granted, there are times I want an overly talkative client to go away, but there are techniques to make that happen.

Selling powersports vehicles is not remotely the same as selling tomatoes, tacos or giving directions at an information desk. We are selling recreation. We are selling a lifestyle. We are selling our clients something that they may have wanted for a long time, and it should be a special occasion. For many, motorcycling is a huge part of their lives. Let’s treat it that way.

One store I know transitioned to these stands, except for one salesman with a regular desk. Guess whose gross profit per deal is higher? It may be that this salesman is better, but there also may be a correlation.

I know I have never seen this kind of seating arrangement in an auto dealership. The auto industry has studied the whole process of sales to the Nth degree. It has come to the decision that a real sales desk is the way to go.

Why did the powersports market pick up this unfortunate trend? I don’t know, but I hope it dies a quick death.

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