Columnists, James Wurst, V5I5

Operate at the Highest Standards Possible

So, I needed to help our daughter purchase a car. I used to sell cars so I thought I had this one in the bag.


My daughter and I went to the first car dealership. After a brief meet and greet, the salesman came from the office with an offer that was way too low on my trade and I wasn’t in the mood to barter. They didn’t seem too eager to sell me anything either.  

On to the second place, and this time my wife and the dog went along. It’s not going to take long since I know what I’m doing, right? 

My wife had already called a dealership, and the sales person who answered the phone was very friendly and very accommodating. Off we went to meet our car sales person. We arrived and he was very warm, welcoming, and very upbeat. He showed us vehicles and evaluated our trade.  He asked us to let him serve us and earn his trust and that of the dealership.  

All of the staff was very pleasant and helpful and even offered us drinks and refreshment for our dog. Every time I went toward the door to let the dog outside, someone jumped up and got the door for me. The general manager came down to pet the dog and share dog stories with my wife and I as we waited. Keep in mind we were there for six hours total. 

All of this time I let my guard down and took everything they said and did based on how we were being treated. To wrap this story up (because by now you are wondering, what does this have to do with sheds? I’m getting there.), toward the end of this process, we go to the finance office to sign the paperwork and they slipped in a “bump.”

In the car sales world, a bump or bumping is when you get to the office to sign and the numbers go up and they hope you don’t argue and sign the papers anyway. Usually the auto payment goes up in a bump. 

After some heated words and us storming out of the finance office, the general manager comes down to ask us why we were leaving. We thought this was a pretty stupid question, but we talked it out, and he agreed to change the numbers back to what we had first agreed to.  

He also wanted to know if we “trusted him.” Stupid question No. 2. The sales manager and our salesperson also caught a severe case of amnesia and could not recall the number we had agreed to. 

In the end we signed (after the contract was adjusted to what we first agreed to) and we left with the vehicle. When I was back home, our daughter texted me and noted another fee that I missed on the contract.


In the end they “won,” and I felt 100 percent violated. This sullied our trust in the dealership overall. After all the sales process, negations, friendly treatment, and signing, I now started to question everything from the first call forward. Was the car really serviced, was it maintained like they said it was, are they really going to do thethings that they promised?

How does this relate to sheds? I’m glad you asked. Studies have shown that 33 percent of customers will change to a competing company after one, and only one, instance of poor service. This fact resonates with me because I will never purchase a vehicle from that dealership and will warn everyone I know not to shop there.

In the shed industry, the customer normally interacts in this order: marketing, sales staff, customer service, site work, and then delivery. If any of these areas fail to uphold company standards, all others are now at risk. If I sell a shed and then at delivery the driver damages the shed and doesn’t tell the customer, it opens a huge box of issues for the company.  

Sales are much harder than they were 10 to 20 years ago. The internet gives the customer a level playing field at the time of sale. On a cell phone, they are able to pull up anything our competition is offering.  

I’m not sure if it’s the internet or social media but I have noticed that customers as a whole are not very social in person. I wish I could sell sheds by text message. That might be easier. At least in our area, customers seem to have short tempers and attention spans that only extend when discounts are being discussed. We offer one free T-shirt with our branding slogan or a pocket knife as a thank-you gift, and they want me to cloth the whole family and arm all the friends and family.

Calm, professional answers to follow-up questions from the customer as the shed is being manufactured and proactive status delivery alerts go a long way.

A little extra time spent at delivery adjusting the door or making sure the customer is aware of how to use and operate the functional parts of the shed is priceless. Every department must be honest and serve the customer’s needs beyond what they request.

Bottom line:  Shed companies have to operate as a team. Every area is equally important and the different work centers have to look out for each other.  

In the end we all operate our business to service our customers. Google and Facebook reviews are mostly permanent and can be very cutting. My suggestion is to operate with the highest standards possible, fair market pricing, don’t cut corners, service the customer beyond the known needs, and never, ever lie to your customer.



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