Never Leave the Customer Alone at Your Desk

On today’s episode of Straight Talk, David Lewis of David Lewis & Associates talks about one of the easiest traps to fall into during your sales presentation; leaving the customer alone at your desk during the negotiation process.


Hello again, and welcome to this week’s episode of Straight Talk.  I am your host, David Lewis, and I am glad to be here with you today to give you straight answers to your questions and to help take your business to the next level in your quest for success.

Today I want to speak with you about one of the easiest traps to fall into during your sales presentation and that is the temptation to leave your customer alone at your desk when you are ready to go for the close or during the negotiation process.

This is something that is easy to make a mistake on, but it can damage the connection you have established during your presentation and give your customers a chance to have second thoughts about what they are about to do.

Too often as salespeople, we become overconfident if we have had a successful demonstration drive and external walk-around.  We make the mistake of concluding that the hardest part is behind us and the customer is ready to pull out their checkbook and buy the car.

At times like this we have to be doubly on our guard to make sure we don’t step out of our professional approach and demeanor and begin to let presumption rule our sales process.

That is a good thing to remember when we are about to sit down at the closing table and negotiate with the customer over the final steps of our process.

So “how does this happen?”  you might be thinking right now.

Well, sometimes it starts with something as simple as a cup of coffee or a soft drink.

You just spent a couple hours with your customers going through the inventory, connecting with them on a personal level, selecting a vehicle that suits them and meets their needs. They have now driven the car and you followed that step up with an inspiring external walkaround and a great service walk.  Everything seems to be going well and you start thinking how good it will soon be to put your nice commission in the bank.

You walk your customers to your office or cubicle and, in a casual gesture that seems to be appropriate after the time you just spent out on the lot, you ask if they would like a cup of coffee or soft drink.  They state that they would so you excuse yourself and leave them alone while you go to get them the coffee or the soft drink they have requested.

With this one innocent and well-intentioned act of hospitality you just put everything you worked so hard on for the last 2 hours at serious risk.

You left the customers alone and gave them time to talk and think about what they are doing.  If they discover you have Free Wi-Fi you have also given them the opportunity to go online and shop the internet for prices and other things they can use to during your closing process.

So now, when you return to the desk, you find they have a different demeanor and things have shifted from the jovial excited mood they were in to a more serious tone where they look like they are postured for objections and serious negotiations.

Like letting the air out of a party balloon, the atmosphere suddenly becomes flat and all the excitement that was there just moments ago seems to have disappeared.  All of a sudden everything you say to the customer meets with some kind of resistance and you are trying to figure out what can be done to pump up the balloon again and get the fun and excitement back into the party.

You scramble in an attempt to roll the film back to where it was just a few minutes ago, but it is just like it never happened and an air of polite indifference has taken its place instead.

So, what actually happened?  Well, In simple English:  You got up from your desk and left them alone.

All of the fears, apprehensions, defensiveness, and warning flags they felt before they came to the dealership came back to haunt them and they snapped out of the dream state they were experiencing and talked themselves back to practical reality.

All of a sudden, the nicest car salesperson they have ever met has been replaced in their mind by the professional persuader they have always heard about who could sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo or the Brooklyn Bridge to someone living in the Mohave Desert.  They start realizing that they could probably get more things or a lower price if they just start putting up a little resistance to what you are saying and doing.

“What was I supposed to do?”
you might be asking.  “They seemed like they were ready to buy the car and offering them a refreshment seemed like the right thing to do.”

Oh, it was.  It’s just that you were not supposed to get up and go get it for them.   You could have taken them with you to the coffee lounge and gotten those things before going to your office or desk.  You could have asked the receptionist or a concierge desk worker to do that for you.  The thing is . . .


Every time you get up from your desk and leave the customer alone you losing gross or the sale all together.  In most cases they will start with objections that will probably send you dashing back and forth between the customer and the manager and eventually taking everything out of the deal just to make it happen or, after you do that and they have a bottom line figure to work with, they still might say they want to go home and think about it.

After they leave your office, they will very likely call one of your competitors, tell them about your offer, and get $100’s knocked off on the same car at that dealership where they will then decide to go and make the purchase.

Now let’s consider another scenario where you don’t go to get them some coffee or a soft drink, but instead during the negotiation process, you leave your office to go and speak with the Sales Manager to get numbers or a trade-in value to work with.

When you return to the desk with the managers figures they tell you the payment or price is too high or that you are not giving them enough for their trade.  While you were gone they went online on their phones and shopped prices at other dealerships and are now prepared to say NO to any price you come up with except something that is rock bottom.

What happened?  You again left them alone and they quickly pulled themselves down from the cloud you had taken them too with your inspiring presentation.  They reorganized their thoughts and plans and begin to take what you were saying and see what they could get elsewhere or how much lower you would go to make the deal happen.

Even then, after all is said and done, they may still want to go home and think about it.

“So how do you deal with that” you might be asking. “Don’t I have to go and get numbers from the Manager?”

Nope!  Do it over the phone openly in front of the customers who are sitting in your office at your desk with you right there through it all.  Get the Manager to bring the prices to your desk and discuss the negotiations right out in the open.   Every time you get up from your desk and leave the customer alone, you lose gross.

Don’t leave the customers alone!  If you do, it is bound to cost you something you probably didn’t have to give up in order to make the deal happen.

Well that is all the time I have for today.  I hope you will take it to heart with your next customer and avoid leaving them alone once you have started negotiating the deal at your desk.

……So, thanks for watching and And as always if you would like a complimentary copy of my books just send me an email at and I will ship them out to you immediately.

Goodbye everyone!