Let me tell you about my last 3 car buying experiences…The Liar, The Flatterer, and The Pro.
First Sales Guy: The Liar
Like MOST modern-day consumers and MOST millennials, I pulled trade values, manufacturer incentives, finance options, reviews, etc…before walking into the dealership. But my first example here, knowing I’ve done my research, still chooses this path…
After a few hours at the dealership going through all of the wants and needs and everything else into choosing THE car, we finally settle on the precise vehicle to move forward with. My sales guy comes over to me with enthusiasm expressing he has a GREAT deal! Full MSRP, no manufacturer incentives, and way below market value on the trade.
My response to this was naturally, “So when do you get to the great part?”
At that moment, I was ready to save myself time and frustration. I didn’t give any explanations. A simple “no” seemed most appropriate. As I began to gather my belongings, he pleaded for a second shot stating “they” make him offer full MSRP as a first offer.
I realize now, the moment he placed blame on the “they,” I should have run away…but I didn’t. I doubted my instincts. He came back with a second offer that actually was great (or at least compared to his first). He came back with an acceptable deal of $2K more on the trade and 2.5K off MSRP, exactly what I wanted. I thought to myself that maybe I had misjudged him and moved forward with the deal.
Done deal, right? WRONG! I get in with finance and the numbers don’t add up. It took me a little while to figure it out, but once I did, I was livid.
You see, that 2.5K off MSRP was moved to a blind charge of “aftermarket add-ons.” His second offer was a lie. He only moved the numbers around to appear like a discount on MSRP.
In the information technology world, this is a huge mistake! If he had known his product or even tried the honesty route, he would have found the manufacturer was offering specials that amounted to $2K off MSRP. $2.5K off MSRP was actually attainable in reality, but he decided to be deceptive instead.
He not only lost my business but gained an enemy as well…you will probably not be surprised that this business went bankrupt a few years later because lying doesn’t sell.
Second Sales Guy: The Flatterer
I was helping a friend purchase a vehicle about a year ago. She is one who completely falls in love with the product and loses sight of the deal. She had been taken advantage of on her last car purchase so I was there to keep everything on track.
When we got to the dealership, we were greeted by a sales guy with perfect hair, bright white teeth, suited to the max, and all smiles. He greeted us with flattery and a little flirtation…
I knew this guy had spotted my friend from across that lot. He saw her eyes light up looking at all the shiny cars and swooped in immediately!
Throughout the entire negotiation of numbers, he would try to pull her back to “the car.” The payments won’t be anything to you once you are in “the car.”
Even though she loved “the car,” she started to sense his insincerity. And beyond insincerity, she began to sense his disregard for her financial comfort zone.
No matter how much you try to sell with charm, people know when they are being taken advantage of. My friend, notorious for falling for the product, ultimately walked away from the sale.
Third Sales Guy: The Information Technology Pro
I recently purchased a Subaru for myself. I went to the dealer armed with my info and stats and mentally prepared for the game I was about to enter. I threw my usual curveball that I care little about the features of the car and ALL about the best deal.
My sales guy didn’t skip a beat. He told me if that is the case, he would pull his sales manager in immediately…No fight? No resistance at all? Ok…
His sales manager came over and asked me, “do you already know what you want and what you want to pay?” So I answered honestly, “yes.” He replied, “ok lay it on me”. So I did!
Five minutes later, he came back with car keys to a vehicle that had everything I wanted plus a few extras. It had been on his lot for a bit, and he could do a deal on it in my range. He told me to go check it out, and by the time I was back, he would be done with numbers.
In my mind, I was skeptical. It can’t possibly be this easy, right? No pitch? No monthly payment redirect? No discussion on all the extra options that would be so super fun? Just honestly trusting that I only care about the deal?
True to his word, the vehicle hit everything I needed. It was the perfect fit IF the price was right. He then came in with his first offer. It was stellar, but I felt like there was a little more room. I told him to get my payments down $25 more per month to close the deal. He thought for a moment, and said, “ok, I can do that.”
One hour later, the finance guy had everything ready for me. It was fast and easy. The documents to sign were clear. He advised honestly on options that would be good and not good for me based on my lifestyle.
It was quick and easy all the way…so I had to ask the team, “is this how you always do business?”
The sales manager told me that he is operating a pilot program at that location changing the way they sell cars. The team is carefully picked for people who are coachable and have integrity. Their goal is not like other dealers. They are not trying to get the most profit out of every car; they are trying to create a sea of happy customers who go home with the right car and a fair deal.
Then I asked, “but what about your profits? You don’t have a regional manager screaming at you every day about your profit per car?”
He then pointed to the corner of the room and asked if I could see the stack of green folders to blue folders. I could. There must have been 70 green folders and maybe 10 blue. He explained the green were sales through the pilot program and the blue were traditional sales. His managers are not asking him to increase his profit per car; they are asking him how he hits those numbers.
It’s amazing to see how far a little honesty and integrity can go in the sales world.