Winners are grinners!
[Click here for Part 1 of this gripping saga.]
On Sunday, my new-car quest finally met success.
And yielded more interesting lessons to boot (nyuk nyuk).
Here, then, is a jovial bookend to last week’s dismal missive.
I was pondering whether roller blading could work for me when the phone rang.
It was Ron*, my friendly local car dealer.
After the last dealer’s rough handling, I’d registered my interest for a car via the manufacturer’s national website.
This was a throwaway tactic. I didn’t imagine a global behemoth could ever be as cheap or flexible as a dealer on the ground.
What I didn’t know was that the site had sent my request to the dealer nearest my postcode.
Ironically, I’d not thought to approach this business, having seen no relevant ads from them.
Ron said he could sell me the exact car I wanted for the money (and trade-in) I had.
Having ‘confirmed’ this by email, I set off for another try.
Ron was polite, articulate, intelligent and immaculately groomed.
I noted that every time I spoke, he stopped talking and listened. You may agree this is rare.
I began to feel confident.
In his office, Ron found my trade-in on Red Book tilted his screen and proved that my car was virtually worthless.
Though disappointed, I was impressed that he showed me, rather than told me.
Funny how you appreciate the smallest things, when chronically conditioned to poor service!
Next, in what seems a universal procedure among car salesmen, Ron wrote down how much I had, how much he needed and how much more I had to give him ($990).
More weary than angry, I reiterated that, as outlined on the phone, by email and in person, I had only $13K plus the trade-in parked outside.
In a second universal procedure, Ron paid three visits to his boss.
Though not evil, his boss was keen to make some margin.
The first visit saw the gap close to $500. I said no.
The second saw the gap rise to $750, but come with ‘free’ alloy wheels.
I explained that:
- The wheels wouldn’t last the night in my grasping suburb.
- I appreciated the offer but wasn’t into extra/fancy ‘stuff’.
- I just wanted a vanilla, base-model car with no extras.
The third visit took the longest.
But when Ron returned, he extended his hand and congratulated me on a ‘super deal’.
And so I signed: but it wasn’t over yet …
Ron introduced me to Cindy* who wished to discuss paint protection – especially with regard to my ‘difficult’ colour choice (red).
Our chat was problematic, as Cindy’s make-up seemed comprised of her products. And her highly revealing blouse threatened to burst at every breath.
I figured new-car duco should hang on for a few years at least. When I said I didn’t have $17, let alone $1700[!] for Cindy’s enhancements, she gave me a brochure and told me to think about it.
On seeing she’d coloured in the brochure with highlighting pens, I sensed business was slow.
I also reflected that, in liaising with four dealerships, I’d seen only three female staff: two on reception and one in protection.
I’ve never seen a car saleswoman. Could they not capture the alienated mass of smart, solvent females wishing to buy their own cars?
Anyway, Cindy took me to Tran* who offered to sell me financing, insurance and an extended warranty before finally taking my deposit.
Exhausted by this add-on marathon, I went home to my wife to celebrate our purchase.
My new car is due in a fortnight. I trust this won’t occasion a third blog post!
As we keep learning from each other’s stories, listening carefully to clients goes a long, long way in commerce.
If listening can shift my view on car dealers and banks, imagine what it can do for your business.
Better still, tell us!
* Not their real names.
Paul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire