Recently, my husband and I decided it was time for a new car. Now, if you’ve been through the experience of visiting a car dealership, you might think you already know how our day went. Nothing could have prepared us for this experience.
No real names will be used to protect – well, all of us involved.
We’ve banked at the same bank for longer than many of you are old. We’re very loyal. That bank has been darn good to us. We get all our auto loans from them too. They had an online referral system that worked pretty simply. We tell them what car we’re interested in and they refer us to the local dealerships that partner with them. The middle man here is “Blank” Cars who check out the dealerships and ok them for the banks.
Soon we were receiving phone calls from 3 dealerships, but we weren’t quite ready to buy. We decided we’d go look at the car first and even test drive it. So off we go to the only one of the three dealerships that had that particular make and model.
We were greeted immediately by a salesman. No news to any of you, is it? This salesman was different. We explained we were just looking. He didn’t pressure us a bit. As a matter of fact, we enjoyed his pleasantries. After the test drive he invited us in to start the paperwork.
This is where some of you have turned white, isn’t it? Knuckles in your mouths?
Once inside we were greeted by the floor manager who joined our little group. This is where my husband and I explained that we only wanted to look at the car, go home, apply at our bank, and make sure that dealership’s online sales rep for the referrals got the credit.
No problem, the floor manager said. However, things had changed since the last time we purchased a car, or so they said. They did everything for us; we wouldn’t even apply for the loan, that was part of their job. We were a little flustered at that, but, well, ok, if he said so. What about the online referral? Taken care of, he assured us. Twice he left and came back saying that he had talked to our bank. Meanwhile, we’re filling out forms. We insisted yet again that it must be our bank. Again, no problem.
We said we’d go home and come back in awhile. Yes, all of you are right. No way were they going to let us. They, like every other car dealership planned to hold us hostage.
The time began to pass. Hour by hour, minute by minute. We hadn’t eaten that day because we were just going to make a quick trip. We also had an appointment that was quickly approaching. Again, no problem. Just another half hour. By now, neither of us were feeling that great and there was nothing there to eat.
Another half hour.
Another half hour.
Another half hour. By then, I was thinking I should have packed lunch, dinner, snacks, and our sleeping bags.
Finally, (obviously I’m the one with no patience) I walk to the finance office and the floor manager was just finishing with all our paperwork. I went back to my husband and said, they’re about ready for us. The floor manager leaves the finance office, yet we’re still waiting. I walk back to that office and the finance guy is laughing and smiling with some salesman.
What a great selling tactic. Ignore the customer and visit with a friend. No rush. Don’t start yelling, I tell myself, maybe his customers were ahead of us. I looked around. Didn’t see one other customer. Now I’m staring in that office with my ‘I’m losing patience’ face. The salesman leaves and we were called in. We’re so tired and hungry we signed away. We asked only one question. This finance guy told us the three warranies were no longer optional, but required. Well, phh, I spent my life in sales and customer service. I told him he was getting paid to sell them, he told me absolutely not. By now, we just want out.
Once home, we eat. We were starving. Then we look over the contract and became angrier and angrier. They’d never contacted our bank, the percentage was way off, they were charging us more than the price of the car, the warrenties WERE optional, no one informed the online sales rep, and credit for the commissioned sale was given to some guy we never met who just happened to be the guy in the office earlier. Looks real good to a customer, doesn’t it? Like cheating the true salesman out of sales maybe? Seemed dishonest to me.
Uh oh. Bad mistake to anger me. I call the finance guy back with the questions and he starts yelling at me in the phone and lying to me about the above points. He insists we dealt with this guy we never met. How dumb does he think we are? Immediately I’m on the phone with our bank who verified that no one contacted them. This hero of the day got our loan approved and called the finance guy at the dealership. In no uncertain terms, our loan officer informed us we better hurry back and get the contract fixed, that that finance person was not pleasant. I called the dealership and the finance guy told me quite clearly that he wanted nothing more to do with us and we’d have to go back the next day and have someone else fix the contract.
We went back the next day and we did meet with a very pleasant finance man who fixed our contract to our liking in so short of a time that we were out of there in less than a half hour, including giving us the correct price of the car.
Here’s the thing. Most of us are trying to sell something so stay true to yourself.
NEVER BE DISHONEST IN YOUR SALES. IT COMES BACK TO BITE YOU.
NEVER THINK A CUSTOMER IS A PATSY.
NEVER LOOK LIKE YOU ARE CHEATING ANOTHER EMPLOYEE BY MAKING UNDER THE TABLE DEALS WITH SOMEONE THE CUSTOMER HAS NEVER MET.
NEVER HOLD THE CUSTOMER UP WHILE YOU JOKE AROUND WITH ANOTHER EMPLOYEE.
REMEMBER THIS RULE OF THUMB FOR SALES: FOR EVERY SATISFIED CUSTOMER, HE WILL TELL 3 OTHERS. FOR EVERY DISSATISFIED CUSTOMER, HE WILL TELL 10 OTHERS.
But wait. This is the age of the internet. I myself have access to way over 4,000 people just from the sites I’m in and the groups I’m in, not counting my blogs.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY THAN ANYTHING – NEVER ARGUE WITH A CUSTOMER AND LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN!
The past few days, I’ve written emails to anybody in line with this company. I’ve complained to two departments of my bank and the middle company who set up the referral. I wrote to my bank also. I complained to the independent survey taker for this company.
Why did I make all these complaints? I wanted this company to know how unhappy I was and I wanted other people in my community to know for their own sake. I guarantee we will never go back there to purchase another vehicle.
It’s hard enough to sell anything in these tough economic times, but we can come out on top of sales. Just follow the rules above. The old adage, the customer is always right still applies.
The general manager and the floor manager both issued us apologies and we accepted. But no buyer should ever have to go through this kind of stress.
Be honest in your dealings. Your reputation will grow and you will become successful in your sales.
LHR my friends. Believe in yourself and support others.