Adventures in Car Buying – A positive story!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our “Adventures In Car Shopping – how not to sell” and shared a somewhat painful story about our initial visit and test drive experience with 3 different car dealerships.

As I mentioned previously, 2 of the dealerships / salesmen basically knocked themselves out of the running with a combination of poor sales techniques and some ethically challenged tactics.

The good news is that we liked the other car (a Ford Edge – pictured above) and the salesman and the dealership correctly read that we are the kind of buyers that just wanted a straight discussion and limited ‘help’.

So what did they do right?  Read on and find out…

Recognizing the situation

Our salesman was Mark Steinkamp at Rob Sight Ford-Lincoln-Mercury and Mark did a great job recognizing that we were initially on an exploratory expedition (with kids in tow) and he made it easy for us to get what we were looking for.  All we wanted was a test drive, on our own, just to get a feel for the make and model that we were considering to see if it could make the short list.

Mark understood that right away and didn’t push us for anything else, but did let us know that there were opportunities to get a good deal if it turned out we were interested.

Lesson:  Recognize where your prospects are in the buying cycle and don’t force them backwards or try to push them forwards.  Let them buy at their own pace.

Helpful Follow-up:

Personally I generally don’t like to talk to a salesperson when they’re trying to follow-up, but as long as it’s done the right way and they don’t waste my time, I can respect what they’re doing and with a more complicated purchase, there comes a time when buyers legitimately will need your help.

Mark did a nice job making himself available without being pushy and when we did want some additional information he was very responsive in helping us figure out our options and alternatives.

Lesson:  Be available, add value and make it a pleasant customer experience – that’s it.

Win-Win Outcome:

In some ways you’d think this last one would be obvious.  We needed a car, we knew all of the details we needed to know and the dealership wanted to sell a car.  On paper, that’s an easy transaction.

However our previous experience buying cars has taught us that generally dealers are much more interested in winning that situation than creating a win-win environment.  So we were pleasantly surprised when we got a fair / borderline generous offer right up front – even as we were preparing to play hard ball and walk out the door.

There was no ‘negotiating with the manager’, there was no back and forth trying to lowball on side of the equation and then get it back on the trade-in – even the final checkout paperwork was relatively painless.  Yes add-ons were available, but they weren’t a hard sell and they seemed to be reasonable options for those that might need them.  Additionally, everyone was very pleasant to work with and professional in every way.

Lesson:  People have choices and the long term benefit of good will is much, much more valuable than any short term gains you might get from squeezing a sale.

Bottom Line:

Thanks to Mark and the folks at Rob Sight Ford for a relatively painless buying experience.  The car is great – it drives well, it’s quiet, it’s got some cool toys/features on it.  All in all, I would highly recommend checking out Rob Sight if you’re looking for a new car (tell Mark we said hi).

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach