I was thinking about the last car my wife and I purchased. It’s always is an interesting experience. I went on-line and looked at several models then busily narrowed down the choices. I was taking my time doing the research with due diligence. Then pressure began.
The car we were replacing had been totaled. My wife and I were trying to decide whether to keep the car or trade it in. The hail damage was more extensive than we thought so there was no harm in checking what was out there. Then the front end of the started making a funny noise and the air conditioning went out. This happened in the midst of one of the hottest July’s on record, (at least on my record). So we decided to find another ride.
After my casual research, it was time to get serious. We spent an afternoon driving, and decided on two. We had narrowed the choices down. Our first choice looked to be a done deal. I talked with the salesman; we had a verbal agreement contingent on some extraneous matters. It was a nice SUV. We were looking forward to having it. But the salesman thought if he met our payment we would be set. He could see our eagerness. I told him I had a bottom line, not a monthly payment requirement but he failed to give me a final price. He kept telling me he’d meet the monthly payment amount. In the end we were $750 dollars apart. This could have been overcome, but I get the salesman to understand out needs. He would listen to me
While waiting for his final phone call, I went back online and investigated more cars. Our second choice was still in the running, but we just weren’t as sure anymore. I sent out three emails about cars I’d found on-line. I mentioned I was willing to make a deal that day if we could work it out. I revealed the financial specifics: the size of the loan, amount down and trade-in value. My offers were reasonable, based on the cars. Of the three dealers where I inquired, one responded quickly. They said if I was satisfied after driving the car, they’d meet the trade in requirements. We could definitely make a deal that day.
I had to take care of some other business before leaving town the next day. So, a couple of hours later, I headed to the car dealership. It was a great experience! Everyone was professional, courteous and not the least bit condescending. The salesman responded honestly. We worked the deal. The financial person was helpful and kind (this may have been helped by an A+ credit score).
This leadership lesson is easy (and many). One salesperson was timely in responding, honest in communications, and helpful when dealing. One wasn’t cooperative. Two failed to respond. Maybe the unresponsive dealers saw my offer and decided they couldn’t do the deal. But I had asked for a response – regardless. I’d even instant messaged one. They said they would take the details to their manager and get back to me. They didn’t.
The one who said we had a deal, and then tried to squeeze out a few more bucks was offensive. I walked away determined that I wouldn’t do business regardless of the terms. If I couldn’t trust the salesman how could I trust the dealership?
Leadership begins inside: self-leadership. One salesman demonstrated promptness, courtesy and integrity. He got the deal. I’ll go back there first next time and ask for him by name. He did what he could do to make the sale. He probably wasn’t even thinking about leadership, he was simply demonstrating it. Leadership that’s integrated into character becomes the beginnings and the result of the leadership quest.
Points to Ponder –
When you think of making a major purchase, what do you expect out of a salesperson?
Have you ever bought something you weren’t really sure about because you were sold on the salesperson?
Have you ever not purchased something because you were so turned off by the salesperson?