Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Ups and Downs of Car Shopping.

I experienced two extremes today in terms of shopping for a new vehicle. I'll start today's article with the negative experience, but end on a positive note.

First, the bad...

2015 Toyota RAV4

Crystal and I went to check out a Toyota RAV4 at the local Cox Toyota dealership. Our salesman, whom was initially polite and answered all of our questions, soon morphed into a belligerent salesman whom wouldn't take no for an answer. From the onset of our encounter, he was directly informed that we would not impulsively buy a vehicle on the spot. We wanted to look at all of the vehicles on our short list of candidates, of which the RAV4 was one. Only after evaluating all of the potential candidates would we make a final decision. We test drove the RAV4 and liked it reasonably well (though, it has not proven to be one of our final selections for reasons unrelated to the salesman). Upon returning to the dealership, we asked if he could provide a breakdown of the general prices on each trim level of the vehicle for comparison sake. After vanishing and making us wait for twenty minutes, he returned with a data sheet. This sheet concerned one of the models he had on the dealership lot, which he felt perfectly fit our needs. How he knew what would be a perfect fit for us, I have no idea -- that's a decision only myself and Crystal can make. He then began his sales pitch, assuming we were ready to buy the vehicle he selected. When we tried to compare the RAV4 to other models we were considering, he immediately spoke ill of them. HELLO -- when you do that, it implies that we're idiots for considering them! Needless to say, this salesman was in for a surprise. I had to reiterate that we were not buying the vehicle on the spot, but merely evaluating it for purchase. After a few rounds of him second guessing our judgment, tossing out-of-date consumer reports at us and generally throwing a tantrum, we walked out. Because of this salesman's behavior, I wouldn't buy any vehicle from Cox Toyota just on principle. They lost our business... permanently. And to think -- none of this had anything to do with the quality of the RAV4.

Now, to the good...

2015 Nissan Rogue

Later this afternoon, we visited our local Carolina Nissan dealership. Another vehicle on our short list of prospects was the Nissan Rogue. I had previously spoken with our salesman a few days ago for a minute or two. He provided me with a booklet concerning the Rogue's specs, which is what incurred me to include it on our short list. Not once did he ever try to tie up my time and lure me into a sales pitch. I took the booklet, shook his hand and left. Today, he was very polite and prompt. This salesman answered all of our questions about the vehicle and showed us every nook and cranny. We sat together in the Rogue and he went over each and every detail about the interior. Then, we completed a test drive. What I appreciated about this salesman was that he remained quiet for the majority of the ride. He allowed Crystal and I to take the Rogue in and let it "sell itself". After we got back to the dealership, the salesman asked us into his office, explained the different prices on the trims, and told us that he would appreciate the chance to do business with us if we deemed the Rogue worthy. He was not pushy, nor brash, nor did he make assumptions about what we wanted. This salesman let us ask questions -- not only about the Rogue, but other vehicles we were considering as well. He spoke highly of some of the other candidates and said they were just as good (if not better in some areas) than the Rogue. The fact that he didn't bad-mouth the other models on our list reflected well upon his nature. Instead of trying to knock the other guy down, he instead chose to lift his own product up. I like that in a salesman. He had the confidence in his own product to let it speak for itself. Because he was so gracious and realistic, combined with the fact that the Rogue was fantastic to drive, we've now moved this particular vehicle into the finalist category.

I'm a considerate and realistic guy. I realize that a salesman is selling a product to earn a living. I can respect that -- being a salesman is a difficult job where you really get to see people at their best and worst. Even though I don't sell cars, I'm a salesman myself -- I can completely relate. Yet, a salesman also has to realize that they don't have a product that's right for everyone. As the old saying goes... one man's trash is another man's treasure. If you can be polite, answer my questions and let me judge the vehicle for itself, then perhaps you'll get a sale out of it.

Being a salesman is like going fishing. Sometimes you don't even get a nibble. Sometimes you get a few nibbles, but nothing takes the hook. Sometimes you get lucky and reel the fish in. It's just the nature of the beast.

That being said -- if we decide to purchase the Rogue, I'll only buy it from the gentlemen I spoke with today. By not aggressively selling the Rogue, he sold the Rogue. Do you get what I'm saying? You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.

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