There are some fundamental basics to retail sales. Know your product, know your competitors’ products, be honest, and don’t play games with customers who are actually ready to buy. Here’s a brief story about retail done right – and retail done horribly, horribly wrong:
We had been planning on getting a new car this fall, but our Acura began acting up and we decided to pull the trigger last week. An in-law worked for Ford their entire career and we had the opportunity to get a Family Plan deal – we did some research and felt the Ford Fusion SE was a nice car and would work out perfectly for us.
Our closest dealer was just a mile or two off one of my normal bike routes, so I cruised in last Friday to get some answers to questions I had and take a test drive, etc. My first questions were about hybrid models and specifically, Ford’s lithium batteries (warranty, life expectancy, etc.). Nothing too technical. Well, the salesperson had zero knowledge about the hybrids and could only come back with “We really specialize in trucks, but I hear the hybrids are great.” He also had zero knowledge about the Eco-Boost engine, the AWD system, or competitive cars we were considering.
I then told him what we wanted specifically, regarding features. And, specifically, what we didn’t want (features we would never use and that only added weight to the car – which will see Rocky Mountain, high altitude duty.) He proceeds to put me into the Fusion Platinum model, explaining this was the minimum we needed to get the features we had to have. And then we did the whole song-and-dance sales drama with the Sales Manager.
Well, the SM verified that the car they were showing me is the model that meets our basic requirements and goes on to tell me that since we are getting the Family Plan, we aren’t entitled to the other rebates and offers a regular buyer would be getting. He also shows me a print out where (he claimed) he was losing money on the deal by having to give us the Family Plan. By this time, I had already decided these guys were trying to pull a fast one on me.
I went home, got back online and figured out they lied to me on several fronts. And now I’m thinking that Ford as a company can’t be trusted. I decided to call another dealer and give it one more try. And, BAM! what an entirely different experience when you get in touch with a retailer who knows how to do things right! To wit:
I dial the number and within three rings, “Hi, welcome to O’Meara Ford, this is Michael. How can I help you today?” (My first thought was, “What are you doing answering your phone? You mean I don’t have to start pushing buttons and try to get a human being on the line?).” I said I wanted to talk to a sales manager and Michael said he was the Internet Sales Manager. I then said, “Is it true I have to get the Platinum model to get x, y, and z?” No, that’s not true. “Is it true I can’t get the regular rebates and 0% financing since we are on the Family Plan?” No, that’s not true. “Do we have to come over there before you’ll show us the bottom line?” No, in fact, I have three cars on the lot that meet your needs and I’ll email over details on the pricing and features.
Which he did. Which saved us over $8,000 from what the other dealer was trying to step us into. Plus, he gave us the regular rebates, a special $1,000 summer sales incentive and 0% financing. So we said we’d be over Saturday morning to pick up the car – Michael asked me to email some paperwork and insurance details so they could get our paperwork started and not waste any more time than absolutely necessary.
Well, we were pretty confident we were dealing with the right people, but the experience at the dealership was even more stellar, as Michael turned us over to Josh Nunez, who spent hours with us going over details on the technology, the engine, the maintenance, etc. He knew every detail of the car and had the patience of a saint. When we drove off that lot, we looked at each other and said that was about as good as retail gets. Zero buyer’s remorse. And after a cruise up into the Rockies on Sunday morning, we came away confident we have made an informed purchase, at a great price, with peace of mind that should anything go wrong, we were in good hands with O’Meara Ford. You see, retail isn’t really that difficult if you know your product, be honest, and don’t play games with people ready to plunk down their credit card.