Tales from the Dealership - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Tales from the Dealership

So in light of everyone always seeming to want to know what REALLY happens in the car business from, I would like to start a thread to share some things I have experienced from my perspective as someone who works in the business.

Here's a great recent example of what I often refer to someone who is seemingly desperate to get that mythical "best deal possible."

So it's Friday, my normal day off, and while I am eating lunch I get an email notification at 3:18 from a customer saying that they would be in at 3:30. I tell them I will do my best to make it in by then. At 3:40 they email me to say that they will arrive closer to 4pm.

So we meet at 4pm and we go through the normal process, I come to find out that they want a base model Outback and that they qualify for Subaru's VIP program through their employer. I lay out their options for acquiring a base Outback because we recently sold our last one and had 3 inbound. They are wanting a car ASAP and want that "mythical best deal possible!"

So they ask, "what is the best deal on a car you can get us today?" So I find the cheapest Outback available in inventory and give them the VIP price they are entitled to. Upon completing a credit app we find out that theircredit is frozen and they reported their income as $200,000 per year.

We agree to meet the next day because we were near close and they needed to go home to get information to unfreeze credit. Upon returning the next day as we are completing all their paperwork they inform me that they believe that I have not given them "the best deal possible." They said that they were in contact with another dealership 2 hours away that gave them some phony lowball quote on a car I came to find out that they do not even have in inventory.

Here's the thing, we can search the inventory of other dealerships and see what vehicles they have inbound. The customer showed me the email from this salesman and it specifies in the email that the car is on order! But because of this the customer is convinced that I am not giving them "the best deal possible."

A few things to consider, the VIP price is fixed by Subaru and we are literally not allowed to sell a car for one dollar more or less than their fixed price. Beyond knowing that this other dealership does not have the car they gave an ultra lowball quote on, they literally would be losing thousands considering the specific vehicle and quote, it is obviously a play to get them in the door knowing that they are working with me.

So the customer sits in front of me with their spouse at the last second before we wrap up the deal and puts on this routine telling me that they are going to commit at least 6 hours of a nice Saturday driving to and from this other dealership in a vain effort to get that "mythical best deal possible."

They were upset because of the trade value we offered them because they had a purchase offer for twice as much elsewhere, so I said sell it then and I removed it as a factor in the deal. This is nothing to throw a fit over.

What gets me above all else is how they do not value their time whatsoever, especially when they convince themselves that they might have the chance to "save" some insignificant amount of money on something that is in now way certain. It just boggles my mind mind that someone who makes so much money has the willingness to go so far out of their way to waste their time and certainly not respect my commitment to them for the allure of that "mythical best deal possible."

They ended up buying a car from me but it was on of the most absurd dealings I have had in recent memory.

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post #2 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 07:09 AM
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Nice Story Kevin. I suspect you could post a new one at the end of each shift. One day you might even find a customer than can actually define the "mythical best deal".

I think CarMax has the right idea....the price is the price....don't waste my time asking me for a better one.

It all reminds me of the Doors song, People Are Strange.....


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post #3 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 08:29 AM
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I feel ya, Kevin.

Having been in the retail auto repair business for many years, I'm sure we could share war stories for a long time. So here's a quickie.
Two man shop with me as the service writer, secretary, parts orderer, diagnostician, wrench turner, test driver and a sore neck for all the hats I had to wear.
Mid morning has the waiting room with a number of customers on appointment waiting for their vehicles. A first timer comes in saying that he wants an oil change.
"No problem", says I. "Please have a seat and I'll get to you ASAP."
"You don't understand" comes the reply. "I'm a doctor and I want this oil changed now."
"I'm sorry sir. I can not do it right now. I have an opening this afternoon though. Would that be acceptable?"
"No! I'm a doctor and therefore more important than them" (referring to the waiting customers).
"I'm sorry sir but it is you who does not understand. These customers have made appointments, just as your patients do. Their personal/business lives are no less important to them as your personal/business life is to you. Please have a seat and I'll do what I can."
"Completely unacceptable" he says. "I'm leaving."
"Okay. I'll get the door for you."
As the very miffed doctor leaves, a round of applause erupts from the waiting room.

As it turned out, the doctor returned sometime later to offer me an apology for his behaviour, which I gratefully accepted. He then became a loyal customer for many years.

If there's a moral here I guess it might be that anyone can have an off day.

Jim
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post #4 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 11:24 AM
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Kevin,

Yours is a job I wouldn't have the patience for despite your having many more good days than bad.....the bad ones can be most daunting for certain.

Most people going into a dealership have no clue about buying a car and some are intimidated to the point of belligerence and push beyond reason and respectfulness.

Then there are sales people of all stripes with some that try gaming customers with deceit or inept/flawed product knowledge, while many are fairly trying to make a sale under the dealership's business/sales model - to make a fair income.

I go into a buying situation well informed about the product and what I want with the view that this is a business transaction not an adversarial encounter. The dealership needs to make a fair profit and I want to save as much as I can. I start with certain expectation of the general price point is based upon a understanding what the costs are - although this is not a rigid target. When a sales agreement is struck after some firm negotiating, I and the sales team are on good terms.

When I bought my first Subaru 4-years ago, I underwent this process and began a dealer relationship such that last year when I returned to buy a new outback, the sales manager (formerly the sales guy I first talked to in 2013) knew what my expectations were and within 14-minutes, the sales agreement was signed. A month later my wife needed to buy a new car after her car was totalled. I called the sales manager to set up a time and when the model was determined, he had the numbers ready to review. It took less time to conclude the sale.

The key was the relationship based upon respect, reasonableness and customer relationship management. Since then, I have developed a good customer relationship with the owner of the dealership and spend time in his office kicking things a round.

It's all in the relationship as this owner understands and fosters. He understands that I don't represent a single purchase, but many in terms of friends, family and acquaintances in terms of a sales multiplier with the least expensive form of new customer acquisition. Incidentally , dealerships spend HUGE $$$$$ in advertising to entice new customers into there dealerships.

A for "the price is the price", that didn't work with the GM Saturn or Toyota Scion experiment. Imagine if all auto sales were "the price is the price". No need for sales people. All ya would need is trade-In assessor, a kiosk/online ordering page to select the model, options, accessories and financing options and select delivery dare and time. Imagine chaos that would ensue as potential buyers run around to various dealer makes trying get the best "the price is the price" make, model and features. It'll never happen cuz it only takes one dealer to break ranks.
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post #5 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by papajam View Post
I feel ya, Kevin.

Having been in the retail auto repair business for many years, I'm sure we could share war stories for a long time. So here's a quickie.
Two man shop with me as the service writer, secretary, parts orderer, diagnostician, wrench turner, test driver and a sore neck for all the hats I had to wear.
Mid morning has the waiting room with a number of customers on appointment waiting for their vehicles. A first timer comes in saying that he wants an oil change.
"No problem", says I. "Please have a seat and I'll get to you ASAP."
"You don't understand" comes the reply. "I'm a doctor and I want this oil changed now."
"I'm sorry sir. I can not do it right now. I have an opening this afternoon though. Would that be acceptable?"
"No! I'm a doctor and therefore more important than them" (referring to the waiting customers).
"I'm sorry sir but it is you who does not understand. These customers have made appointments, just as your patients do. Their personal/business lives are no less important to them as your personal/business life is to you. Please have a seat and I'll do what I can."
"Completely unacceptable" he says. "I'm leaving."
"Okay. I'll get the door for you."
As the very miffed doctor leaves, a round of applause erupts from the waiting room.

As it turned out, the doctor returned sometime later to offer me an apology for his behaviour, which I gratefully accepted. He then became a loyal customer for many years.

If there's a moral here I guess it might be that anyone can have an off day.
I actually worked in the medical profession prior to the job I have now and I know doctors and their typical line of thinking.

I recall this one doctor I attempted to work with a few months ago, he came in to look at a new loaded up Forester before he left he said he MIGHT return on a certain day during some uncertain timeframe. I tell every single person I come in contact with to make the effort set an appointment with me or at least contact me ahead of time if they are intending to come in and want to work with me specifically.

So here I am on that day having back to back appointments to deliver one car and work to sell two others to a mother and son pair and this doctor just shows up as I am finishing my first of two appointments.

What gets me is that after having explained to him my current circumstances he demands that I work exclusively with him because he let me know that he may be coming in at some random point during that day.

I ended up trying to juggle him with my second appointment customers but the doctor got really upset because both he and my other customers with the appointment were both there to see the same Forester! His whole attitude turned into, "how dare you show the car I want to buy to anyone else!"

The doctor went inside and complained to management that I was extremely rude apparently because my entire professional life should be put on hold for him. So my manager got someone else to work with him and he ended up leaving and we never heard from him again.

I got my head completely ripped off the next day despite the fact that I explained and documented in detail all that had transpired. I am not saying all doctors act this way but I have seen enough of this attitude from many.
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post #6 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 03:58 PM
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A for "the price is the price", that didn't work with the GM Saturn or Toyota Scion experiment. Imagine if all auto sales were "the price is the price". No need for sales people. All ya would need is trade-In assessor, a kiosk/online ordering page to select the model, options, accessories and financing options and select delivery dare and time. Imagine chaos that would ensue as potential buyers run around to various dealer makes trying get the best "the price is the price" make, model and features. It'll never happen cuz it only takes one dealer to break ranks.
No haggle pricing did not work for Saturn because dealers did not stick to the plan and would still negotiate.

It works very well for CarMax, even at their Toyota franchise. They are a 14 billion dollar a year corporation that moves almost a million cars a year.

CarMax is currently testing online ordering in Charlotte. Buy your next car from the comfort of your Lazy Boy.
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post #7 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 04:58 PM
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I actually worked in the medical profession prior to the job I have now and I know doctors and their typical line of thinking.
.
there must be some internet listing for salesman to pigeon hole customers into psychological descriptions,...whereas in the old days it would have been in a short desk reference book.

medical doctor = prima-donna,...one even shopping for a forester must be slumming it, but know it can make it up his long steep unplowed driveway.

surgeon = prima-donna with enough confidence to want cut on people like a mechanic,...with the goal of leasing new 750x BMWs.

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post #8 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 04:59 PM
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I understand your side and sales is not easy. You sound like an honest guy but for everyone of you there is a salesman with little or no expierence taking the buyer over the coals . I have to say buying a car is one of the toughest purchase you wil make. I say this because so many factor come into play but, the most important is price, trade in value and don't forget financing which is where you can lose every thing you got in first two( I learn the hard way years ago on bank kick back to dealers). I don't know what the fix is and nothing has worked in past so it comes down to do you trust the man selling ?if he been there 20 years most likely yes he must doing it right (( the DEALER makes money either off car or hit quotas and gets bonus/ SALESMAN makes money and YOU get a good deal. It tough when you come in and they tell you the best price 30000 and 3 hours later you buy it for 27000 but that's the way it is and most likely will be always . The educated buyer is the only way to survive this crazy sales. And trust me that I understand you have a right to make a living I really want you to but it's the guy that started last week and won't be there next month the give you that tarnish reputation . Doug
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post #9 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 06:36 PM
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[QUOTE=z28dug;4737650]No haggle pricing did not work for Saturn because dealers did not stick to the plan and would still negotiate.

It works very well for CarMax, even at their Toyota franchise. They are a 14 billion dollar a year corporation that moves almost a million cars a year.

CarMax is currently testing online ordering in Charlotte. Buy your next car from the comfort of your Lazy Boy.[/

Nope.... Ownership in common doesn't make their Toyota dealership a CarMax dealership. I believe this was proffered previously and proven inaccurateAnd you made my point there was no market acceptance t"the price is the price" sales model dealers will chase the maket kept no matter what
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post #10 of 174 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 08:32 PM
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Nope.... Ownership in common doesn't make their Toyota dealership a CarMax dealership. I believe this was proffered previously and proven inaccurateAnd you made my point there was no market acceptance t"the price is the price" sales model dealers will chase the maket kept no matter what
I don't understand a word you just wrote. Are you suggesting CarMax did not buy the Laurel MD Toyota franchise in 1998 and sell new cars using no haggle pricing?


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