D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Adventures in Car Shopping

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 2:50 AM
Still looking for the elusive second vehicle, but I've now hit three dealerships and have come out relatively un-slimed.

Dealership 1: Saturn
Saturn of old is not the Saturn of new apparantly, with their "no haggle price" being in question as more and more GMC-ness invades the company that tries to be different. Upon approaching the lot I was greeted by a very nice salesman, and after telling him I was interested in taking an Outlook out for a drive he asked me to wait inside while he brought one into the service bay so we could look at it.

He brings in the EXACT ONE that i was looking at, not just a "test drive" vehicle. I thought that was kewl. We go over the features and then we're off. One thing I've found is that if you get older salesguys (this one was 51), its waaay less stressful. They don't have that agitated jittery thing that newer salesmen have.

So after coming back to the dealership from the drive, we tour the dealership, meet the business manager, and then he gives me a brochure and his card. Overall, a very pleasant experience. As I thought about it, it dawned on me why: not ONCE did we talk about monthly payments, budget, or anything like that...it was entirely about the vehicle.

Dealership 2: Pontiac
I visited my Pontiac dealership (I say "my" because it's where we bought our last car and where we take it in for service), and had a VERY laid back salesman. Super nice guy, and when I told him that I wanted to take a Torrent for a drive it was similar to the Saturn experience: what features, here's what's on our lot, let's go take it for a run. He was able to explain the features well, we had a good chat, and at the end he gave me a brochure and his card and said if I had any other questions to let him know. He also pointed out that they had 2007 models that were practically identical to the 08's but for a few thousand cheaper. Again, no discussion of payments, budget or anything...just the vehicle.

Dealership 3: Jeep
I walked into the Jeep dealership next and immediately felt a thin layer of grease coat my body. I informed the receptionist I wanted to take a Liberty for a drive. She paged a salesperson who ushered me into his office for a talk first. He pulls out a form and asks my name, number, what vehicle I'm looking for, what features, etc. Then he asks what my target monthly payment is. I have no idea, I'm just there to evaluate the vehicle. But apparantly at this dealership here's how it works:
- Salesperson gets features for a vehicle AND monthly payment that the customer can afford
- Salesperson then disappears to the General Manager who PICKS THE VEHICLES OUT FOR THE CUSTOMER

I kid you not. Although they masked this as "ensuring that we don't get customer expectations up", it felt more like "we don't want to waste OUR time unless we know with almost certainty we can make a sale from you". This guy went back to his GM THREE times before he came back saying that it turned out they only had one 08 Liberty on the lot and they can't let it go out for a test drive...mmhmm. So I suggest that maybe we test drive an 07 model instead, as I just want to get a feel for the vehicle. That seems reasonable all of a sudden, and he goes to get the vehicle.

But then, I'm introduced to another salesperson...and older guy, who will be taking me out on my drive because my younger, newer salesguy had an "appointment" he forgot about. Can you say CLOSER? However, this is where things got good. The older salesperson (remember my comment before?) was fantastic. He knew the vehicle inside and out, and was very friendly and non-threatening. He showed the features and did try to sell me on the varied features, but at the end he went to park the vehicle and asked if I needed any other info...no big push to come back inside to persue the sale further. He got it that I wasn't buying that day, and I appreciated it.

I really liked the Jeep most out of all the vehicles so far, but if I do get one it won't be from that dealership...what a horrible system that is entirely counter customer-service while masking as a service.

The search continues...



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