I was up earlier than usual yesterday morning because I had offered to go with our friends Dennis and Tami to negotiate on a car to replace the one they were driving, which was having major problems and was not worth fixing. I had confirmed that by calling my son-in-law Kenny in Arizona, who is an ASE-certified mechanic at a car dealership, and telling him what the problem was with the vehicle they had, and getting his opinion that it was an ongoing problem that was likely to reoccur.
As expected, the salesman started out by telling them they could buy anything on the lot with their credit, and started talking about different units that I knew from talking to my friends were out of their price range. I put the kibosh on that pretty quickly by telling him there was no use wasting his time or ours trying to upsell them on something. They had a budget they needed to work within, and we needed to get as close to that as possible.
Cars and RVs are sold on the “wow” factor. Every day people walk onto car lots with a budget in mind, and some fast-talking salesman puts them into something that costs a whole lot more because that’s where he makes a big commission. And people go right along with it because they get all starry-eyed by a bunch of bells and whistles and end up paying more than they can afford for something they don’t really need.
In this case, Dennis and Tami needed reliable basic transportation that fit their budget, and they were levelheaded enough not to be swayed by someone who wanted to show them the newest and best on the lot. It took a while, but they drove out of the dealership a few hours later with a car that I think will serve them well without breaking the bank. So I hope I helped.
In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that I worked in the car business years ago. It was actually a second job, working for a major dealership in Tucson, Arizona, and though I only worked two and sometimes three days a week, I was often the Salesman of the Month. I did that by being honest with people, not pushing them, and by being realistic with them about what they could and couldn’t afford. The result was that not only did I sell a lot of cars to people, I also sold cars to their family members and friends who came in asking for me.
I got lucky in that an Air Force sergeant who worked at the in-processing center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson came in to buy a car, and though he had just gone through a divorce and was having some financial issues, I was able to get him into something he could comfortably afford. He was very grateful, and he used to come by and pick up a box of my business cards every month or so and pass them out to every new airman coming into the base. These kids, usually low ranking enlisted personnel just starting out in life, would show up at the dealership wanting some fancy speedster, and I would have to explain to them that while I could sell them something along those lines, the payments would be so high that they would have very little money left over for gasoline, insurance, food, or anything else. So instead, I sent them home in something that might not have been quite as thrilling to drive, but that they could actually afford to own.
There were many salesmen at the dealership who made much higher commissions on each car they sold, but I was quite happy to make less money per car and move a lot more units. And I slept better at night, too.
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.
Thought For The Day – If you want to be able to buy things without looking at the price, you have to be able to work without looking at the clock.