Life is like buying a pre-owned car. Uncertainty and constant change when you least expect it, and yet you know that the one constant in life is, in fact, change. Still, it can take you by surprise. And then there’s trusting the uncertainty and hoping that change brings good outcomes, for the most part.
The experience goes something like this. Let’s take the vehicle analogy. You see the sticker price on a vehicle – you believe it to be true. However, there are hidden fees. A lot of them. It can get overwhelming as that initial sticker price is simply the carrot. One big tease.
I’m looking to buy a pre-owned vehicle. I started by asking family and friends where they’ve found the most success in buying. They started listing; Facebook marketplace, kijiji, auto trader, craigslist, and a few other sites. As I was doing my research, naturally I spoke to a few dealerships, one being the one that I had been doing business with for years. We chatted about various options, leasing, buying, or buying a pre-owned vehicle. The latter being of interest to me.
As we were chatting it occurred to me that my conversation was very similar to one’s I had had with other sales consultants that same week. They immediately threw around numbers. I’m not sure if they do this on purpose to confuse you. I’m thinking, yes. It started with, “For x # $ you can lease this or for x # $ you can buy it outright at this price and if you’re financing a used vehicle, it’ll cost you x # $ + + +.” It didn’t start with, “What specifically are your needs?” In fact, when we eventually got to my needs, I wasn’t convinced I was being heard because the next words that came out of the sale consultants’ mouth was, “Let me call you back when I can work out the numbers.”
Interestingly, and this may seem obvious, it’s best to physically go into a dealership rather than have a conversation over the phone.
Meanwhile, I did find a pre-owned vehicle through people I knew, which is my preference because you never know what you’re going to get. Knowing people sure can help to reassure a person that you’re most likely not going to get a lemon. I decided to go see the vehicle a week from when I asked to see it as the location was out of town. Plans were set. Until … more on this later.
And here’s where trust in trust and trust when it doesn’t feel right, comes into play. Every transaction you make in life comes down to one question you ask yourself; “Do I trust what a person is telling me to be true.” Think about every single interaction that you have, and every single transaction that you make. It comes down to trust. Either through speaking with trusted people that you know because they’ve demonstrated their trust to you, or the research that you conducted through trusted information from researchers and credible people that have been consistent and trustworthy.
Back to my experience with my dealership that I had been doing business with for years.
But I digress ….. You can tell that I was thoroughly disappointed that my being a long-time loyal customer made no impression on them. I know it wasn’t intentional and yet they blew it.
Anyway, the sales consultant called me back a day or 2 later. Clearly not that eager to sell me something. Which was a mistake. Just because today there is a shortage of pre-owned vehicles, doesn’t mean that at some point the cards will turn and the sales consultant will be begging customers for sales. This short-sighted approach almost always comes back to bite you in the butt.
So, there was a pre-owned vehicle that sounded really good. One owner, no accidents, reasonable mileage on a pre-owned, decent price. I said, “Let’s proceed.” As we were discussing the details the sales consultant said that a colleague would be calling me to work through the rest of the details. A day later, I received a call, and the colleague began to throw more numbers my way. Yep. It was then strongly suggested that I purchase a warranty for the vehicle. “You know, with pre-owned vehicles you never know when the technology system on board could run into trouble. If it does it could cost you a lot of money. It’s better to be safe than sorry.” And then I was quoted a price. What?
Fast forward as I needed to do more research on vehicle warranties to find out if I really needed one. Interestingly, my initial instinct was to pass after our conversation. It didn’t feel right. I called the person back and said, “I’m not comfortable doing this deal as you freaked me out about the warranty.” The reply was, “I understand. Let me have the sales consultant call you back.”
The sales consultant never called me back.
On the day I started writing this experience down, I was going to end this post by saying, and I’m still looking. But, as I mentioned earlier, I was set to head out of town to see a pre-owned vehicle. Just days before I decided that my experience at my dealership wasn’t going to discourage me from calling another one of their franchise dealers. They didn’t own it. It was another franchise owner. After a conversation I went to see them and found the perfect pre-owned vehicle. Better price, better mileage, mint condition, no accidents. Gorgeous. I made the deal on the spot.
Smartly, rather than the sales consultant freaking me out about the warranty option, I was educated on the pros and cons of having one, or not. They were fabulous to work with.
Why? I trusted not only what they were saying, but how they demonstrated and cared. Sure, they wanted a sale, although inventory was flying off the lots. More importantly, they wanted a happy customer. They did their job. Perfectly.
Trust was renewed that day.