Are You Listening?
Thinking about buying a new car is fun. Having to talk to car salespeople makes me break out into mental hives. The hubs and I thought we would alleviate the pain to some degree by compiling a list of cars and test drive the ones that we have only seen online. We picked a day and headed out!
This dealership was the furthest away from us (about 30 minutes) so we turned up the music, looked at the many 'race cars' (any car with a spoiler) that our lil guy pointed out on the way and persevered through construction traffic.
Salesperson number one was an older gentleman that had been in the business for over 20 years and he talked and talked and talked. He apparently felt that he needed to be especially thorough with me. He went as far as to explain what the buttons on the door do. Oh! That button locks the door? Nice! And those make the window go up and down? Wonderful.
Number One hopped in the front seat with me and I felt my anxiety and annoyance spiking. I felt like I was back in drivers school which was ... never mind. I pulled out of the lot, drove up the street and into another business lot to switch places with B. The conversation between B and Number One was a bit different. He didn't show B what the buttons and knobs are for. No. They talked about engines, work and family vacations. Pause for side eye.
The next stop was what people refer to as the auto mall. Only, there is no Starbucks, food court or play area or mall pushies telling you how horrible your curly hair is and you desperately need the flat iron they are selling, or how rough and ashy your hands are (they could see those terrible things a mile away) and how desperately you need the exfoliating, moisturizing, youth regenerating cream they are selling, or how horrific your flat, straight hair is and how desperately you need the curling wand they are selling.
Number Two was a man smaller in stature with great posture. He was wearing a fleece vest and black dress pants that pooled around his brown, hard bottom dress shoes. I was styling him in my mind the whole time we were there. He invited us in and asked a ton of questions from credit to interior color desire. He stepped away to speak with the Inventory Manager and returned to tell us that the monthly payment we wanted was not feasible with the vehicle we were interested in. We explained yet again that we were there to see the car in person and if we liked it we would make the financial changes to accommodate a different payment.
Number Two clacked away and pulled the model that we said we wanted to see with the interior color that when asked, we stated we did NOT want. Since it seemed about the same size of our current situation and we are looking for something a bit bigger, we declined the offer to test drive. He seemed annoyed but professionally wrapped up with us.
Both of us mentally drained and wore out (did I mention that we had our 4 year old throughout this whole ordeal?) We drove across the street. When pulling on the lot we see a young guy waiting on the side. I turn to B and say, "He is NOT going to sell us a car!" Hindsight, I should have listened to B and spread this out over a few days.
Number Three, Alex, introduced himself and invited us in. I rolled my eyes and followed silently. B explained why we were there for the third time that day and Alex took some notes. Huh? He then pulled up the model we were interested in and explained some of the amenities we could choose. He also showed us a used model and a new model so that we could compare, careful to avoid the interior and exterior color we expressed we were NOT interested in. YAY! He was thoughtful in helping me with the car seat. He talked and played with Munch. He even sat in the back seat with Munch during the test drive chatting it up with him so that B and I could drive and decide.
I was so wrong with my first assumption of him. He was not pushy. He listened. He was personal and put us at ease. We will be calling Alex.
I have been thinking, 'Is this what some of my Brides feel like?' You have listened to and read advice, made a list of styles that you like and now you are ready to meet with vendors. I am one of those vendors to many Brides to Be.
I don't want to be a Number One where I have been doing this for a long time and I overwhelm you with all of my experience right out the gate and assume you don't know anything (even down to the buttons for the windows). I also don't want to be Number 2, where I ask all the right questions, assume you can't afford me and then after asking all those questions show you something that proves I wasn't listening or only half listening and that really, I am more concerned with making money.
Sometimes as professionals we forget what it's like to be on the other side. Yes, we are in business to support ourselves and our families and in order to do that we need to make money. Yes, we are professionals and we, through experience, know a ton of things and want to share to make the process as easy as possible for both ourselves and the ones we are working with. However, we are in a service industry to help where we can, not to use our knowledge and experience as a sword, knocking people off at the knees so that they listen and respect us. Personally, if I feel that I am not respected than I deduce that is not the client for me and move on if necessary.
This experience helped me with perspective. Now, with my perspective in tact, I am ready to go back to Alex and look for our new car.