Why we bought our new car from you

My secondary title for this piece could have been – Why we didn’t buy our new car from you.

Though names won’t be named, to the expert we bought our new car from, you know who you are, and we thank you very much for your exceptional service. Though names won’t be named, to the other dealership we shopped, please use this article as a checklist on how to improve customer experience. Often observations from an outside the industry individual, can add tremendous value. Many companies have become blind to their own surroundings and require a fresh set of eyes to help them grow and create new best practices.

Both my wife Karen and I have extensive backgrounds in sales and marketing, as well as being sales trainers and facilitators in a multitude of levels. We equally enjoy, appreciate and evaluate the sales processes we involve ourselves in as consumers and both love the art of great salesmanship when it shows itself.

Now let’s get to it! The fact is, Karen and I make very quick decisions. We decided it was time to replace one of our cars. We both had an idea of what we liked and had the choice narrowed down to two different makes and models almost immediately. We researched both models online and were pleased with what we learned about each of them.

We had never driven either of these new vehicles yet and it was time for a test drive. Tens of thousands of dollars were about to be spent and it was simply going to come down to one test drive and how our overall customer experience was that would indicate where our dollars were to go.

Here is my personal business audit.


Dealership #1 – Where we bought our new car.

  • Well defined sales lot, new vehicle inventory front and centre, clean and vibrant. The stars shine!
  • Many places to park in our area of interest. This is convenient.
  • We were able to browse the inventory ourselves without being approached by anyone. This is comfortable.
  • Plenty of room to walk around entire vehicles front to back. Gives you a great visual perspective.
  • Wide selection of models with many different options and colors available for us to look at. This shows abundance combined with custom choice.
  • Clearly defined signage on each vehicle listing options and final price. A confused mind says no. Being clear and upfront leaves no grey area. It makes choice easy.
  • We found new a car we were interested in.
  • I was happy to go and ask for assistance once we had our personal look around.
  • The person I approached was friendly and personable (non-aggressive). I was asked if we had been dealing with anyone prior. It shows they care.
  • Upon my brief description of the car we were looking at, the sales pro knew his inventory and got us the keys.
  • We were then given a tremendous, thorough, professional education on the features and benefits of the vehicle.
  • Test drive time. Karen put the car through its paces. The sales pro was along for the ride listening to our questions and answering them with enthusiasm and confidence. Karen tops the drive off with her sensational figure eights in an open area; she appreciates fine tuned steering and performance.
  • The test drive was done and the sales pro reviewed all the great promotions that were being offered on the vehicle we drove.
  • The level of service was top notch. We informed the sales pro we had one more dealership to check out prior to making a decision. The sales pro understood completely and reinforced they were there for us if they could assist in anyway.


Dealership #2 – Where we didn’t buy our new car.

  • Sales lot was a jumble. A few new cars in the front of the sales lot. Used inventory was featured front and centre as what was being promoted heavily. This car company has a strong brand reputation – You are the only show in town, lead with your new inventory to set the pace and create excitement for your personal brand.
  • Karen and I were just about to walk around to the back of the sales lot to look at the new inventory, when we were approached by a salesman. Please give your customers space.
  • The salesman wanted us to come into his office to qualify us. Karen was kind and obliged, I did not. I want to get a look at the selection up close and personal first, and then we can talk. This particular approach split us up as customers – not good.
  • Retail is detail and what I encountered next just didn’t jive. The entire new inventory was parked in the back sales lot. The cars are dirty, and parked so tightly together I couldn’t navigate around them to check their style lines or read the options and prices on them. I’m in shock.
  • Karen emerges from the sales office. She has given the salesman a basic overview of what we are looking for.
  • The salesman drives a dirty, black color vehicle out from the back lot for us to test drive. We laugh, the joke is we want pearl white; this couldn’t be further from the energy of our wishes.
  • After maybe a 4 minute review of the car, it’s test drive time. Honestly, no real features or benefits covered. We feel bewildered.
  • The salesman wants to drive first rather than having us drive. What’s up with this?
  • It’s then realized the vehicle is below the empty line on the fuel gauge, but hey, we’re going for it! How exciting, this is feeling like a Seinfeld episode to me.
  • We are taken on a drive for about 10 minutes, the salesman tells us about a problem that has been corrected in the model we are interested in. The problem is talked about 3 times by the individual. No meaningful positive conversation about the car occurs. Now it’s Karen’s turn behind the wheel.
  • We make a bee-line back to the dealership hoping not to run out of fuel.
  • The whole experience was so awkward, it’s not hard to say goodbye. We want to get the heck out of there.
  • We go back to dealership #1 and buy a new car.


The morale of this manifesto?

Every day, consumers make large and small purchases. Tens of thousands of dollars will be spent. Sales are made and lost every day, due to details, listening and communication skills, personalities and trust.

What kind of customer experience do you and your team deliver on a daily basis? Do you operate your business through the eyes of a customer, like dealership #1 does, or are you more of a #2?


Questions, comments? Come over to my Retail Evolution Facebook page and start a discussion. https://www.facebook.com/RetailEvolution