#2 Salesperson Didnt Want Sale

A Personal Car Shopping Experience (Part 2 of 8)

My wife Lisa and I are in the market to replace the premium compact SUV we currently lease. Despite being football lineman-sized, I have always had a distinct preference for smaller vehicles, so when X brand updated its 2019 model with a handsome facelift and other improvements, it made it onto our radar.

The Arrival

On a comfortable, slightly warm Saturday evening, Lisa and I stopped at a large dealership. Noticing customer parking near the showroom was full and not knowing where to go, we began hunting for a spot elsewhere on the lot. After an unsuccessful foray, we slowly drove past the showroom once again and when a friendly gent came out, he directed us to a spot further down the huge lot.

He met us halfway down the aisle after we emerged from our vehicle and welcomed us to the dealership. During a professional, warm welcome, he asked us our names but surprisingly, failed to introduce himself. After asking us what we were there to see, Lisa and I told him that we had never been in a XYZ model and wanted to see how we liked it. As we walked into the showroom, I mentioned my online research and that we wanted to see a Limited trim level.

Initial Interaction with Our Salesperson

The showroom was like Grand Central Station; a lot salespeople and customers in a beehive of activity… more in fact, than I could remember seeing in any dealership previously. There was no offer of a seat or refreshments, and while pleasant, our salesperson did not ask any questions regarding our planned vehicle usage. Using a computer about 30 feet away to check on inventory, he left Lisa and I alone standing near the reception desk for several minutes.

“No X brand Limited on the main lot,” he reported. However, he had other trim levels we could view. They were parked at the lot’s far end, and he offered us a ride down in a golf cart. We declined in favor of walking, which gave us a chance to interact with him more. On the way, we heard about his tenure at the dealership and where he had worked previously. We also heard why he liked the 2019 model over the 2018 so much. He never really asked us any vehicle questions other than color preference and why we had chosen the Limited trim level.

Vehicle Presentation and Test Drive

The vehicles were quite closely parked, so our salesperson pulled one out that was on our “acceptable” color list. After we had a few minutes alone to explore the vehicle, he came over and asked us if we wanted to go on a test drive to the storage lot where he had a 2019 Limited. We said yes, and he climbed into the back seat providing directions and offering opinions on his current dealership, which he praised quite a bit. During the five-minute drive, I indicated that I was hoping for more power than the base four-cylinder provided, and he said we could drive a six-cylinder back. Lisa and I asked him a few questions and he was quick to provide answers, but we still didn’t know his name and he asked very few questions about our preferences.
We drove the six-cylinder back on a different, but equally quick route (he did offer a longer drive), arriving at another tight parking space where he offered to pull it in. Afterwards, he asked us about where we were in the purchase process and indicated that his dealership does not pressure anyone. He did ask for our business should we decide to buy when the time comes. It was then I asked his name. I also gave him my business card and specifically requested him to email me soon, so we could keep in contact about a possible lease in another month or so; our current lease wasn’t up just yet. We never heard from him again!

Final Thoughts 

Our final thoughts on the salesperson: A very pleasant, positive, easy-going gent who knows his product but didn’t know how to strategically deploy his knowledge. Talked more about himself than asking us about our vehicle needs, and unfortunately, he didn’t keep in contact.

About the Author

Mark Krach is vice president at automätik, an organization dedicated to “Eradicating boring training from the face of the Earth.” He has nearly 30 years’ experience in the automotive industry—having worked for a manufacturer, a dealership, and as an automotive training writer and facilitator all over the U.S. and Europe.