Monday, January 14, 2008

Not a slimy car salesperson

A few months ago I contacted a few internet sales people at various Honda dealerships in our area. I wanted to let them know we are interested in a 2009 Honda Fit when they come out (probably around June). These are popular and the new models will be even more popular, so I wanted to get on the top of their list.

Most of the sales people emailed back with something like, "Ok, you're on my list." Nothing rude, but nothing extra either. One lady emailed back what looked like a form email saying stuff like, "I can get you in one NOW! Is this the right car for you? Have you looked at others? I can help!!" It was a rather pushy sounding email especially since I had just said we are NOT interested in a 2008 but a 2009.

I sent her a rather firm email back stating I thought that email was a bit pushy and reiterating we did NOT want a 2008, only a 2009. She sent back a really nice email apologizing for the standard response email. We exchanged emails many times and I discovered that first email was just a reflex response and she is definitely not pushy, actually quite the opposite.

Last week she sent me an email (actually everyone in her contact list) that everyone who test drives a car will be entered in a contest for a Wii. I emailed her back saying that'd be cool but we already have one, we definitely wouldn't be buying if we did test drive and we didn't want to waste her time. After talking with Marci we decided to drive the Fit - after all, sitting in it at the autoshow and driving it are two very different things. So we went out this last Sunday to test drive it.

She was really nice, friendly, not slimy or pushy at all. Marci took the car out first as I waited with the kids. Marci said she LOVED the car and it was tons of fun to drive. Cool! She also wanted to look at the CR-V's and Pattie (the cool sales lady) was going to get someone else to ride with me for the test drive. I decided if Marci likes it that's good enough for me and decided not to try it, I'll just wait until the 2009's arrive.

Marci drove a CR-V and really liked it a lot. Pattie told us she had a 2007 model fully loaded (navigation, the works) she could sell us for $200 over invoice. Well, for a moment we got caught up in the excitement of new cars and asked to see it. About that time Pattie had another customer show up who also just wanted to test drive a car for the contest. Pattie asked if this other sales guy could show us the CR-V while she took this lady out and she'd be right back. No problems.

WOW! What a difference! We went from feeling like we were chatting with a friend to someone who made us want to run away and never come back. He was pushy, slimy, kept asking about what we were looking for, wanted to run numbers for us, etc. When we told him we were here just to test drive the Fit and were waiting for the 2009 model, he said something like, "People are always waiting for the next thing because they think it'll be better. You gotta grab it now because there's always a next thing and you'll be waiting forever. Let me go run some numbers for you on the Fit and CR-V." That's when I said, a little more firmly, that we KNEW what the 2009 model's were going to be because we had seen the previews on the web. After seeing what they will have in them we would NOT be happy with a 2008 model. He then said, "Oh yeah, we were just looking at them online. Aren't they sweet?"

Just looking at them? Really? Then why the push to buy a 2008??

Finally after he got us a CR-V brochure, we thanked him and said we were just going to wait for Pattie to get back. While waiting we had time to realize we planned on one new car payment this year, not two, and while the CR-V is a great deal, we just need to pass, other great deals will come along. We thanked her a lot for her time and said we'll be in touch.

After we got home and had time to laugh at what a jerk that other guy was and how nice she was, I sent her an email again thanking her and letting her know how much we appreciated her. Marci said when they were test driving the Fit that Pattie said she'd take the job ONLY if she could be 100% honest and not slimy/pushy/the usual car salesman stuff. Her boss didn't think she'd have what it took but decided to give her a chance. She's now the top salesperson there! Guess she showed him.

What a world of difference! Pattie made us feel comfortable, right at home, and definitely want to come back to her. The other guy (I honestly forgot his name right after we drove off the lot) made us want to run away and never come back to that dealership. Why can't other's learn from Pattie and be cool? Oh, and when we got there, we weren't even out of the car before some guy was on us asking how we were doing and what he could help us with. No offense, but let us get out before you start trying to feed!

Here's to Pattie at Larry Miller Honda of Hillsboro! A different kind of salesperson, one that actually makes you want to buy a car and leave knowing you got the best deal possible. Looking forward to dealing with her for a 2009 Fit!