13 New Lessons in Customer Service from a (Good) Car Salesman

OK, so it’s over one month later, and I finally got a car. I’m actually pleasantly surprised by my final day of car shopping. The first go-round was quite frustrating and ended with me giving up, but I’m happy to report these latest lessons in customer service from a car salesman (and this time a good car salesman).

  1. He wasn’t assuming. When I arrived at the dealership, the salesman (who very much reminded me of Sammy Davis, Jr., which probably made me a little biased, I’ll admit) was not at all assuming. He didn’t have the pushy, in-your-face attitude right off the bat about me making a purchase. He introduced himself casually and asked how he could help.
  2. He didn’t push his agenda. When I told him what I wanted, he didn’t try to steer me any other way. He let me be the guide and call the shots.
  3. If there was an issue, he said, “Not a problem, we’ll fix it.” If I wanted something addressed or corrected, he did exactly what I asked, quickly and without argument or condescension. That was very reassuring, especially with such a big purchase.
  4. I challenged him, and he didn’t feel threatened. If I argued for or against something, he wasn’t at all intimidated or threatened.  Other salesmen I’ve dealt with this month became agitated and frazzled if I challenged them.
  5. He stayed out of the way. He wasn’t in my face or suffocating me or not giving me room to think about my options. He gave me space without constantly talking or moving me from one car to another.
  6. He was accessible and prompt. If I had a question, he was available to me right away. If he didn’t have an answer, he personally walked wherever he knew he could find the answer (say the service department) and quickly returned with a response.
  7. He trusted me. If I said something, there wasn’t any sign of doubt or suspicion. We were very much on the same team.
  8. He didn’t haggle over price. An offer was made, and he took it back and forth to the manager until an agreement was reached.
  9. The manager didn’t haggle over price. He was straightforward and didn’t try to nickel and dime the situation. Negotiation was completely finished in a very short period of time, especially compared to my negotiation experiences with the other dealerships a month or so ago.
  10. He didn’t hover. I spent a lot (a lot) of time at the dealership, and when I needed time to take a break from it all, he went about other business, while the manager and other people tended to paperwork and other details. I could sit down and watch TV or read without him staying around all the time. He’d drop in every so often, but he didn’t overstay his welcome.
  11. He got things done. I had to bring the car in today to get a few things done to it. Unfortunately, I’ve been a complete scatterbrain for the past several days because of splitting my time among holiday gatherings and preparations, car shopping and work, and I forgot to call ahead so that he could line things up for me. When I showed up, he didn’t make a big deal about it. He jumped in my car and drove it around to the service department. I left for a bit with some of my family, and he called me while I was gone to let me know that the big item couldn’t be fit in today (since it was so late, completely my fault), but that they would get to it first thing tomorrow. They did, however, go ahead and detail the car today (which they’ll have to redo after the additional work).
  12. He was genuinely friendly. It was easy to see that he takes great pleasure in his work and in making sure his customers are completely satisfied. I greatly appreciated his tireless energy and spirit. It made the entire process much more pleasant and less nerve-racking.
  13. The entire staff was helpful. If I needed something, they got it, no questions and no aggravation.

Thanks to this one salesman and the supporting efforts of the dealership team, I actually had a positive car-buying experience. I was so dreading starting the process over again, but it was such a relief to walk away pleased with the entire process. They did an exceptional job, and I will be sure to remember their efforts when it comes time to purchase again or refer someone I know. Other car salespeople of the world, take note. That’s how you get a life-long customer.

Have you had a positive experience purchasing a car? What helped make it that way?

Image from Flickr by christian.senger