Aug 13, 2012

Premium Car Brands and Salespeople

RASTATT, GERMANY - JULY 16:  Daimler AG Merced...(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Earlier today I went to my local Mercedes garage to pick up my car, which had needed some work done on it.. As I passed the sales area on the way to the waiting room, I remembered a previous visit when I’d come to try to buy a new Mercedes. The key word here is ‘try’.

When I tried to buy my current car, I was looking for something near the top of the range. I knew what I wanted, and I found the car in a garage north of town for a good price. I then went to my local garage to see the salesman who looks after me. I appreciate service and I like buying from people who help me buy. I had previously bought two cars from him. (A good salesperson would have known by now how I buy and that a deal can be closed very quickly.) He matched the price for the car immediately, so my preference was to buy locally. I wanted to lease the car through Mercedes and the price quoted was reasonable, so I was ready to buy.

However, I found one of the terms of the lease unacceptable and asked for it to be changed. Mercedes wouldn’t do it and the car salesman said he could do nothing to help. I wanted the car and I wanted the salesman to help me buy but he offered no alternative way to finance the car. He finally said, “Let me know when you’re back in the market”. I told him I was in the market and that I wanted a car and I needed his help to help me buy.

The next day I went to another Mercedes garage and purchased a used model. My local garage couldn’t help me to buy: although they wanted to take an order, they were unable to understand how to help me buy. The upshot was that they lost not just one sale because of it but also a subsequent sale when I buy in the future.

The moral here? Stop order taking and help me buy!

I hate resorting to cliché but whenever I look for an example of how not to sell I often end up with car salesmen. In this case, however, it’s not a case of the proverbial used car salesman trying to sell me a crock of crap. After all, Mercedes is a premium brand and everything about them should be premium, including their sales people.