Thursday, November 17, 2005

Teaching Sales

He asked me to sign a blank sheet of paper! Blank! Nothing on it!

I needed a new vehicle and the salesman was young, perhaps 25. His first question was "How much can you afford per month." Interesting question! Why didn't he ask "Will you be paying cash?". I ignored his question and told him what I was looking for -- features, price range, etc. As we began looking, he asked the same question again -- and again. I continued to ignore the question and focused on what I wanted to buy and not what he wanted to sell.

The pressure mounted. He wanted to go inside and sit. He offered coffee or another drink. I asked for total price, taxes, fees, etc, included. I don't care of the vehicle costs $3,000 base price. There are fees -- huge fees. The $3,000 vehicle will cost $22,000 or more in the end. After a while he quoted a price on a vehicle and then said "Of course, there is a $300 doc fee and . . .".

Finally, after two hours, "to prove that I was serious" he asked that I sign a blank sheet of paper. It was hopeless. He appeared incapable of learning and breaking out of his manipulation mode. I left.

I went to another dealership and approached the oldest salesman I saw and explained that I wanted to buy a vehicle, I didn't want to be asked how much I could afford per month, I didn't want to be shown vehicles that didn't match what I'm asking to see -- and, I wanted the final price without a detailed breakdown. He listened and we arrived at a deal.

Too much of the corporate world is strong on manipulation and sales techniques but lacking in ethics.

When my children were in their early teens I took them to a time-share presentation after telling them I had no intention of buying. It was my responsibility to prepare them for life. I wanted them to be educated in real life with some practical, useful knowledge. The presentation concluded, the pressure applied and increased and, finally, the regional manager was brought in without success. After we left, I talked with my children about the experience.

I don't fear terrorism or avian flu. In my opinion, one of the biggest threats that we face is corporate greed and lack of ethics. Too many people have been manipulated into buying things they don't need and are working to stay ahead of the bills while trying to plan some way to buy another novelty. Happiness has been defined as ownership.

By choice, I don't own much. I've learned that things can deny me the opportunity to enjoy life. I may be short on things but I'm rich with a wonderful wife, health, contentment, inner peace, nature, challenges and adventures. I learned the value of things about 45 years ago from a bicycle but that's anther story for another time.

Damn! I need to replace a cell phone. Here I go again -- off to try to teach a young salesman how to listen. It’s my responsibility to try.

10 Comments:

Blogger Bonita said...

Teaching our children about greed and consumerism is so important - you did great here. I hope they saw the wisdom in your lesson.

When it was time for me to buy my car, I had a set amount, cash, and I told the dealer to show me what he had that would total that amount. Then, I saw what I wanted, it was $700.00 over my limit, and he came down for me. We've bought four cars from this very same man over the years. (Used car dealer). I have referred friends to him, too, and he has treated us to $50.00 dinners every time we refer someone to his place of business.

11/17/2005 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

Keep fighting the good fight, maybe someday at least one of the brailwashed ones will actually listen. ec

11/17/2005 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Round Belly said...

It's the mind set. Anybody after money rather than after serving you, is going to have a challange giving people the customer satifiaction they deserve.

I've thought a lot on the subject- and have found in my little online store that filling the cusomter's needs gives me way more joy then making loads of money- but yet I find one causes the other.

11/17/2005 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gaye said...

The value of a bicycle--priceless!! Freedom, the wind, riding off the beaten path...I would ride for hours.
Good lesson you taught your kids--it's easy to cave at the last minute and that's what the salesmen count on.
Young people entering corporate america never ceased to amaze my Dad when he worked for a utility company--after a grueling trip to Northern Missouri he would come home frustrated, "they just don't get it; but how can they, they've never dealt with a customer before in their lives and are teaching seminars telling us how to." My dad had been dealing with customers for 30 years. Oh well, with age comes wisdom...we can wish can't we????

11/17/2005 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Trée said...

Paul, this is a brilliant post. I've been in sales or sales training all my life. I would love to print and use your post as training material--it's that good.

11/17/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger I_Wonder said...

Tree, Wow! Never expected that. Feel free to print and use it. I hope it helps.

11/17/2005 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

I always get caught-up with those silly salespeople. And I'm not one to quickly put my foot down, either. I timidly look for excuses and they use that to their advantage to keep pressuring me harder and harder. I once went to a time-share presentation in Tennessee and I honestly didn't think I was going to get out alive. On the phone they had promised it wouldn't take more than an hour. Well, when I was there and really needed to start the long drive back home, they wouldn't let me leave!

11/17/2005 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

I would hate to be a salesman!

11/17/2005 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Sophia said...

*giggles* Rob!

11/17/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Buying a car is not a very pleasant experience. You know that you always pay more than necessary and that there will be a conflict or two.

11/18/2005 06:04:00 AM  

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