I have heard this in almost every dealership I have been in around the United States. I once thought the same thing, until one day when a 1985 model pulled onto the service drive. All ten advisors acted or seemed too busy to wait on this customer. Our greeter gave me “THE LOOK” so I stopped what I was doing and walked over to the customer in coveralls.
As I walked over, the following thoughts went through my mind; Great another customer that cannot afford to be here. He’s coming in for free stuff. I am going to be wasting my time with this one, he is not going to buy anything. I am just going to quote some checkout time and he will go away.
After introducing myself and shaking hands, the man in the overalls says he was bringing the car in for his boss. It is leaking coolant and overheating. He is a very busy man and must have dependable transportation. Again, thoughts raced through my head, just go buy a new one, you’re in the wrong department. I thought to myself, You missed the showroom by 300 feet.
So, I dove into action to prove myself right. I noted the mileage 10,000. Collected the VIN and walked around the car. Popped the hood and found coolant leaking from the cylinder head area. A little tear down (disassembly for diagnoses) should send him on his way, I thought to myself.
“Well sir, I see the coolant leaking coming from the cylinder head area. I will need to run a pressure test on the system and disassemble the motor to find out what is wrong. This will run three hundred and fifty dollars and then I will need to call you with a total price to repair.” The customer replied “that will be fine how soon can you do it?”
What? I thought to myself. I then began collecting the customer’s information. What’s your boss’s name? Well he wants to put it under Perot Investments. Ok, I thought to myself and completed the write up.
The vehicle was diagnosed with leaking head gaskets (which had a special policy), hoses, belts and coolant service. I called the man in the coveralls and he gave me authorization to repair everything. He said “Remember, my boss needs a dependable car”. “Ok sir, no problem.”
The vehicle was completed and returned to the man in the coveralls. He could not thank me enough. Well two days later the phone rang. I answered and a squeaky voice on the other end of the line, “Hi Joe this is Ross Perot, I just wanted to call and thank you for the great service”. After wiping the sweat off my forehead, I told him he was very welcome and I thanked him for his business. I added one more question.”
Mr. Perot, why are you driving a 1985 model car?” “Well Joe”, he stated “Nobody has asked me to buy a new one.” Well, my Dealer had made it very clear to me I was here to sell cars, so I jumped into action. “Mr. Perot could I have a sales person contact you?” “Yes please do”, he said. Well two days later he was on the service drive shaking my hand along with the Dealer after purchasing three new cars.
So, don’t think that the man in the coveralls is a millionaire because he could be a billionaire. If we don’t ask, we will never get the sale.