Recently I was in the market for a new vehicle. It was not urgent, but I was looking. My 2012 Yukon had close to 200,000 miles, and though it was not giving me any problems, I was wanting something newer. Barbara and I were in Virginia on business and I wanted to ride down and look at a Dodge Ram truck. I had previously purchased a vehicle from a dealership in Chesapeake and decided to ride by. On the same road are several other dealerships. While I was driving a Chevrolet truck caught my eye so I decided to pull in and look at it. I had been searching on the internet for vehicles and had priced some through the Costco and Sam’s buying clubs. I had received an email from this dealership and so I pulled it up and asked for this salesman. His name was Kyle. The dealership was Priority Chevrolet.
Kyle was very helpful and got the keys to the truck and moved vehicles around to get it out so I could drive it. We took a test drive and then he worked up some numbers. I told him that I would consider it and we left the dealership. Over the next day or two, I was searching the internet for vehicles and I came across the same truck I had driven at the same dealership with a lower advertised price than what I had been offered. I sent an email to the dealership about this. Shortly I received a call from a sales manager and that is where things started downhill. Kyle happened to be off that day, so the sales manager decided to step in. Here are a few things I observed and maybe it will prompt you about some things in your own organization.
Company Methods Can Have a Negative Impact
The internet pricing showed the pricing of every single incentive and offer was deducted from the MSRP. The problem with this is that 99.9% of people would never qualify for some of those incentives. Second, the “sale” price was in a large font while those incentives were in a smaller font and who could qualify was even smaller. It is what has been called “bait and switch” and has never endeared customers to car dealers. Kyle would later explain this was mandated by Chevrolet, or at least their area rep. I did notice that not all Chevrolet dealerships used the same method, but all of the ones in Tidewater did. This type of pricing just starts the salesman at a place of distrust because one of the first things he has to do is to tell the customer they cannot get it for that price. Selling is about trust. When you start out with people not trusting you, there is a lot of ground to gain that is difficult to make up.
Disputing When You Are Wrong
When this sales manager called following my email, I explained to him what I had seen on their website. He told me that I did not qualify for all of the incentives. I explained to him that I thought their internet pricing was misleading. He then proceeded to tell me that the qualifications for the incentives were in the same size font as the price was. I cannot express in words exactly how wrong he was. First, that “sale price” was in about a 24 size font. The incentive amounts were in about a 10 font. The qualifications for those incentives were in about a 4 font. It was what is commonly referred to as fine print. This conversation quickly went downhill. I told him that not only was the internet pricing misleading, but he was trying to tell me something that was not even remotely true. He continued trying to tell me the fonts were the same which only made me more frustrated. After about 5 minutes he attempted to change the subject without acknowledging he was in error. Frankly, at this point, I was done.
Apologies Go A Long Way
Kyle was off that day but got wind of what had happened and personally reached out to me. He immediately apologized for the conversation experience. He then explained that Chevrolet had mandated the pricing on the internet and that he understood that it started the salesperson at a deficit with the customer. He offered to do anything he could to help make it right. He promised to get another sales manager to review the deal the following day and he would get back with me. He followed through the next day with numbers by phone and text and explanations as to what they meant. Though I was not happy with the dealership, I liked the service I was receiving from the salesman.
You Can Make It Right
I liked the truck. I liked the color and features. I was still skeptical about the dealership. Kyle was persistent in answering every question I had and tried to accommodate any requests I had. We went back and forth with numbers over a few days. The price they were offering was as good as I could get anywhere else. After a few days, I told Kyle if he could get to a specific number that I would buy the vehicle. Shortly after that, he responded that they would do that and wanted to know when I could come in. He sent me the deal sheet and I told him when I would go by. I stopped by at the time I said, signed the papers and purchased the truck. It was because of the salesman, not the company.
Undoubtedly in your business or organization, there will be times that things do not go as planned. Someone makes an error or there is a bad process in place. You as an individual have the ability to keep your credibility even if the others do not. You can salvage a bad situation with a little persistence. If Chevrolet is mandating that type of pricing it creates doubts about the company. The response of a sales manager over something as simple as fonts makes me question the culture at Priority. However, the work and character of Kyle are what sold the truck. You can keep above the fray even when the culture around you doesn’t. Be the person that saves the sale.