I went new vehicle shopping this weekend and had a life-changing experience. I’m the world's worst customer to sell to because I know the tricks-of-the-trade, but what I experienced changed the way I treat my customers.

I spent lots of time researching the vehicle I wanted with the features I wanted. Once I built the vehicle I wanted to purchase, I visited a dealer that was recommended by family and friends. Armed with two choices and the way I wanted to figure the trade difference, I visited what I call a disgrace-to-the-word-salesman because all he wanted to do was find a vehicle with different features and options and price those to me.

I even asked if I could just purchase a build-to-order vehicle. I asked three times to price the vehicle I wanted and never got my wish. He located a vehicle that was close, but needed more items. He stated those had to be purchased through parts because they weren’t on the vehicle and he had no idea how to price them. I left very disappointed and wasted a Saturday afternoon.

On Monday morning, I stopped by another dealer after spending the weekend looking again. I gave him my dream vehicle build-to-order sheets and he said, "Hey, I bet you need to go to work. Let me take a quick look at the trade-in and I’ll get to work and figure or find you a vehicle like this." I got a call later that we could go either way and that he found three vehicles like I wanted. Some had more features and another had less, but he said he would have the accessories switched or would order to match my needs. He gave me trade differences that were in my budget range, but always too high.

I said I would stop by after work to look at the specs and discuss. We axed one because of a feature I did not like, but the other two  matched my needs. With his work to change out some equipment and order the other items, it was actually less money because of a price increase on January 1 (he didn’t have to do that), but the other had more features. I said I didn’t know anything about those features and he began to sell me on the benefits. I wound up buying the up spec'd vehicle because the added features were items that I could benefit from. He was a salesman, not an order-taker.

My Selling Style

I always wonder about customer thoughts and expectations. When am I applying too much pressure to close the deal or when am I applying just enough? Do I need to rush on the lot the moment the customer arrives or should I give them the opportunity to look with no pressure? How do you upsell more? Does this customer want to negotiate or have a one-shot price?

I would love to hear what other dealers think. I would also love to hear the “World's Worst Sales Experiences” of others.