Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How a chick car made a man out of me.

       In a fit of doing something sensible for a change, I bought a used Toyota a few years ago. It's been the best car and the worst, for the same reason.

       Nothing ever goes wrong with it. After all these years and 90,000 miles, I can't think of one good reason to trade it in. We have a gentleman's agreement, my car and I. I get its oil changed regularly, and it takes me to BART regularly. It rarely goes as far as San Francisco. I really don't want to drive anywhere, but I don't want anything to go wrong getting there. My Toyota is reliable.

       But I'm sick of it. I really want a different car, and I don't care if my Toyota knows it.

       Two weeks ago I spent two hours at the local Volkswagen dealer's. Test driving, kibbitzing, fencing about extras, deciding between new and used. The saleswoman was a delight and persuasive. I was sold. So she turned me over to the sharp pencil. The closer. The salesperson's salesperson.

       The conversation was nothing about me or my needs --- just about dollars. I told him I'd call him.

       Later the same afternoon, parked in front of me at a coffee shop, was a car and it  was love at first sight. And it had a for sale sticker on it. A camel-colored convertible beetle with a camel-colored top. I wanted it. The complete opposite of my mild-mannered Toyota.

       No hours of haggling. No sensible evaluation. No checking the Kelly Blue Book or history reports. I just wanted it.

       Funny, I probably would've bought a VW from the dealer a few hours earlier, if it weren't for the closer. In his zeal to keep me from walking out the door, he bled all the fun out of buying a car. Insisted I focus on terms and loans and rates, when I wanted to think about trips to Sonoma and Napa, driving to North Beach for a cappuccino, or pulling up at a four-star resort with the top down.

       I bought the used bug. I haven't really had the heart to break it to my Toyota, but I will. And it was a great lesson in salesmanship.

       I'm a romantic pushover, and for me the sale was about the experience. All the rest is just papers in the glovebox.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post, Harvey. You're so right. If your focused on selling something, then you might not be focused on connecting. You might not be focused on creating a joyful experience for the customer. We all end up with the same paperwork (in the glovebox), so what makes you different, in your job? I create a learning, fun, want-more experience for my client. The sales is in there to, but it's not the point. at all. Fun, learning, and productivity are.