Car buying seems to be something that most people dread. Personally, I negotiate for a living, and also essentially work in customer service. I enjoy the experience, and I appreciate when salespeople are good at customer service, and I also notice when they are not.
In 2009 I decided that it was time to purchase a new vehicle. Typically I buy cars cash, and don’t carry any sort of payments. At this time, I was driving an old car that didn’t get particularly good gas mileage, but a family member had “looked the car up” and determined that it was not eligible for the “cash for clunkers” program that the federal government was offering at the time. Therefore, I was just out to buy a more fuel-efficient car to help with my 50+ mile each way commute to work.
Through the process I had gone to 6 or 7 different dealerships, across a variety of brands, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, and the first question, relevant at the time, was always “is your car a clunker” to which I would respond “no, my is 1MPG too good to qualify.”
It was at about my 7th or 8th dealership, and second or third Honda dealership (I had test driven cars at most other dealerships) that Dave Eno at Martin Honda responded to my answer “well, go get your registration, lets see if you’re right.” So he gets the registration, asks me a few other qualifying questions, and sure enough…my car IS a clunker. Dave Eno just sold himself a car. At this precise moment my car buying decision, at least pertaining to the brand and dealership, had been made. The cash for clunkers program was a $4,500 rebate incentive deal where the federal government was basically buying cars with poor gas mileage if you bought one that was at least 15 or 20 mpg more efficient.
Moral of the story, do your job–do the whole job, and get rewarded.
To further the good customer service, I have recently purchased another car. Recalling this experience, plus the fact that I get an e-mail or other correspondence each year on my birthday from Dave Eno, I didn’t shop. I decided what car I wanted, I returned to Martin Honda and bought a car from Dave. Simple.
If you win a customer’s business and really win it, you’ve likely earned a customer for life.
In a future post, I will discuss how horrible my experience was with the Martin Honda service department back in 2009, and how they’ve apparently made a complete 180 since, as they recently won back my business.
Maryland Attorney Jobeth Bowers is the founder of Bowers Law and a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law