Lessons from the Luxury Car Dealership

I learned three valuable lessons from the luxury car dealership recently about money, sales, and business. And no, one of them isn’t, “Don’t buy a luxury car!” Because I bought one, and I’m completely thrilled with my Alfa Romeo Giulia. I dish on the details of buying my new cars – even though financial gurus tell you not to – in this blog post.

Lessons from the Luxury Car Dealership

My ex-finance worked as a used car salesman (one of 17 jobs in seven years.) I learned all the insider “tricks of the trade” for closing car sales from Jeff. Every time I bought a car, I mentally armed myself for battle, so I wouldn’t get swindled at the dealership. I totally understand why businesses like Carvana are skyrocketing in popularity! But walking into the Alfa Romeo dealership was a completely different experience. Here are three lessons from the luxury car dealership I think every business owner should apply.

Lesson 1 – The Price You See is the Price You Pay

When I purchased my new Hyundai Sonata in 2014, I happily skipped over to the dealership to test drive it. The dealer’s website showed an amazing price for the exact model and color I wanted. The test drive confirmed it was the car for me. The salesman settled us into his office and began typing away at his computer. “I’m so excited to get this car for $16,500,” I gushed. “I’m paying cash.”

He informed me that the price of the car was $18,500, not $16,500. “But that’s what it says right here on your website.” “Yes, but that’s only if you qualify for all of the incentives.” He began to fire off questions at me: Are you a veteran? (no) Are you a recent college graduate? (no) Are you disabled? (no) Are you a current Hyundai owner? (yes) “So, the only way for me to get this car at the $16,500 price is for me to be a recent college graduate who’s a disabled veteran driving a Hyundai? I’m less than .001% of the population would qualify for all of them! Why would you even put that price on your website?” Even though I ended up buying the car the following day after a little negotiating, I felt pissed off because the whole thing felt deceitful.

In September, when I went to test drive my Giulia, the price on the website was the price I paid. There were no incentives, no hoops to jump through, zero negotiating. I left the Alfa Romeo dealership feeling content, peaceful, and respected.

Here’s the lesson learned, if you’re a business owner: Be clear, upfront, and honest about your pricing. Don’t dance around the issue of price for your products and services. If you’re going to offer a discount under certain circumstances, be up front about it. My business coach, Melanie Ann Layer, says, “Let your word be law.” When your word is law in your business, you say what you mean and mean what you say. People trust you and they will buy from you again and again.

Lesson 2 – Zero Pressure to Buy Now

When the Hyundai salesman trailed me out to my car, he said, “I understand you want to sleep on your decision, but I can’t guarantee this car will be here tomorrow!” I knew this sales tactic and I wasn’t falling for it. “That’s a chance I’m willing to take,” I replied. “I’ll call you tomorrow if I still want it.”

“I love this car, and I’m 99% sure I’m going to buy it,” I said to my Alfa salesman, Brandon. I told him I’m a financial coach, and I always advise my clients sleep on large financial decisions, like buying a car. “Not a problem at all! I’ll put a 24-hour hold on it for you. If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours, I’ll give you a call before I let anyone else test drive it.”

What GIF!

Here’s the lesson learned, if you’re a business owner: Pressuring people makes them feel icky about the buying process. When you give people space to come to a pure and joyful YES to your product or service, they will be your biggest cheerleader. And if they’re not ready to buy right now, they will come back to you when they’re ready.

Lesson 3 – Treat People Like Royalty

The purchase of my Hyundai felt like a sterile transaction. Fill out the paperwork, write the check, and get the keys. It was pretty anti-climactic for an almost $20,000 purchase. Guess how many times I heard from Hyundai dealership after I purchased my car? Zero. No thank you call from the salesperson or manager. Nothing, until they wanted me to bring it into the service department for an oil change.

As you might imagine, things happened a little differently at the Alfa dealership. The entire staff treated me like royalty: my salesman, Brandon, the manager, Scott, and the finance guy, James. Yes, I remember all of their names because they were memorable, respectful people. Brandon even spent 20 minutes showing me how to use all the features and tech. Before I took my treasured new car home, I was presented with an expensive bottle of Italian wine as my parting gift. Yes, I absolutely felt like a queen. It was pure pleasure to buy my Giulia.

I received texts and emails on a regular basis from Brandon and Scott for first 90 days after I bought my Alfa. How do you like the car? Do you have any questions? Do you want to come up and have us show you all the features and tech again? Don’t forget you have free car washes for life with your Alfa. Even now, six months later, I still hear from them occasionally.

Here’s the lesson learned, if you’re a business owner: Treating people like royalty will turn them into loyal customers and brand ambassadors. Can you tell I love Alfa Romeo of Cincinnati and their amazing staff? Of course, I do! Do I give a crap about the Hyundai dealership? Not really. How can you treat your potential and current clients like royalty? It’s pretty simple. Show respect, express gratitude, and add some unexpected touches. I often send personalized cards or little gifts to my coaching clients that show I care about them. The cost isn’t much, but the delight it gives my clients is huge.

There you have it, my three lessons from the luxury car dealership and how you can apply them to your business. What do you think?  Are there others you would add?

Related: Is My Spouse Hiding Money From Me?