How to lose a sale, insult a loyal customer, muck up a brand new Clarity, and ruin company’s reputation – all in less than a day!
Right Honda should be renamed Wrong Honda
People say being a salesman is hard work. It really is not. Not if you focus on the customer and see yourself as his service representative, rather than worry about your or your employer’s sales goals.
Trust me on that. I have been in sales jobs long before I realized that that’s what I was doing. Eventually, I ended up as a marketing and management consultant to some of the largest companies in the world, trying to teach what I had practiced in my own successful business. I retired in 2014, after running my own business for 36 years, and spending over 8 years with IBM before that.
I feel this preamble was necessary because I know what it is like to sit on either side of a sales desk. This time, I was in the customer chair. Here’s what happened after I shad ent this email last night to Darrel Deak, General Manager of Right Honda in Scottsdale:
Darrel never replied or even acknowledged my message. But not long afterward, I received this email from a Gary Kravetz, Right Honda’s fleet director. His email had this long text as the subject line:
I GOT YOUR INFO FROM MY GM PLEASE COME IN BETWEEN 10-4 WE CAN CHAT
And all that, after I explicitly told them that I did not want to waste my time unless they are willing to make a deal for both of my cars as trade-in.
Listening! One of the key prerequisites for a good salesman. And Right Honda has already failed on that score right off the bat.
Reluctantly, I engaged in a long exchange of emails in which I mostly answered his questions about my cars and explained my motivation, or a lack thereof, with regard to Clarity. By about 6:30 PM, I broke off the conversation as Elizabeth and I had to go to a concert. Gary and I agreed to pick up the conversation the next morning.
Since I never heard back from him the next morning, I emailed Gary around noon:
Gary replied: “Your balance due is yy.yyy.00 includes trade ins payoffs and fees.”
In other words, the “balance due” from me to Right Honda would be the full list price for a new Clarity, plus sales tax and other charges. I could not believe my eyes.
So I fired off this message to both Darrel Deak, the GM, and Gary:
You’ve got to be joking. Do you take me for a complete idiot?
You expect me to pay you $37,727 plus my two cars – for a Clarity which retails $33,400 according to that Honda Corp email I showed you? That’s like offering me ZERO for for my 2 cars which are worth $28,000 as trade-ins, according Edmunds? (see below). And paying full list+ for the Clarity.
Darrel, why did you pass me on to a guy like this one who has been wasting my time and insulting my intelligence? Guess that 2014 Honda will remain the last car I will have bought from the Right dealership. So much for customer care and loyalty. [I enclosed copied of the two quotes I had received form Edmunds]
To which Gary (only) replied with this “shrug and blow off the customer”-message:
NO WORRIES YOUR WELCOME TO SHOP AROUND AND FEEL THAT MAYBE I AM THE RIGHT GUY.
Darrel never bother to respond. And then I remembered…
NOT THE FIRST TIME: “THE FISH ALWAYS STINKS FROM THE HEAD”
This was not the first time someone I know has had a bad experienced with the Right Honda sales people. Last year, Elizabeth was in the market for a new car. Since we had already bought two Hondas from this dealer, naturally she approached them first.
She had done her homework and knew exactly what kind of a car she wanted and how much she wanted to pay. When the Right Honda salesperson heard her figure, he rudely replied, “Who do you think we are, a Saint Mary’s food bank?”
Elizabeth was quite shaken with such rudeness. She thought that maybe they treated her that way because she was a woman. Or Hispanic.
Now we know that was not the case. Right Honda just has no idea how to do right by a customer. Maybe Honda Corporate should rename then Wrong Honda? Because it is the Honda reputation that they are ruining by treated their potential buyers this way.
And then I remembered an old Eastern European proverb: “The fish always stinks from the head.” In Right Honda’s case, that appears to be Darrel Deak.
So I am now sending this story to Takuji Yamada, CEO & President of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Let’s see if the head of the head cares a little more about how his dealers treat a loyal customer.