RIGHT HONDA DID EVERYTHING WRONG

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

Preamble

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:

Hi, Darrel. I am one of your longtime customers. My wife I have bought 3 Hondas in the last 10 years. Favian, your service rep, is the main reason for it. He and his great service work has kept us coming back. 
The reason I am writing to you now is that I keep getting these emails from Honda Corp promoting your new Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid with 0.9% financing before the end of this month. I am currently driving two cars – the 2014 Honda Hybrid, which you sold me around Xmas 2014, and a 2016 Nissan Leaf.
[snip – here i provided the specific private car info.]
I am giving you this information right off the bat because I don’t want to waste your time or mine by coming in and kicking tires. Because I don’t have a gun to my head to buy anything. But if you can work out a deal so that you take BOTH of my current cars as trade-ins at an acceptable price, against my buying your new Clarity, then I would come in tomorrow (Sat) and we can talk.

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:

Did you forget about me, Gary?  We agreed last night to pick up our conversation this morning from where we left off. 
You still owe me answers to my last question from last night: Were you saying that you are offering me $xx,xxx for both of my cars as trade in? And that the new Clarity OTD price would be $yy,yyy? Thus you would want me to pay you $zz,zzz? if not, please clarify. [actual numbers withheld]

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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