A car sales story with a difference

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Has anyone ever heard of a “good” car sales story? This may be it…


Sue Barrett

My husband and I recently bought two new cars over the Christmas break. We initially went in to buy one car.

It wasn’t a Christmas splurge if that’s what you’re thinking – nor was it anything like the recent press on luxury cars and their owners. We wanted to go smaller and greener for all sorts of reasons, and one of our cars was at the end of its lease. Having done our research, the “make” of our last four cars wasn’t doing enough, in our opinion, to be “greener” so we decided to look elsewhere and try something different instead.

Big decision: New brand, new car, new experience.

Now I must say having bought a few cars in my time, as has my husband, and never being impressed with my car buying experiences, I did enter this car buying process with somewhat of a cynical and wary attitude at first. Also my husband is an engineer, so big buying decisions do not move quickly – they must be properly analysed. I knew I was in it for the long haul.

However this time I was very pleasantly surprised – it was positive. It was very easy. It was no fuss. And it went pretty quickly. Why?

New make, new dealer, new experience. Was it the company? Was it the sales person? Was it their strategy? Was it conscious or not? I don’t know. Maybe it was one or all of those things. Whatever it was, it worked.

It was different because we were listened to, heard and understood. I was not patronised or treated like an idiot. The sales person and the business didn’t seem desperate, overbearing or too “features” oriented. We weren’t rushed or pressured in any way.

And Joseph, our sales guy, just loved cars and loved selling cars. It was a joy to meet someone who clearly loved what he was doing. He shared with us that he used to be a chef and also worked in IT, but his first love was cars. So he figured why not work with what he loves. So he now sells cars for a living.

He had been there two years and we found out later that he was one of their best sales people (no surprise to me). He was very open, friendly, real, passionate (about cars) and trustworthy. He knew that both of us where clearly involved as joint decision makers and so he set the scene accordingly. He didn’t pressure us. He gave us time to make a decision. He could see we liked to think things through and weigh everything up. He understood, consciously or not, how we liked to buy.

And he treated our children with respect, even though they were getting bored from time to time waiting for us to finish. He was funny, down to earth and real. We felt very comfortable working with him. He helped us in every way to make an informed decision. The atmosphere was relaxed. The other sales people seemed happy and engaged in their work too.

And after we bought the first car I was so grateful we didn’t have thrust upon us the “after sales girl” as is so often the case with other car places. Men may find them enticing, but as a woman I find the process a complete turnoff – especially if I have just made a buying decision with someone else. I am not blaming the women themselves; it’s the strategy that’s irks me.

In my experience and opinion this model is not how to up-sell and cross-sell effectively (as you would have seen by my recent article on this topic. In most cases up-selling and cross-selling should be part of the actual sales process conducted by the sales person, not after the sale is made. This was our experience with Joseph. I noticed that this car dealership didn’t have this type of after sales approach.

After taking our new car home and reflecting on the car itself and our car buying experience, we did our numbers and worked out that we would be better off financially and environmentally if we traded in our other car as well. As it was not long off being turned over too, we decided to buy a second car from Joseph and the company he represented.

Now that’s what I call good selling. So instead of catching people doing something wrong, let’s catch them doing something right.

So with that I would like to thank Joseph and his car dealership very much. No, I am not on their payroll; I just thought it was a good sales story, especially a good car sales story, worth telling.



Sue Barrett is Managing Director of BARRETT Pty Ltd. Sue is an experienced consultant and trained coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating High Performing Sales Teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. For more information please go to


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