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Tales from a small town

Short stories about life in a small town. Non-fiction. Great reading.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The trial close

So, how do dealerships sell cars to people, when they can slap down a print-out from NADA or Kelly Blue Book, and tell you what the car is actually worth?

Ask Jerry. He'll tell you: it's the by-pass/trial close. I've seen it happen. So what does that mean?

Big Bad Bob walks into a dealership with a page fresh from the printer from his home computer. It's from the Kelly Blue Book website. He's armed with knowledge. He's not taking anyone's shit. He knows the value of the vehicle he wants. There's only one problem: he's not as smart as he thinks. Why do I say that? Because he's talking to Jerry. Jerry is the expert in handling Big Bad Bob. Jerry eats guys like Big Bad Bob for lunch.

Big Bad Bob: "Here's the car I want. This is a print-out from the internet: the Kelly Blue Book website. I won't pay one cent over it's value. I've got one question: can you sell me this car at this price, yes or no?"

Jerry: "Let me see the print-out."

"Bob" shoves it over.

Jerry studies it, as though he cares.

Bob: "Yes or no?"

Jerry, putting his hands in the air as though he's shoving Bob away: "I don't know. How's that for an honest answer? I just don't know if I can or not. Let me ask you something: why is this the car you want?"

Bob: "What do you care? All I want to know is, can you do this price or not!"

Jerry: "I understand you want this car: I get it - you don't have to sell me on that anymore. All I want to know is, why you want the car. Is that too much to ask or not, because I don't know."

Bob: "Because it's fuel efficient and Consumer Reports rates it number one in crash testing, and rates it very high in maintenence, is there any other reason?"

Jerry: "So what will you be doing in this car?"

Bob: "Driving it."

Jerry, laughing a little: "I understand that. But is this strictly a go-to-work vehicle, or are you going to be hauling kids around in it, or what?"

Bob: "All of that."

Jerry: "How many kids do you have?"

Bob: "3"

Jerry: "Is there a Mrs. Big Bad Bob?"

Bob: "Yeah."

Jerry: "So there's 5 people altogether, right?"

Bob: "That's why I picked out this car."

Jerry: "What about your childrens' friends? They can't ride along, or do you have to rely on their parents to take them where you and your kids are going?"

Bob: "Well, what does it matter?"

Jerry: "I guess it doesn't, does it? See, I was about to offer you a solution around that problem so you could take your kids and their friends - maybe even camping for a weekend - and get you about the same monthly payment you're at now, but I can see you're not interested in that, are you?"

Bob: "Well...."

Jerry: "That's OK - you're stuck on this car. It's not a bad car at all, if you don't mind paying four or five years on a loan for something that's going to limit how you live your life, but hey - that's your decision, isn't it? How old are your kids?"

Bob: "Well, let's see...One's about 3, and the other's around five, and I've got an 11 year-old."

Jerry: "How many times are they going to be 3, 5 & 11? See what I'm getting at? It's the memories you'll never get a chance to get back - if only you would've got a different vehcile that would allow your daughter to take her friend with her on your family camping trip - but I understand... you're stuck on this because Consumer Reports likes, aren't you?"

Bob: "It's a good car, isn't it?"

Jerry: "Great car; I just sold three of those last month to people who're very happy with them...Great car, if a car's what you need. Are you sure you need a car, Big Bad Bob?"

Bob: "I'm not sure. What else do you have."

Stop right there. Big Bad Bob doesn't have the Consumer Reports decree on the minivan Jerry's about to show Bob. Bob doesn't have the Kelly Blue Book or the NADA appraisals on the minivan Jerry's about to show Bob. Now, Bob is just another up who has no clue as to what the value of the vehicle he's about to buy.

Brilliant! Just brilliant. That's one form of the by-pass. Now, for the trial close:

So, what about this trial close thing? Jerry takes this guy on a test drive with a minivan, and as they're pulling in to the dealership, Jerry says, "So, if we could get to the right numbers on this thing, we could just get your shopping behind you and wrap this up and send you home in it right now, couldn't we?"

Bob: "I don't know."

Jerry: "What do you mean you don't know?"

Bob: "The price would have to be right."

Jerry knows this guy doesn't have a "right price" on this vehicle.

Jerry: "That's what I'm saying: If we could get to the set of numbers you have in your head on this vehicle, we could go ahead and just wrap this up right now, can't we?"

Bob: "For the right price."

Jerry: "So for the right price, we can wrap this up and send you home in it, right?"

Bob: "Yes."

After about 10 minutes:

Jerry over the PA system: "Clean-up to the showroom; clean-up to the showroom."

He talks to people like they're his bitch, but he does it in a way that they - for some reason - don't mind. I've got to figure that out.