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Friday, 29 June 2012

How to sell a car - or not, as the case may be - plus short-term retail profits

All eyes chez Bird are on Italy's progress in the football, but we did buy a second-hand car last weekend.  

I can't drive anyhow, but She Who Is Far Better Organised Than I Am had a plan, as usual. 

"I (that means we) shall go to the VW and Mercedes dealers and tell them both I am definitely buying a car this weekend and whoever gives me the best deal will get my business."

Good thinking. The car people must be pretty desperate; we were bound to get a good deal, right?

Not if you go by the man at VW in Bristol.

He gave us some nonsense about only having £2-300 margin to play with, and no deals. His patronising attitude alone lost the sale

Then it started raining and we ended up at the Nissan place. The man there gave us a coffee - and was quite charming. So much so he nearly sold us something we never planned to get.

The best exchange of the day:

"What's good about this car?"

"Well, for a start it's not Italian."

"If it was it'd be better looking."  

He was the right salesmen with the wrong car.

Next day at Mercedes they did everything right. Good coffee, pleasant salesman, no wasted time, a good deal. Sold! And when he delivered the car he brought a bunch of flowers.

People buy from people. But what if there are no people?

My daughter in law here in New York works in high end fashion. She was telling me hardly anyone in the shops knows how to sell. 

I remarked that it's almost impossible to find a sales person in any of the big stores. She says the reason is they've fired people to cut costs - the sales figures are actually ghastly.

You can't build a sound business on cost-cutting. That's one of the many ways the banks went wrong.

The  best store in the U.S. is Nordstrom - famous for their service - and they are finally going to open in New York. Those other bozos had better watch out.

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