Friday, October 24, 2014

A Tank of Gas?

So last week my wife ran into some vehicle troubles.  This was the last straw for her. There wasn't going to be another “let’s find a nice used one that can make it through the summer” or “Let’s get this one through the winter and we can get something better next spring”.  That only works 3 or 4 times.  It was time to get a new vehicle.

So of course, that was going to be my task.  So I put my boxing gloves on, threw in my mouth piece and was prepared for battle.  Ok, maybe not, but let’s be real, the experience should be something to get excited about, not dread!  But I tried to be optimistic and went in with an open mind.

The thrift shopper in me didn't look for a new vehicle right away, I had to look for something slightly used first.  In doing so, I found exactly what I wanted.  It was the style and color vehicle my wife wanted with just a few miles on it, PERFECT!!  So I walked into the dealership, told the salesman I want to purchase that explorer.  I told him, I need a vehicle before the weekend, and I want to get a deal done today (this is on a Friday).  This is where the fun began (and I just walked in the door!).

I told the salesman to give me their best price on the vehicle because I didn't want to play around.  He told me he would have to speak with his sales manager and get back to me.  I had an appointment to get to so I left. 

I returned an hour later and asked the salesman if he had that price for me yet.  It was at that moment that he slowly fumbled with some papers he had on his desk, and pushed one across to me.  He was trying to present to me a list of comparable vehicles that have sold and that were still for sale.  The average price on those vehicle miraculously was $3000 higher than what they had their listed for, yet theirs had still been sitting on their lot for 60 days (in the real estate world that would be like having your home listed for 6 months).  He then started trying to explain the list to me and say how competitive their price was.  I tried to be polite, but cut in and asked him if the price he was going to offer me for the vehicle was $3000 higher than what they had it listed at.  He looked at me in awe.  He replied and said no, I would have to offer him a price first before they would talk numbers with me.  

Knowing they were not going to talk, I made an offer $1900 under what their asking price was.  I thought it was respectable but obviously something they were not going to do.  The savvy salesman in me just wanted them to counter and give me something to work with.  The response I received irritated me.  He said, “No, I can't sell it for that, you'll have to come up.”  He wouldn't even counter my offer.  I thought to myself, “in the real estate world, if the seller says no, that means end of negotiations.  I might as well write up a new purchase agreement on a new house because they probable aren't going to work with you.”  I liked the vehicle though.  So I upped my price to $900 under what they had it listed for.  This is where the deal started to turn south for me.

The sales manager said, “No, I can't do it, you'll have to come up”, and he walked away.  It was at that time that I could tell the salesman was getting a little nervous that he was going to lose his deal.  He looked at me and said, “Mark, offer him $400 under list price and for a full tank of gas.”

I will let you think about that for a minute.

Did you see it yet?

I was completely sold on the $400 under list price.  I liked the vehicle, and it was at a competitive price. 

BUT A TANK OF GAS?!?!  If I ever buy a vehicle from a dealer and they do not fill the tank, it would be the last time I would ever buy a vehicle from that dealer.  To me, it would be like buying a house and having the sellers ask if the price included the light bulbs.  Yeah it’s just a tank of gas, and they probably would have filled it anyway.  It’s the thought that they would attempt to use it as part of the negotiation that burned me up.  After I heard that, I was done.

There are so many occasions that people lose sight of the big picture and focus too heavily on small affairs.  There can be so much more to a sale than just how much you make off the product.  To me, it is all about the experience and the relationships.  I would rather pay more for a product, and buy it through someone I enjoy working with, than buying the same product for less, through someone that just considers me as another number. I ended up working with a dealer down the road.  Their price was competitive, the staff was great, and we actually ended up with not one but two brand new vehicles. At RE/MAX Lakes Area Realty, you will never be a will be treated like the friend you will become; from beginning; to end; and beyond.  

Contributed by Mark Pietig a Real Estate professional at RE/MAX Lakes Area Realty in Nisswa. Call our office at 218-963-9554 and talk to Mark about your Real Estate needs. You may also email Mark at or visit his website at for more information.

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