Posted on October 15, 2016
Dress for the Occasion
You only get one chance to make a first impression. You might ask yourself how this would apply to car shopping. I can remember 18 years ago, before ever selling my first automobile, I saved up a nice down payment and visited several dealerships. The first was a Pontiac dealership. My friend and I must have stood around for 30 minutes without a single person coming out to greet us. I eventually decided to take my business elsewhere. The second was a Chevrolet dealer. Once again, I stood out on the lot for 30 minutes without a soul so much as acknowledging my presence. Frustrated by the lack of service, I went home empty handed.
I didn’t understand how this could have happened at two different dealerships. I had a good job and a nice down payment. It was 18 years ago on a Saturday which is supposed to be their busiest day, yet I remember it as if it were just yesterday. The weekend passed and I started my work week. I told a friend of mine that I was looking to buy a car and was wondering if he knew of a good place to buy one. He mentioned that there was a Chevy dealer just a few miles from work. It was the same dealer I visited last Saturday. I didn’t tell him what had happened but instead said that I was going to take a quick peek after work. About 5:30 that evening I pulled onto the same lot with the same clunker I drove up in the first time. I exited my car and started to make my way toward the inventory. To my amazement, I got about 5 feet from my car when a salesperson rushed over and asked if I needed some help. I actually looked behind me to see who he was speaking too. When I realized I was the only person out there I was flabbergasted. I thought to myself, is this bizzaro world or what? I was caught off guard so much that I told him I was lost and looking for the interstate.
I went home that night and tried to figure out what was different. Do salespeople only wait on people after 5pm? Could it be that he was the only salesperson working there and Saturday was his off day? Plain and simple, I was looking for any excuse as to why no one would wait on me the first time I came in. I was much more prepared to make a decision that day. At least I thought I was prepared. The salesperson did manage to give me his business card before directing me to the interstate. So I called and asked if he worked on Saturdays. Every Saturday for that past 3 years he responded. Still unsure what I was missing I agreed to set an appointment to meet with him next Saturday.
Saturday morning arrived and I pulled onto the lot just as I had done two times before. I parked in the exact same parking space and made my way inside the dealership. I got all the way to the showroom and noticed my salesperson standing beside the receptionist as if he were waiting for someone. I stood directly in front of him and said “Good Morning” He looked at me for a second and then said “Oh Mr Couret I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you without your suit on” At that moment it suddenly hit me. The only thing that changed between the first and second visit I made to the dealership were the clothes on my back. Imagine that, here I was just one week ago prepared to sign my life away for this car and not a soul in the place would so much as approach me. I come in after work wearing a suit and tie and the guy practically rolls out the red carpet.
Dressing for the occasion may seem a little excessive but if that’s what it takes to get the service you deserve I say, why not? I hate to admit it but I can see the salesman’s point of view. He stands out there for hours on end. Finally, someone pulls onto the lot in an old car and gets out wearing a T shirt and blue jeans. At the same time a similar car pulls up and out comes a well dressed woman who looks like she could buy the building. Who would you approach first? The guy that looks like he can barely afford the clunker he’s been driving?, or the woman that looks like she can pay cash for anything she wants? If you said the well dressed customer congratulations! You’ll make a fine salesperson some day. The truth is folks, appearance does matter. It’s the very reason we brush our hair and iron our clothes each day.
So the next time you plan to visit a dealership ask yourself, how will I be treated today. Then take a look in the mirror and answer your own question.
Feel free to send in any questions or comments and as always I promise to do my best to help you. Till next time, enjoy your car shopping experience and as always under no circumstances should we forget rule number 1. “Always Leave Happy”
Posted on October 10, 2016
In the 21st century the automobile has become so complicated under the hood that the average car owner is unable to do much more than simple maintenance, such as change the oil or spark plugs. Proof is that even Toyota engineers that built the vehicles are not sure what is causing the recent problems with them. So, unless the car owner is able to afford expensive computer to diagnose problems and additional special equipment to reset the on board computers we are better off taking our cars to a well equipped repair shop.
The good news is that there is something we can all do to help our cars run better. My dad always said that a clean car drives better. So I am going to give you tips on how to make your car look better and thereby hopefully drive better or at least seem to do so. Every Saturday, unless it was bad weather my dad had me cleaning our family car. Over the years I got very good at it. Eventually I progressed to the point where I knew every nook and cranny of that car. It became a game to find new places to clean.
Years later I used that experience to start my own automobile detail business. I believe that cleaning a car is one of the most satisfying occupations there is. Many of my customers told me that they felt that their cars drove better after they picked them up from me. I did not do anything mechanical to them so it had to be that mind set of driving a clean car.
Just about everyone has washed a car or knows how to do it even if they pay someone else to do it. So I am going to share five professional tips to make the job easier when you decide to tackle it yourself. In these economic times perhaps more of you are doing so to save a few bucks. Following these tips will make the job easier and perhaps faster so you will not mind getting started and that is half the battle right there.
Tip number one is to park in the shade. Nothing will mess up a good car wash faster than to have the heat of the sun dry the car or polish before you are able to wipe it off. This will lead to either extra work or streaks left on the finish of the car.
Tip number two is to have all the tools and equipment close at hand before you start. I have a small tea cart I found at a garage sale that keeps all my car cleaning stuff in one place. Your equipment of choice may be different from mine but the idea is to think the job through before you begin. My minimum list is as follows. Bucket, sponge, Dawn liquid detergent, stiff and soft bristle brushes, several soft towels, hand held vacuum cleaner, window cleaner and Q-Tips.
Tip number three is to start on the inside first. There are a couple of reasons I do this first. Number one is that if I wash the outside first I am tempted to pass up the interior or not do it completely. The second reason is that I do not want to be standing in water while I handle a plugged in vacuum cleaner. Plus I might track mud into the car. I take out the floor mats first and clean them before setting them aside to dry. I finish up the interior by wiping down the dash and then cleaning the cracks and crevices with Q-Tips. I know this sounds a little anal but it seems like I will be stopped at a light and look around the interior and see dirt and grime in a vent or corner of the dash.
Tip number four is that wheels and wheel wells pick up most of the exterior dirt and hold it the longest. Now, I hate to do wheels because it is hard on my back. If the wheels are too dirty for my hose nozzle then I might go to a local do it yourself car wash before I start and use their high pressure hot water to clean them. If you are plagued by brake dust there are spray products available to remove it. Tire shine is up to you.
Tip number five is to do the windows last. I buy my window cleaner at the dollar store but I buy the best micro fiber cloths because they leave no residue or lint behind. Once you have done the windows you are ready to take a shower and go for a ride. Now doesn’t your faithful car ride just a little bit better?