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Old 11-14-2006, 10:15 PM   #41
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Apparently this thread has touched a few nerves.. After two more pages of posts, I thought I'd add a couple additional thoughts...

1. I am among few (apparently) who do find the process fun. Perhaps it is due to 30+ years of experience as professional negotiator and negotiation trainer.. It SHOULD be fun, and if not you should practice techniques 'til it is..
2. Dealers are mostly small businesses, run by individuals with strong senses of how to run THEIR business. Some are changing, some are stuck in the past, and some are a pain to deal with.. You are unlikely to ever change a dealership's behavior or practices yourself.. Some (like car dealerships..) may be obnoxious AND profitable, while offering bad customer service, and we should all do our best to avoid making them any more successful by dealing elsewhere.
3. One powerful planning and prep technique is to really put yourself in their shoes.. If you were the only dealer in the state, how aggressive would you be with a local customer? How respnsive would you be to a blind e-mail that might be a trick from a competitor or the factory? While it is inspirational to think all customers are always right and deserve polite and professional treatment, it is unrealistic.. Car dealers are rude to "flakes" and so are RV dealers, often with justification..
4. The market is what it is.. Rare and high-demand units sell for more. Units long in inventory and unpopular sell for less. Dealers will make judgments about after-sale costs of serving a customer in setting a price. A little humor and reasonableness at the bargaining table will make a difference, whether they should or not. Every dealer tries to sell a unit for as much as they can get, and they are motivated to sell what they have to a real person in front of them on any given day.. Anything else is speculation..
5. Buying a $40,000+ "Thing" is still a personal experience.. The internet and e-mail are not going to replace the personal experience. Just look at the range of experiences around e-Bay motors for real world examples. You might close with an e-mail or phone call, but the entire transaction takes personal involvement...
6. Check out the article on buying and selling Airstreams in the Spring 2005 issue of Airstream Life...

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:17 PM   #42
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I hate to "pile on" on this one but . . .

I really found nothing wrong with the salesman's first reply (other than one spelling/gramatical error). I found your "joking" response to be offensive, even though you have not even seen fit to post the exact words or your reply here. His reply, while probably not in the best interest of the dealership was perhaps no worse than I might have done.

It is poor edicate to "joke" with someone you have not met and do not know well. That is a recipe for disaster, whether talking to a business or trying to make a new friend.

I also think it poor that you provided the text of the dealer responses without the text of either of your messages. It is unfair to try to put all the blame on the dealer in this manner. You have not painted an acuarate picture of this exhcange by only providing us half the information.
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Old 11-15-2006, 04:27 AM   #43
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Wish I hadn't seen this thread.

Oh Man! This thing is like a vacuum. It just sucked me in and the only way out is by the submit button.

Buying and selling is tricky business. On 2nd thought, life is tricky business.

Customers, what ego trips they can get on when using the checkbook as a carrot.

“I’ve already been to other dealers and you better get right with the price.” This kind of attitude always makes me wonder why we were not able to offer a price and if it doesn’t measure up, I could just say "thanks for coming in and hope we can do better next time".

None of us are perfect but what we do to soften the rough edges makes a difference. Sometimes its just little things; like not correcting a person’s grammar… or how they dress… or their table manners.... (ok, stop)

Retail is a two-way street and the more judgmental you are the more things you are going to bump into.

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Old 11-15-2006, 05:03 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by empresley

… or their table manners.... (ok, stop)

LOL! I wonder what the Chevy salesman thought as I sat shoveling in handsful of the free showroom popcorn at and all around his desk. The worse part was being introduced around and having to shake hands. Some people aint got no couth! Luckily by then it was a done deal and I was just there for a signature.

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Old 11-15-2006, 05:20 AM   #45
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Sounds like a couple of things happening here: 1) the salesman was being cute while attempting to cover his backside by trying to leverage pricing info out of you in order to not underprice his product. Noble cause perhaps but his method may not have been the best, 2) even as a teacher I would have at least met the guy face to face to see if he really was as conniving or sinister as you might have thought. Either way, retail as it was mentioned is a two-way street. Pre-judgement on either side really benefits neither side.
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:05 AM   #46
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One suggestion is to post a query on this site regarding dealers...either in your area...or a specific dealer. I did this earlier and got 8-10 responses regarding the dealer close to my home...all said essentially "go somewhere else". Nearly all suggested a different dealer about 200 miles away.

Moral of the story...dealers who do not serve their customers well best be wary of the internet...their reputation WILL surface...for good or BAD.

Tom R in Two Harbors, Minnesota

P.S. Sorry about the run-on sentences...just can't quit using those dots!...TMR
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:08 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by summerkid
Yeah, but why should we expect to be treated like kings if they can't expect loyalty? Customers seem to want it both ways.
I couldn't disagree more under the context of my exp. I didn't feel that I wanted to be treated like a king, in my situation, I wanted honest answers. There is no shame in my book saying, "you know, I don't really know, but I'll look into it and let you know." What happened in my case with the original purchase was that the owner and the salesperson both blew a bunch of wind up my behind with almost every question I asked once I got down to the dealer to pick up the unit. The PDI was somewhat of a joke and the knowledge of the product was less than acceptable. For RVs come with fire extingushers.

When it came time to upgrade to the Safari, I did include him in the process, I just didn't take my marbles and run. His interaction with me when I openly told him I was shopping turned from bad to worse and really put me off. He wound up being only $1500 more than the dealer I went with. I saw his service dept, and to me the relationship wasn't worth it.

I fully agree that some folks get checkbook guts, but you know what, I've been in sales before and folks here are exactly right, it's a two way street. Someone, somewhere will get the sale. From an old salesperson's perspective though, you always need to take the higher road. I agree the sales person could have initially done better. The response from the prospective customer was less than stellar as well, but here is where the sales folks could have turned it around, yet lowered themselves and got into a pi$$ing contest. Who won? Neither and a lost sale was booked because the sales person let it get somewhat personal.

One last comment for this post would be use of the Internet. It can be a great tool and a total curse. Every interaction I may have started looking for a contact, but the follow up converstations were handled over the phone. There are more times than not where email becomes subjective and the root cause of most issues, no matter how many similies you put on it. Since the boom of the net, folks talk less and email and PM more. That's not the way to build a customer base or a relationship. Eventually, it's gotta take a more personal connection or misunderstandings of this sort will be the norm, not the exception.
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:50 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by summerkid
Yeah, but why should we expect to be treated like kings if they can't expect loyalty? Customers seem to want it both ways.
Couldn't disagree more.

I think that loyalty is shown by going back and giving the dealer the unsolicited opportunity to make that sale. What better compliment than a regular customer coming in and saying, "I would rather work with you on this deal." For a salesperson to expect a customer to not research the product or the pricing and take advice only from that salesperson?

That's customer ignorance and dealer arrogance to a tee.

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Old 11-15-2006, 08:42 AM   #49
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buying a new airstream is no different than buying a new car. it's a real PITA and you should expect the worse from the salesman and if you get anything better than worse, be happy. also, email negotiations are a tuff thing for an expense like that. it really should be a face to face deal.

*by asking the above question,
i verify that i have already used
the search feature to the best of my ability...
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:43 AM   #50
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"Is this normal with emails now? I simply was floored by the way I was treated. I don't know weither I want to cry or am just burning mad.

Has anyone else been treated this way?????? "

lyn---i'v read your original post a couple more times and was wondering if maybe the salesperson was thinking the same thing after reading your e mail. being the one who initiated the insults, did it ever occur that an appology for your comments might have been in order ?------pieman
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:45 AM   #51
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When we were in the middle of our buying process... well more like we were about to put money down, thats when I did some searching regarding dealers.

I was horrified to see miles of negative comments on the one we purchased from.

Didn't find any negative on two other dealers in the east though.

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Old 11-15-2006, 09:49 AM   #52
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Wal-Mart Mentality

Originally Posted by Minnie's Mate
Too often people are too concerned about getting the absolute best deal...better than anyone else's...that they feel they have to brow-beat the dealer into submission. It shouldn't be that way. If you are fair you should expect to be treated fairly. If you feel you have to play mind games, go play somewhere else. I don't have the time. In the end, I will be in better shape because I won't lay awake at night wondering if I could have gotten a little better deal if I had just....

Well said! We often imagine that the businesses we buy from, and the sales people who are employed there, are filthy rich. If they are, they've worked darned hard for it. We all sort of realize that a business has to be profitable to stay in business, but we want the business to make it's profits from every OTHER customer... and give us a break-even or lose money deal.

I own a local answering service business, and we really "give good phone". In spite of being head and shoulders better than most of our competition, we frequently get calls from people who say something like, "I hate my current service... they sound illiterate, rude and are always in a hurry... I'm looking for a better service at a LOWER price." Sometimes I do have to count to 10 or put them on hold for a moment... so that I can respond nicely and honestly. Sir, you wouldn't expect to go to the finest restaurant in town and get filet mignon at the price MacDonalds burger. You've seen what you can expect from a "MacDonalds" answering service and prices.... if you want high end service, you will need to be willing to pay for it. I'll be glad to send you our pricing information, but please understand, our prices are are higher, and they are not negotiable."

The ones that make me really want to bust a gut are the ones who ask intelligent questions, know our reputation, get all of the paperwork and waste two hours of my time working up the account layout, THEN pull out the "now Here's what I'm willing to pay" - and try to cut the price by 40%. I really do need to develop a smooth way of getting them out of my office - without losing my cool - and without wasting more of my time.

Everyone should be required to work as a salesperson for six months... the abuse you can sometimes receive would stun most folks. I agree, there are some real thick-skinned boors out there, and some are pathological liars... but some of the customers also fall into those categories too.

Perhaps we should all just treat each other with random acts of senseless kindness!

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Old 11-15-2006, 09:51 AM   #53
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I had one bad expereince with my then local dealer. I went shopping out side my state. I ended up purchasing my Airstream over the phone form a dealer in NC. I never met my salesman until I took delivery. Everything went well.
I would buy form them again if I was on the west coast. My choice for the North west. Airstream of Spokane.
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:24 AM   #54
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I bought a new car in 2005.
I first went to my local dealer, told him what I wanted and asked him to give me a price with the understanding that I was shopping around. The "Senior" sales man wouldn't move off MSRP, giving me the song and dance about limited profit, feeding his kids, etc.

Bottom line for me, I went elsewhere and saved over 5K on a 26K MSRP. I had been talking on the phone with two dealers, both about 2 hours away from me. Each gave me what I thought was a good price, then one guy came 1K off that. The other guy then matched the first. Everything was congenial, friendly, it even got fun. Especially when I saw the price dropping.
The internet is helpful in doing your research regarding dealer reputation, priceing, etc. I knew before I started negotiating what the dealer cost was. There are some good sites out there to walk you through this.

After the deal was signed, I asked the salesman where they make their profit on a deal that is at or below invoice. Without going into all of the details, there are flooring agreements with the manufacturer where they get some money back if they sell the car sooner. They may also be running a contest where if they sell X-number of units in a period of time, the manufacturer gives them a healthy bonus. If the dealer is only a couple of units away from the goal toward the end of the month, they may sell a car at a "loss", and make it up with the bonus.

Does that make me a "WalMart shopper"? I dunno.
Each salesman I dealt with, had the opportunity to deal or say no-thanks. Out of the 3 primary people I dealt with, 2 were willing to work, one thought I was "trapped" because there are no other dealers in our area. (My opinion) The dealer I made the deal with was happy to have the business, and made it plain to me.
I don't agree with some of the comments that insinuate that getting the best price you can is somehow taking food out of someones mouth. While I don't hold the view that the dealership is rich, therefore I can take advantage of him, I do think I should get the best deal I can, for me - and MY family.

Edit: Having previously worked in a GM service department, don't neglect that end of your purchase. Right or wrong, it does at times make a difference in your level of service, if you purchased it at the dealer where you want service.
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Old 11-15-2006, 01:48 PM   #55
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How do you search the Dealers?

Several post have mentioned that you can search the dealerships. How?
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Old 11-15-2006, 02:22 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by lynnhughes
Several post have mentioned that you can search the dealerships. How?
Hi Lynn, I would do a google for any A/S dealers in my state or any distance I'm willing to travel. Then come back here and do a search on the forums for those dealers and look for comments, good or bad.
There is a new thread that started up regarding dealerships, you may want to follow it. Not too much info there yet, but there will be.
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Old 11-15-2006, 11:05 PM   #57
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Two Sides to Every Story

Hi, I was in the tool business and as a general rule of thumb I made 40% profit. If I give you 10% discount, That's 25% of my profit. Operateing expenses [overhead] were figuered to be about 26% over all. So I get to live on 14% of the money if I sell everything at full list. I have had people offer me $60.00 or less per hundred dollars; That means they want me to sell to them at "0" profit or at a loss. "Take A Hike" For your rediculas offer is rude.
Hey, I have a great Idea; I will sell you any trailer you want for 25% off list price. [on a twenty year payment contract] In turn, I want you to teach at one of my local schools for the same time. [twenty years] for 25% less pay for you. Such a deal!!!!!!

I drove to three different Airstream dealers fairly close to me to deal, Face to Face, Eye to Eye, and did not get what I wanted. Although the rudest sales person actually offered us a really great deal. We declined, due to the fact he was playing games. Insinuated that the last counter offer from us would work and then bumped it up $750.00; We decided to walk and at that time he told us to leave. I don't think you really understand what rude is. Rude is not, not getting what you want.
I did E-mail George Sutton RV. Almost all of our transactions were done by E-mail. I never met my assigned sales person. And it was two years later before I met George Sutton in person. I got a really great deal and it was not all just the bottom dollar. It was the whole process from start to finish, advise, through several E-mails, and the actual ordering of exactly what trailer and options we wanted. It was a two day drive from my home to pick up my trailer.
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:04 AM   #58
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Thanks, lynnhughes, for initiating a timely and fascinating discussion.
As I’m about to go shopping for my first Airstream…
After I recover from my right eye cataract surgery this morning.
Your thread and my surgery are eye-opening experiences…
Looks like attitude on both sides is a very important factor…
For success!
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:39 AM   #59
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Lynn, I am no teacher, but did you spell whether, weither? Darrell
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:57 AM   #60
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Exclamation Hi Lynn

Originally Posted by lynnhughes
I'm new to this forum. Found you by looking for help with a dealership.
I had sent them an email inquiring about buying their 75th Anniversary Edition.
This was the email they sent me: (I've taken out the names to be kind)

I am ------the Internet Sales Director. I was looking over this email and would like to add a couple things. We would love to have your business! However I just don't like to throw numbers out and I might not even be close to what another dealer is at and so would never hear from you again. It may sound like i am playing games but i assure you i am not. I am simply trying to earn your business. What kinda Figures are you getting from other dealers so i can make a Competitive Offer to you? If you don't mind answering that simple question i would be glad to give you a number to try and earn your business. All i ask is that i get 1 chance before you make a purchase. I Will Not lose a deal to price if we are talking same trailer options etc.. Thank your for your Time and Email I hope you give me a chance to make you part of the ----------.

I responded with an email that commented on the grammer used (I was a teacher) and made an offer.
This is how they reacted:

Thanks for the insult, makes me wonder how professional of a customer you are. If someone is (smart) enough to sell it to you for that, run do not walk but run down and buy it, while your at it pick me up one also. Thanks for the offer. Good luck and i hope you enjoy your new trailer.

Is this normal with emails now? I simply was floored by the way I was treated. I don't know weither I want to cry or am just burning mad.

Has anyone else been treated this way??????
Hi Lynn

My name is David Winick. I clicked on Airstream Forums today and read your initial and subsequent posts. Those detailing your experience trying obtain pricing information regarding the trailer you were interested in. I designed this trailer and bristled when I read about your experience.
I'm sorry that this happened and hope that this doesn't deter your efforts. If there is anything I may do to assist, please reply.

Ps. Please don't grade my grammar. Thanks in advance


David Winick
A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it.
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