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Car dealer fail demonstrates importance of sticking with sweet sales technique

Car dealers aren't always known for striking the right tone when trying to make a sale, but this one was way off. (AP Photo/file)

Taken from Tuesday’s edition of The David Boze Show.

A recent pitch technique employed by a car dealer in Sumner reminded me that in life, when you try to do somebody a favor, you’ve got to present it the right way. If you frame it the wrong way, they might end up being angry instead of grateful to you.

In the case of a car dealer’s recent communication with its neighbors, featured in The News Tribune, the exchange should have been even more sensitive because it involved people’s homes. Obviously, when you have a home and you live there, you raise your children there, you develop all kinds of memories there. A home becomes a very emotionally-connected place.

Well, there are these folks in Sumner who all live next to Sunset Chevrolet. Apparently, Sunset Chevrolet is doing really well for themselves, and they’re seeking to expand. The dealer apparently wants to buy a bunch of neighboring properties, and a letter was sent out by an agency on their behalf.

If it were me and I were sending out a letter to try to buy some property, I would be saying something along the lines of “Hey, we’re seeking to expand. I know you’ve been frustrated, but we’ve got a great offer to you. Please consider this. Let us know how we can make you happy.”

This one, according to The News Tribune, reads as follows:

“Sunset Chevrolet is prepared to pay and offer you more for your property than you would ever get from anyone else.”

By the way, so far so good. If I were reading it and I saw, “more than I would ever get from anyone else,” right away I’m interested.

“Most people will not willingly buy, move in, and live next door to a business with up to 150 employees and roughly 1,500 to 2,000 visitors (customers) a month.”

I’d be thinking “Alright so what are you saying? Are you saying not a lot of people want to buy my home? Are you saying I live in a horrible area? It goes on:

“You’ll be tens of thousands of dollars ahead of your situation by simply working with us. Or (unfortunately) you can watch us expand around you … as your home value plummets to residential buyers.”

It reminds me of something Darth Vader would say. “You can be on the side of the empire and enjoy the riches and wealth that we accumulate as we take over the planets of the rebellion, OR you can take up barbs against us and die.”

The problem is it starts off with “We’re going to pay you more than anybody would pay.” Love that. But you’re setting the expectations high, then you kind of crush it by saying “Nobody would ever want to live where you live anyway because it’s going to be so miserable and hellish.”

So instead of being an attractive offer where you’re thinking, ‘Man I’m going to get tens of thousands of dollars more than my home is really worth in the marketplace,’ instead it sounds like ‘We’re going to create a marketplace that’s so bad you’re not going to be able to sell your house in the future.’

To the Sunset Chevrolet’s credit, they are saying, “Look nobody has to sell their home, it’s a free country.” But if you want to buy people’s home, you want to give them a positive message, start with the sugar, just the sugar.

The homeowners were apparently not impressed. One of them told the News Tribune none of the four homeowners approached with the letter will be selling.

Taken from Tuesday’s edition of The David Boze Show.


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