My tyre had gone flat. I was driving around on my spare and needed a replacement. I needed that replacement put onto my car so I could sport all 4 alloys, and for my spare to be loving returned to its compartment in the boot.
This was what I told the friendly and enthusiastic mechanic in the first garage I ventured into.
He journeyed out of his work shop to gauge the tyres size and asses its (non existent) potential to be repaired, before recommending a (mid range) tyre that would put me back £55. When I asked about the rest of my tyres he assured they were road worthy.
Initially he didn’t provide any further details about the different grades of tyre available but when I enquired he was forthcoming with information about my options. In hindsight I believe this was a positive sales move as it kept the process simple and didn’t compromise the value of the potential purchase.
He thought it was a good buy and I sensed he was genuine. My gut feeling was a positive one; but being bought up to be a savvy shopper and liking to purchase my goods with sound market knowledge, I continued to shop around for prices.
And so, onto the second garage I went.
Unlike at the first, the rugged looking mechanic dragged my tyre off inside his workshop. (Note to salesmen: just because I’ve been lured into your abode, it doesn’t mean I’m going to be pressurised into buying from you).
Once inside he bamboozle me with tyre jargon and threw around branded names like I would understand the different products. I, myself, do not work with cars nor do I have a passion for tyres, so obviously couldn’t differentiate between these brands.
After securing me a quote of £70-odd for my new mid-range tyre he probed “So have you been given a price already”. This is surely never a good sign. It conveys the message of dishonesty and yells “this is not the best quote I could have given you”.
To conclude our conversation he told me, a little too often, that he acted as a wholesaler for all the local garages and warned that if others were telling me they were giving my brand X for price Y, to check that that was in fact the case and I wasn’t being mugged right in front of my eyes –
Would companies really act so fraudulently? Is this what they did? And why was this man resorting to bad naming his innocent-until-proven-guilty competitors?
This transaction, however, was nothing compared to my third encounter.
Having pulled up onto the car park I walked into the reception and found two men sat behind a counter. Humm, these mechanics aren’t busy doing usual mechanic-like things.
They had seen me and had clearly though “woman, young, easy money” (either that or I really don’t want this business) as, as I outlined my needs he stood up, looked out the window and said; “From here it looks like you need this tyre and it will cost from £74 for a budget tyre to £180 for a top of the range”.
I thought, “you lazy, conning £$*#&*!"
Again the quote comparison question, both parties knowing there was really no need to ask it, and some more try-hard jargon. He then dramatically decreased the price before telling me how useless the tyre at this reduced rate would be.
My man, even if you were to sell me tyre for a fiver there is no way I’d buy anything from you! Not only is your customer service shocking, I find it staggering how someone in your profession could undervalue the importance of running a safe car.
This garage had clearly never heard of word of mouth.
Naturally, in the end I made my purchase from the first garage.
I felt this was an honest, transparent company who had enough confidence in their own service that they didn’t even think to mention their lesser competitors. They expressed an enthusiasm for their trade, shared with me relevant knowledge, and didn’t take me for a fool.
I believe that all sales communications, regardless of the sector of business with which they're involved, should heed to these points. Everyone enjoys doing business with a company that has a conscious, values their custom and treats them with respect.