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When does No Pressure == No Love? It is a fine line.

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by lolachampcar, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    The feeling of revolt associated with dealing with auto dealerships is almost universal. I did have one rather twisted friend that enjoyed running dealer salesmen around in circles well after he had made up his mind but most people I know dread any interaction with their dealer.

    Tesla is attempting to address this by "going Apple" with the boutiques and information specialists. In most cases, there is zero pressure to purchase which, in theory, is great. My question is- Is the no pressure thing being taken too far by the front line?

    I've given a bunch of demo rides (and drives) with a good number of those people making it by the Tesla store to take a look. More than one has commented on the almost lackadaisical approach Tesla personnel have to people actually wanting to buy the car. I have been told that, in some cases, it is almost like they do not care. It has turned off more than one of people that I've sent to the store.

    This appears to be a very fine line and perhaps some with more experience in retail psychology than I have can chime in here. People do not like being pressured into buying. By the same token, I know I like to feel like my order is important to the vendor. I'm not talking discounting but more a general feel that my business is appreciated. I think that is what some of my referrals are finding lacking.
     
  2. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    Yes, the fine line is that you can't make everyone happy and that there are people who'll go out of their to be unhappy no matter what's done.
     
  3. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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  4. Crispix

    Crispix Member

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    In a word: "nope". Or at least, I don't think so. They're selling the cars as fast as they make them, so there's no need for sales pressure.

    It's refreshing to be able to walk around an auto showroom without even a whisper of that annoyed feeling I get whenever a salesman walks over to me. The only other time I get that luxury is at the annual auto show.
     
  5. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I'd agree with crispix, UNLESS what were talking about is someone inquiring about buying and the tesla employee being all "well, you can check online if you want. We have he prices online so if you want, just go browse online. If you REALLY wanna buy now, I can take a deposit".

    That could turn anyone off I guess.
     
  6. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    Was the store crowded and the salespeople were helping others?
    or did the salespeople talk to your friends and they came off there as not caring?

    Santana Row (in San Jose, CA) is usually crowded, with far more window shoppers than Tesla staff.
    I feel like the salespeople, somewhat naturally, talk to the more extroverted window shoppers rather than introverted folks that might actually be more serious about buying a car. at least, I've felt a bit ignored there.
    I suspect that if it were a commission based salesforce, the salesperson would quickly gather that the window shopper won't be buying a car for at least 6 months, and move on to the next person, even if the next person was quiet.

    I'm not sure that's healthy, either. I see what Tesla is doing by educating everyone, even those that currently don't have the income or are not currently in the market to buy. Still, it's easy to feel neglected in a crowded store.

    When I have talked to Tesla salespeople, though, they seemed genuinely passionate about the company. They seem to love the cars, and want you to love the cars, too. When I told someone there I was going to buy the car, I was told, "Great, I'm glad to hear that. Anything else I can help you with today?" I admit that it felt a bit underwhelming, but I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting. Did I want them to offer to hand hold me through the reservation process at one of their terminals? no, not really. So what did I expect?
     
  7. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    derekt,
    I think you hit the nail on the head. None of the comments were overly negative nor were they suggesting that they wanted the dealer salesperson swarm. I got the impression it is much more of how you put it in that they were strongly considering buying a $100K car and seemed to want someone on the Tesla side participating. What participating meant was unclear to me which is why I was looking for some feedback from those familiar with the psychology of retail sales. It was simply a perplexing comment/feeling these people were coming away from the store with and it was not an issue of the store being busy or the associates being anything less than polite and very helpful.

    The funny thing for me was that at least three of these (guys) were capable of writing a check for the car on the spot and very likely would have had someone just joined them in the process. Again, I'm not sure what "joined" would be.
     
  8. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    Not sure this is the same thing but I used to 'sell' bicycles. Not on commission. I was super LOW pressure. I often told people to go to other stores after they told me their needs.

    I would send people to Wal-Mart when they honestly told me they wouldn't use the bike beyond a ride or two. I would send people to other stores to get specific high end products that we really didn't have enough selection.

    I sold more bikes at that shop than anyone. Honesty and answering questions goes a really long way.

    When they might seem 'not effective' might be because you are already sold on the Model S, and don't have any questions. To someone who shows genuine interest you might get a different experience.
     
  9. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    I will admit that TMC members tend to love their cars and the Tesla store folks might just like them a whole lot. :wink:
     
  10. Newscutter

    Newscutter Member

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    Easy fix. Let the Tesla store employees take the cars home at night. They'll become true believers (and/or at least have more useful feedback for potential customers). That said:

    Dear Tesla,
    When you open a store in the Pittsburgh area, I would strongly consider a change in career. Thank you.
     
  11. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    When we reserved the S and X, someone from Tesla did lead us up to a terminal and walk us through the process (though unneeded). I think that would suffice for "joining", then perhaps a hat or keychain after.

    *edit* better yet, a nice reservation certificate printed out
     
  12. highfalutintodd

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    Had my test drive at Santana Row late last year and have never felt more important or attended to in any other retail experience in my life. I had already done some homework but had tons of questions and they patiently answered every single one as if I were the only person in the store (and it was hella crowded).

    No pressure, and an incredible experience. I couldn't have asked for it to be any better. I placed my reservation a week later in a hotel room at my leisure. All in all a pretty extraordinary way to buy a car IMO.
     
  13. AustinPowers

    AustinPowers Total Smeghead

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    Stop by in our store here. Every time I was there I was asked to put down a deposit. I was given the impression that they didn't really like to care for me unless I at least made a reservation. Not a nice experience really, and unlike my previous experiences with car dealers, which are completely opposite to what you describe. America really is a strange place in some respects. I sure prefer our dealers here, where I am always made to feel welcome even if I don't show any interest in their cars at all.
     
  14. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    It sounds like the experience varies widely amongst stores so it is likely a training/guidance issue and not a cultural one.
     
  15. Tempus

    Tempus Member

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    i think it's likely the training/guidance issue. Of course, there's also the cases where Tesla employees are being constrained by law from helping too much. I had an interesting conversation with one of the employees in the Tyson's Corner, VA store about that line, and how careful they have to be walking it. (I don't think that applied to the original poster, but certainly relevant in places). Whenever i've been in a store, the employees have always been very helpful, even if i was just there looking around.
     
  16. GlennAlanBerry

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    You also have to look at it from the typical Tesla Store employee's point of view. A Tesla Store is usually pretty busy, with possible customers far outnumbering the employees. A pretty high percentage of these possible customers are just curious about the car and are very unlikely to actually buy a Model S for a number of reasons. One of the main points of the Tesla Stores is to raise awareness of Tesla and EVs in general. If you spend 10-15 minutes in a store and just listen to the conversations and questions that the employees get, you can see how it might get a little tedious to hear the same questions over and over and over, for eight hours a day.

    Even though every Tesla Store employee I have talked to has been very friendly and enthusiastic, getting the same questions every day, mainly from people who are unlikely to buy a Model S would be hard to live with on a long-term basis. I worked retail during college, so I know what that grind is like.

    Also, whenever I am looking at a big-ticket item, I do my own research ahead of time. I want to know a lot more about the product that I am considering buying than the front-line employee does. I really don't need or want any hand-holding.
     
  17. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    How does this translate to being (seemingly) disinterested when a customer states they are now interested in buying?
     
  18. GlennAlanBerry

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    Because it explains why an individual, non-professional sales person Tesla Store employee might be a little underwhelmed (which does not seem to be that widespread of a problem). When I reserved in November 2012 (at the Park Meadows store south of Denver), they took me to a seating area in the back and had me enter my info on the web page (just like I could have at home), and then they took my $5000 check for the deposit. They were very happy about it and there was no problem at all.

    There is a big difference between someone saying "I am interested in buying a Tesla Model S" and "I am ready to make a deposit right now". Body language and context matter, in how someone should react.

    I really don't want the Tesla Store employees to act like typical commissioned car sales people, where you get pounced on the second you enter the store.
     
  19. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    I'm not disagreeing that America is a strange place.

    but I've always felt welcome at any dealer lot I've been to.
    Shortly after you arrive, someone will approach you and ask "Have you been helped?"
    at which point you can say, "Thanks, but I'm just looking around," at which point they'll say, "Okay, feel free to look around and let me know if you need anything" and walk away.
    or if you have questions, they'll help.
    Isn't that the way things should work?

    If want to push buttons on a car that's "on", well, now you're starting to get to the mediocre side of the experience, because now they want to be with you. and if they're with you, they're wanting to sell because their time is valuable.

    On the whole, though, I think the problem with dealers is less the commission aspect, and more the pricing aspect.
    There's an MSRP, which everyone knows you don't pay unless it's a fancy new car in short supply. and then there's the "dealer invoice" that you can get from various sources. but the dealer always claims that there's something wrong with the invoice price you got, and your car has this or that extra which isn't in your report, and then there's the "this weekend only sale" that happens every other weekend, but if you don't buy today the price will be higher tomorrow, and the way that the person you're talking to isn't authorized to sell the car at the low price you're offering (even if it's a quite reasonable price), and that's even without adding trade-ins and financing into the mess.
    I think the American dealer experience is generally pretty good up until the point where you actually want to purchase the car. Then it's a mess.

    I also find it irritating how the first question out of the dealer is usually, "What color are you interested in?" because they only have certain cars in their inventory, and if you want red, then they'll talk up the features in the red car on the lot, and talk down the features missing on that red car. but the first time I look at a car, I don't care about the color on the exterior, I just want to sit in a car, drive it, and play with the gizmos.

    So, yeah, I don't like the dealer system. but I would never say that I've never felt "welcome" at a dealer, even when I didn't have any interest in the cars at all. The less interest you have, the more positive your experience is. The farther down the buying process you get, the worse everything becomes.
     
  20. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    You are lucky then. I've always felt as if they couldn't get you out the door fast enough. Except when you actually purchase the car and then you have to sit with the finance person for hours while they try to sell you every package you have--last time this went on for nine hours, and it was only cut short because the dealer was closing at 21:00.
     

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