Gene Prunty has a story to tell about a recent car shopping experience that drove him to leave Cox Automotive and retirement behind. It’s a story full of obstacles, frustrations, and opportunities, and it serves as a clarion call for today’s dealer decision-makers. Here’s Gene’s story, in his own words:
In searching for a car to replace the one I owned, I ran into some interesting situations. 3 out of 4 dealers I went to had an issue with finding either a car or the keys.
The first dealership was in St. George, Utah. I was looking for a 6 Series BMW convertible to replace my Porsche Boxster (too small for me, really). I found a car online (as many do today) and drove to the store to see it. I got there to be told, “Oh, that car is on our other lot.” Disappointed, I reluctantly drove to the other lot only to find the car was not there either, and what’s worse, literally no one knew how to find it.
With this experience fresh in my mind, I made an appointment online to see a similar car in Bountiful, Utah, which is 30 miles away from my home. When I finally got there, no one knew I had an appointment, and no one could help me. I was told that my “appointment” was scheduled by their virtual assistant (not a live person), and that’s why it was not assigned. Nice! At this moment, a sales rep approaches to say he will look for the car and asks me to please “hang out.”
After far too long, the sales guy comes back and says he “thinks” he knows where the car is, but he can’t find the keys. Nevertheless, he says, “Want to walk with me to our other lot to see it?” My wife, a sweetheart, said, “sure.”
Meanwhile, I’m fuming! We get to the car. It’s FILTHY and has windows tinted so darkly that you can’t see inside at all. Gene is not a happy camper.
The third dealer visit was just wonderful too.
This time, I CALLED and PERSONALLY set an appointment to see a 428i Convertible at another BMW dealership (notice, not the 6 series I was seeking). When I got to the dealership, the sales rep I spoke to on the phone came up and informed me, “I think the car is in the service department, which is closed, and I can’t find the keys.” Oh, joyous day! I just drove 17 miles from my house to meet a sales rep who scheduled the appointment, and now I might go to prison for what I was thinking about doing to him. Fortunately, my sweet wife wanted this car. So, I composed myself, didn’t go postal, and said coolly, “call me when you find everything.” Over one hour later, he rings me up saying they found both the keys and the car and asked if we could come back for our test drive.
In the end, we got a car my wife wanted, but we were both tired, grouchy, and not inclined to rate any of these dealers high on customer service. So, it’s not hard to understand that after all this happened, when TrueSpot approached me about joining their team, I quickly put my retirement on hold. My 10 years in the business and the personal experience I described above have led me to believe TrueSpot can solve more problems for a dealership’s flow than anything else can.
The moral of this story? Location Is Everything.
Later, when I went back to one of these BMW dealerships to talk about TrueSpot, the General Sales Manager said, “oh, you recently bought a car from us. I bet you had an outstanding experience!” It was truly priceless to see the GSM’s look on his face when I politely told him my car search story.
My final word: We will be installing TrueSpot and TrueRecon for them this July.
Gene is now responsible for inside sales regionally for TrueSpot. After a decade in the industry, he is not retiring, and his wife is still sweet (and the happy driver of a newly acquired BMW). If he calls, ask him about his experience and how he helped his dealership improve. Sadly, his car shopping story is not unique, and in asking, the dealer business he saves next might be yours.