Don’t write off the millennial (or any) shopper

As a preface to this blog post, I’m currently in the market for a PWC. I know, it’s not necessarily a boat, but hey, I’m on a budget — and a limited tow rating with my current vehicle. I also happen to be a millennial, which shouldn’t have anything to do with anything. But apparently it does. At least at some powersports/marine dealers.

I’ve done my research and shopped around online, but I’m more of a see-it-in-the-showroom kind of guy. That being said, I’ve recently started visiting a few dealerships around the area and let’s just say my experience has been mixed. One experience in particular prompted me to write this post.

Upon entering this dealership, I was greeted enthusiastically by those at the front desk. Great start. I made my way over to the watercraft on display, made direct eye contact with the salesperson sitting in the area, who proceeded to say nothing to me as I continued to walk around the area.

It wasn’t until I said something to him that he spoke to me, and even at that I took the complete lead in the conversation. That’s a fine sales approach, to listen more than speak and feel out the potential buyer, however that wasn’t the case here.

After telling him I was in the early stages of PWC shopping — and buying! — the sales person became less and less engaged in the conversation for some strange reason. Despite the lack of enthusiasm, I continued to ask him pretty typical questions about options, trailers and eventually price.

When we got down to monthly payments, I said I realized there are several things that could influence that such as down payment, credit history and score, terms, etc. I emphasized I was just looking for ballpark estimates. His response? “Ha! Way too many variables involved. I can’t give you that.”

Not a good start. I was working way too hard and not getting much in return. I shook off his disinterest and continued the conversation. This time I asked about insurance. Again, I acknowledged the variables, but roughly speaking, how much are we talking to insure these every year? His reply? A scoff followed with, “I don’t deal in insurance.” And I guess I won’t be dealing with him. I thanked him for his time and walked out.

Who knew what he was thinking? But it’s likely he didn’t know I had done my research online, knew the dealership had exactly what I wanted in stock and was ready to put money down then and begin the purchase process.

Aside from this experience, I have already had some great experiences with other salespeople from other dealerships, they just haven’t had what I was looking for.

I have also had some great experiences with other salespeople from other dealerships. We didn’t get to the finish line simply because they didn’t have exactly what I was looking for.

Compare and contrast my bad experience with exchanges over the phone. Asking virtually all of the same questions, I received nothing but respect and honest answers and good explanations from sales people at other dealerships. Maybe it was just luck of the draw. You can find people who are good at their jobs, and those who aren’t, in any profession. However, my guess is it also has something to do with the fact the sales people can’t see what I look like or how old I am over the phone.

The takeaway? Don’t judge people by looks, dress, age, race, whatever. You never know who is a buying customer and potential brand champion, and who might instead walk right back out of your dealership and tell several friends, including those on social media, about their bad experience.

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One Comment

  1. You should have went to the very next sales guy in the same dealership or asked for the sales manager and said, “Are you ready to sell a Jet ski because if I get answers I’m looking for, I am ready to leave a deposit today.”

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