My Latest Car Buying Experience…

Ok, here’s my latest car buying experience. Dealers, read this because I can guarantee it will be the difference between making or missing a deal.

My wife’s Honda Odyssey lease was up and she wanted to get another one. With our 2 young kids it’s a great vehicle for where we are at in our life.

Our lease was set to expire on Aug 1st, 2015 and we were back in Iowa for the summer so I called AHFC and talked with them about my options.

1. Lease another Honda and they would allow the dealership to ground the vehicle and do the inspection there.

2. Pay another month and extend out the maturity date by 30 days.

I did not want to buy from the dealer in Iowa because we’re only there for a few months in the summer and always buy local.

The dealer in Henderson, NV where we leased our last Odyssey had been calling me non-stop for the past few weeks leaving messages about renewing my lease.

I called the “Lease Retention Manager” back and told her I wanted number on an Odyssey EXL with RES and a Touring Model.

Before I would make a decision I asked for Cap Cost, Adjusted Cap, Money Factor, Residual and MSRP.

She said she would have to talk to her manager and get back to me. I told her I was still in Iowa and they could either FEDEX me the paperwork or I would wait until I got back to Las Vegas around the 12th of August.

3 days later she called me back with the numbers and they seemed fair. $449/mo with first month’s down.

I told her that we were going to wait until we got back because my wife wasn’t sure which color she wanted.

The dealer in Iowa only had 1 in stock so we couldn’t even compare colors.

When we got back into town a few weeks later I called her up at about 4:00 and told her I was back and ready to pick up our Odyssey.

We set an appointment for 10:00 am the next day.

I asked her to email me the numbers so I could review them to make sure nothing had changed which she obliged but I never received.

The next morning I arrived at the dealership at 10:00 ready to pickup my new Odyssey.

Then it happened…

The numbers magically changed!

I told her this is not what we agreed to and she went to get her manager.

While we were waiting for her manager to come over she asked me what I did for a living.

I told her that I spent 20 years in the car business, have done over 17,000 car deals and now I show dealers how to “restart” their referral program.

She said she was only 6 months in the car business but loved it. I asked her who she was getting training from. Her reply was classic. “My managers.”

I told her if she wanted training she needed to go outside the car business and gave her 3 names to follow:

Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone & Brad Lea.

She said her real challenge was getting people to respond to her emails and phone calls so I told her to start using this phrase in every email, phone call, direct mail letter and conversation…

“In a perfect world, what are you trying to accomplish?”

She was taking notes and thanking me profusely for the help.


This doofus came out and told me the old “Those numbers were from last month, we were trying to buy a deal.” routine.

Then he really got stupid and said… “This one has the protection package on it so it’s a little more.”

I said all I want you to do was to honor the price you already quoted me and I’ll take it. He said he could not do those numbers.

I walked out of the dealership and went home.

My next call was to the Honda Dealer in Las Vegas which was all the way across town.

One of their BDC reps answered the call and I asked for numbers on both Odyssey models just like before.

Something you need to know about me is that I don’t negotiate or play one dealer against each other. I just ask for their numbers and then make my decision.

10 minutes later she called me back with the numbers and to my surprise they were at $425/mo with first month’s down.

I said I’ll take it and be over in about an hour.

I arrived at the dealership, she greeted me and handed me off to a salesperson who completed the deal.

I was in and out in 90 minutes. I got to talking to the Finance Manager and gave him a few tips on selling products, etc. otherwise it would have only been 45 minutes.

The finance manager was so thankful for the help I’d given him he gave me a PermaPlate box as I was leaving.

It amazes me how dealers think that they can play games and still sell vehicles.

Neither store asked me for a referral, to sign up for their referral program or gave me an overview of how their referral process works so I’m disappointed but yet optimistic about dealers understanding referral marketing.

The dealership in Henderson who completely screwed up is part of a 28 store privately owned dealer group and the Honda Dealer in Las Vegas was a Sonic owned Store.

If you are a GM or Owner you need to really start paying attention to what’s going on in your stores or you just might be out of a job sooner than later.

In a few days I’ll tell you another story about my experience with my Hyundai Lease… it’s a doozy!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this piece! And if you enjoyed, please scroll down and click the “like” button.


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With over 17,000 car deals under his belt Gus Skarlis’ experience has led him to be considered the World’s Leader For Auto Dealer Referral Marketing.

Gus has been featured on Fox, CNN, NBC, ABC and Yahoo for his referral marketing strategies and has worked with some of the largest dealer groups helping them dominate their markets.

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