For the last few years, the husband and I have shared a car. For most of the time this worked quite well, but over the last few years he’s been using it a lot more, and it’d become a bit of a bone of contention. So when the lease came up for renewal last month, we asked our broker what kind of cars we could get if we got two for the same monthly payment. He accepted the challenge, and soon found a great car for the husband at a price that meant there was a decent amount left to lease a second car for me. Hooray! Even better, the broker found a batch of Minis, my dream car, at the right kind of price point.
Unfortunately the finance took too long to come through, and the car I’d been going for had been sold by the time everything had been approved. I heard the disappointing news at around 4pm on the Thursday before Easter. March was drawing to a close, and I realised that all the good deals would be ending with that first quarter, so I decided to go directly to the dealership.
Now, there are two Mini dealerships in Edinburgh. Dealership One is on the other side of the city, and to be honest it’s a bit of a schlep. But when the husband was test driving a Mercedes, we’d taken the opportunity to pop in because the dealerships are just across the road from each other. It was fairly early on in the car search, and the husband’s car was taking priority, but we knew the broker was working to get a good deal on the Mini, and we wanted to check out the new models and make sure it was still my dream car. While we were there, one of the sales executives, Paul, took a shine to Kimber. Well, who wouldn’t?! But he got down on the floor to play with her, which was really sweet. Then he asked us if we were okay, and even though we told him that our broker had sent us to look at the cars, meaning that there was nothing in it for him personally, he still took time to answer our questions and explain what came as standard and what was extra. He even gave us some examples of the kind of deals he’d done recently for customers, which gave us some numbers to take back to the broker. We also met the manager, who made a fuss of Kimber, asked us how we were getting on, and then told us we were in good hands.
Dealership Two is within a five minute drive from my house, and if I was feeling particularly energetic I could walk there. I’d been there recently too. We got a flat tyre on the way back from our Mothering Sunday celebrations, and so Kimber and I found ourselves the next day with an hour to kill at Kwik Fit, which happens to be ten minutes walk from Dealership Two. I decided to go and have another look at the cars, and I wanted to find out what their best deal would be on a new car. That way I’d have something solid to compare to the prices the broker was getting for me. When we walked in, the receptionist gave us a great greeting, and made a big fuss of Kimber. She then found a lovely salesperson to look after us, who gave us all the information we were after, and some more besides. The prices she gave me were slightly lower than the ones that Paul at Dealership One had quoted in passing, especially with regards to the initial deposit. Then her manager came across, introduced himself, and asked if there was anything he could do for me. Even though I explained that his team member was giving me everything I needed, he insisted on telling me that if I needed anything at all I should come and speak to him.
So let’s see if you can guess which dealership I contacted that Thursday afternoon. Dealership One? Or Dealership Two? There was no contest. I found Paul’s card, dialled the number, and explained the situation to him. I wasn’t disappointed. He told me to leave it with him and he’d run the numbers for me. Half an hour later he was back on the phone: he’d found a car in stock that was almost identical to the one I’d missed out on, was I interested to learn more. He sent over the details, some photographs, and suggested I get back to him the next day. I called him back the next morning to ask a few more questions, and then emailed him about twenty minutes later to say we’d go ahead. Unfortunately, in the time it took to make the decision, the car had been sold by another dealership. Foiled again! But this seemed to make Paul even more determined to find me a great car. And so, while walking with friends out at windswept Yellowcraigs on the east coast of Scotland at lunchtime on Good Friday, the husband and I said yes to a stonking wee Mini that Paul had conjured up for us. A car that had been ordered by another customer, who then decided they wanted five doors instead of three, and offered to us at a price that means we now pay £21 less a month for our two cars than we were paying for one.
I know that if I’d contacted Dealership Two they’d have tried to undercut Dealership One. But relationships matter more than a few pounds, don’t they? As do trust, integrity, and good leadership. All of which I found at Dealership One. When you’re making a big purchase you want to know that you matter, that the person you’re buying from understands you and what you need or want. So that you can trust that what they’re selling you is the right thing for you. One way of doing that is to have conversations with the people you want to buy your stuff, where you can show that you’re genuinely interested in them and what they need or want. Another way is to demonstrate that through your blog. People buy from people that they know, like, and trust. And you can help more people than you could hope to meet get to know, like, and trust you by building a regular blogging habit.
So if you’re in the market for a Mini, drop me a line and I’ll give you Paul’s number. And if you’re looking for ways to improve your blogging, or build a blogging habit, click this link to see how I can help you do just that.