One of my earlier sales jobs was at a Porsche-Audi dealer in El Paso, Texas. I have a number of entertaining stories from that time period. Here is one–the moral of which is that sometimes you just have to hold your price to get it.
Since we were the only Porsche dealership for hundreds of miles, we offered no discounts on new vehicles. But there was a local celebrity, a guy who owned four jewelry stores, who was well-known for “never paying retail,” and one day he walked into the dealership to buy the car of his dreams, a Porsche 911.
I was the sales rep on the floor who met him. He looked over the various 911s, made his decision, then asked, “What is my price?”
My response: “Sticker price plus tax, title and license.”
He came back with, “Do you know who I am?”
To which I replied, “Of course I do, I bought the watch I’m wearing from your store, full price.”
We dickered back and forth for a while. He finally threw up his hands and said, “Well, I’ll just go buy a Corvette.” I invited him to do so–in fact I told him the sales manager at the local Chevrolet dealer was a drinking buddy, and I could probably get him a good discount. He stormed out.
A couple of days later, he came back in and tried to go around me by talking to the other salesman. He didn’t know that we had a strict rule about taking someone else’s prospect, though. He was told he could only deal with me.
He came back to me and threatened to go buy an Alfa Romeo. Again, I invited him to do so, and even offered to introduce him to a good mechanic as he would need one. Once more, he stormed out. (I should mention at this point that my sales manager and the owner of the dealership were 100% behind me.)
At this time, most cars imported from Germany did not have air conditioning. Anyone driving a car in summer, especially in Texas, would certainly need one. So Porsche of North America bought a manufacturer of air conditioners, and sent two techs with several units to train our techs on installation. The units were no charge to the dealership.
I got a bright idea: how about we offer our jeweler friend a discount on an air conditioning unit for his new Porsche? I did so, and gave him two conditions: One, he never tells anyone he got a deal. Two, he had to send me five referrals.
It worked. I’ll never forget the smile on his face as he drove off in his new, “discounted” 911.