Let me say at the outset, that this is not a racially motivated rant.
My heritage is Sri Lankan (Ceylon when my parents left there) but I’ve spent the last 62 years as an Aussie.
I’ve been dealing with an Indian customer (Param Singh) on two different new vehicles. The lead came to me from one of the companies I do business with, and I’ve been speaking to this customer since September 25th.
At first, it was “I need a new car by Monday (30/9)”. So I went out to my contacts on the first brand and got some spectacular pricing as long as it was ordered by Monday.
I then received an email that indicated that the first brand was too expensive.
I let the customer know that prices may change on October 1st but told him clearly that I’d get prices back to him late on 1st October. During the day, he emailed me twice looking for my numbers.
So, upon his advice, I went to the market for brand two. The difference between the highest and lowest price on this particular model was just under $2000, but $2611 cheaper than the brand advertised online. And that dear readers, is a fair bit of money in anyone’s language.
So, I finally received all the offers back from my dealers and sent them through on Tuesday afternoon (1st October as promised). And I heard nothing.
My suspicion was that he’d take my price to a dealer and use it to get a better offer. That’s what I’ve found with most Indian new car buyers – seems that they just can’t help themselves. They have to try.
So, rather than just dropping the lead, I sent the customer a generalized email
I’ve just received a late but better offer on the brand and model that you want. Let me know what’s doing.
Surprise, Surprise, within 60 seconds I’d received a call from him.
“What’s the price? How much better is it?”
As you’d expect, I didn’t tell him and then he threw in
“ I haven’t test driven one yet – I might go this afternoon” My response was that he should do that and then talk to me once he’d settled on the brand, model and colour.
And Param, you’ve promised that you won’t shop my price to other dealers. Can I depend on you to follow through with that promise?
Oh yes, Mr Bob – I wouldn’t do that!
And they seem to promise you the earth and give you an atlas.
I’m not holding my breath hoping to secure this business. And I’m wondering what I’ll have to deal with if I do arrange the car.
Not every Indian customer is like Param. Over my years in the car business, I’ve had dealings with scores of Indian customers. However, most were professionals – doctors, accountants, engineers – so it seemed that they had a different attitude to buying anything expensive.
UPDATE 11th October. I provided what I consider to be industry-leading prices to Param and needless to say, haven’t had the courtesy of a call from him or even an email.
I’ve tried to call, but the call is cancelled by him.
Param Singh from Runcorn – this is why your fellow Indian buyers are typically held in contempt by new car dealerships. I sincerely hope that you’ve achieved what you set out to gain, but there are so many better ways to satisfy your needs than what you’ve put me through.
Honesty – the best policy by far.