We went to go car shopping earlier on today. Sophie (my better half) is in desperate need for a new car, and I am also coming to the end of my current arrangement so I need to start looking now. We decided to start looking at the Car People. We had heard good things about them and Soph’s dad has used them numerous times in the past. So we went expecting good things, however we left with a very sour taste.

We spent around 45 minutes looking around the very large outdoor showsite and found a couple of cars we wanted to have a look in and possibly test drive. So we went to go find an advisor to arrange seeing them properly. We sat down at his desk and he started to take a few basic details. Then he asked us a pretty irrelevant question: “have you started to look at insurance quotes?” A bit taken aback, I thought it was odd to be asked that. At the end of the day, it’s his job to sell me a car, not to worry about insurance. I explained that we had only just started to look and we wanted to get an idea of what car Soph would like before we took it any further. It was at that point you could actually see the attitude in this guy’s face change. The minute he understood that we were only at the looking stage first, he switched completely off.

He said that it was pointless to organise test drives for cars we wanted to look at until we had insurance quotes. He was at that point trying to get rid of us as quickly as possible. He stopped taking details from us and conversation was very hard work. I asked him to at least give us the keys so we could have a look inside them – which he did. But he didn’t want to stick around and by the end he was practically ushering us out of the place. This was a salesman that didn’t want to sell!

I think one of the main reasons for his poor attitude was because of how young we looked. For those who have seen me, you will know I don’t look 25 years old. Soph looks young for 21 too. But that shouldn’t matter. He was looking us up and down and his expression said “what do you know, you can’t afford these”. This is a terrible pre-mindset to have as a sales person. Imagine if we did this selling windows and doors. Pre-judging customers who we think can and cannot afford to buy new windows. We should all afford people the same time, courtesy and politeness. No matter what you think of people, you don’t know their financial situation. Assuming someone cannot afford you really does come across to the client, as it did with us today. It really upset Soph to be not taken seriously and we have now left the Car People with a very different opinion of them from when we came in first.

The lesson here is to put everyone on the same level, no matter age, appearance or anything else. Take every potential client seriously and afford everyone the same level of service. If you don’t, you stand to lose a lot of potential customers in the future.

It must be said that we only dealt with one person today and that he probably doesn’t reflect to overall attitude of the whole company. However, you buy from people in business and if I conducted myself in the same way I would also expect to be criticised.