Confessions of a former car salesman
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a question I had gotten one hundred times, only this time it would change my life forever.
Before I tell you this life changing question I need to tell you what led up to it.
My name is Mike Rumple. I am a Christian, husband and father of two boys. I started a business where I teach people how to buy a vehicle for thousands of dollars less than the average consumer without stepping foot in a dealership. Sometimes I have clients who do not have the time or patience to learn so they hire me to do it for them. That’s me.
Now back to the story.
Linda has no idea how the one question she asked would change my life forever.
Linda was a client I had while working at a large new and pre-owned dealership selling cars. Linda and I connected right away. She liked my no pressure approach and I could tell she trusted me. Actually, she told me I reminded her of her son who passed away.
So here I am sitting in front of Linda. We have spent three hours so far walking the lot and test driving multiple vehicles. We are getting to know each other.
We finally found the SUV she loved and wanted to buy.
Truth be told, she really didn’t LOVE it.
She wanted a white one.
The problem was that the white SUV we had in stock was way out of her price range and I needed a sale YESTERDAY. You see it was the end of the month and I needed one more sale to make a pretty substantial bonus.
I couldn’t tell her that the white SUV she wanted was right down the street at another dealership. I have two kids in diapers. I needed the sale today!
Side note: I tried to talk my wife into cloth diapers but then I realized I do the laundry. Forget about it.
Starting to see the conflict of interest?
Linda’s question was about to change my life.
At this point, Linda and I are sitting at the sales desk and I just passed the quote from management over to her so she could review it.
It was the exact monthly payment she wanted to pay. I knew this because I had already asked her. Never tell a car salesman what you want to pay unless you have done your research. Linda had not done her research. I was the first dealership she stopped at.
True she looked online and knew what she wanted but if you have shopped online you know it takes a PhD to decipher the true cost of these new vehicles. All the different numbers make it so only seasoned car salesman even know.
I worked with salesmen who had no clue how to decipher the numbers; even seasoned guys. I am a numbers guy and it took me over a year before I figured it out.
The truth is the auto industry makes it confusing on purpose. MSRP, Sale Price, Financing rates, Financing terms, Warranties, Lease rates, Residual values, different rebates for different people, Call for price advertisements, advertisements on mystery vehicles no longer available, Crazy low payment advertisements with small print no one can read.
Linda did as much research as she could but the deck was stacked against her.
Dealerships use the internet for one thing and that is to get you to where Linda is right now. Sitting in front of me, a guy she trusts having already spent three hours.
Chances are slim that Linda will want to go through this at another dealership and dealerships know this.
So here she is ready to buy a vehicle in a different color than the one she wanted because she liked me, the guy who reminds her of her late son.
Then she asked me the question.
“What do YOU think Michael?”
Here I am sitting in front of a woman who just called me Michael. My mother, my grandma and my wife (when she is mad) only call me Michael.
Should I tell the truth?
The truth is Linda your trade in is worth at least $1000 more than what we offered you. I could help you sell it personal owner and probably get you $2500. Not only that, I think you can get a better interest rate. It is the last day of the month and my boss makes a huge bonus if we sell one more. Last but not least, I think you should get the exact color you want. What do I think? Decline the offer Linda!
Oh how I wish I would have had the courage to tell her that.
What would you say if you were in my shoes?
As a car salesman your loyalty lies with your employer. Not only that, I was paid based off the sale price of the vehicle. The more Linda agreed to pay, the more money I made. That’s how business works.
So what did I tell her?
“Linda, this is exactly what you wanted to pay as far as your monthly payment and the car has everything you want and nothing you do not want so if you like the car, buy it.”
I even said that the stress of buying a car goes away after making a decision. I was in sales mode. She accepted the offer and bought it!
Here is how Linda’s question changed my life.
After Linda left the dealership my conscience got to me.
There is nothing more important to me than my faith and I felt like God was trying to tell me something.
Linda’s question got me thinking. I thought to myself.
How can I align my self with my clients?
How can I have only my clients best interest in mind?
How can I tell Linda the whole truth?
I knew a lot of my clients hated the car buying experience.
Could I reduce the amount of time my clients spent at the dealerships?
Could I help those clients who didn’t feel comfortable negotiating with dealerships?
I didn’t think it was fair that expert car buyers paid thousands less than the average car buyer.
I knew that I could help a lot of people but how would I be able to make a living doing it?
The only way for me to truly accomplish what I had been thinking about was to have my clients pay me outside of the car deal.
There are tons of so-called “FREE” car buying services that work for dealerships. I knew that these sites were nothing more than lead generation sites for dealerships. Can you believe these sites get paid up to $399 to sell your contact information to the dealerships in their network?
They really bring no value to the consumer. The deals they offer are fair deals and not great deals.
I knew I could do so much better for people than these so-called ‘no hassle sites’.
I knew that the only way to get an exceptional deal was to contact multiple dealerships and to truly make them compete.
But the question remained: Would people be willing to pay me instead of going to these free sites?
I told a few close confidants about my idea but considered me crazy to quit my job.
I had built a nice customer base and was getting a ton of repeat business.
I found myself consumed by fear.
Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of continuing in a career with a conflict of interest.
Then, one Sunday my two children were sick and I stayed home with them while my wife went to serve in our church.
There I am sitting there watching a sermon on TV (wiping noses) and I felt God saying:
Faith is greater than fear, Mike.
Haven’t I always provided for you?
I have something greater.
When my wife came home I told her what I wanted to do.
It’s awesome that I have a wife who encourages and believes in me! So that’s what I did.
I started a business where I coach people on how to negotiate an awesome car deal without stepping foot inside a dealership. I don’t charge people for my knowledge. Everyone should know how to secure themselves a good deal.
And for the individual who doesn’t have the time or patience to contact and negotiate with multiple dealerships, they trust me to do it for them with a personal car buying service. I save them the time and my clients rest easy knowing there’s no chance of getting ripped off.
So that’s how Linda and her question changed my life forever. One. simple. question.
“What do you think, Michael?”
Find out more about how you can save on the hassle, the haggle and the stress!
Mike is a former high-performing car salesman turned car-buying consumer advocate. Now he spends his days breaking the rules the auto industry has set for the consumer buying process. He’s got a love for God, a love for his wife, and a love for his two boys Elijah & Israel. When he and his wife Corrie are not changing diapers, they like to frequent Lake Erie, try new restaurants, travel and serve in their church.