The Little Green Car and the Golden Principles of Customer Service 

We had a little green car.

For six years.

We bought it new in 2013 so that our two children could learn to drive, in a small, safe car.

But they both decided that driving was not going to be for them.

Our family home was less than five minutes walk from our local railway station which provided easy thirty-minute comfortable regular travel time into the city of Sydney.

So our little green car became our spare car.

My wife Jayne drove it mostly, and mostly because it was parked in our driveway behind her car, and so it was easier for Jayne to simply take the little green car out a lot of the time.

And it was a great little city car for zipping around in.

But now that Jayne and I have relocated to live in the country, the little green car has outlived its usefulness.

It was time now to sell the little green car.

So, what did we have?

We had a six-year-old car, due for registration, with low kilometres on the dial [24,300kms].

And in need of a new battery.

But thanks to a hailstorm, the paintwork on the car had been recently improved.

And because the car was mostly driven by Jayne, and with ADULT children as passengers, the interior of the car was quite fresh.

So we listed the little green car for sale online, via local Facebook groups.

I was confident we had a good product, although the price I had chosen to list at was toward the upper end of the “going range” that this car was being pitched at by other private vendors.

Actually, the first thing we tried before listing the car online was that we had parked the car with a FOR SALE note on the windows for a whole day, Easter Saturday, outside our village local markets where there was a good chance that several thousands of pedestrians were going to walk past it.

The result?

Not one enquiry.

So the next morning, Easter Sunday, it was listed on Facebook.

And the messages started coming regularly:

Imran wrote: “What is the best price you can do if I come and pick the car up today?”

The price was listed in the advert. I messaged him that price.

Ganesh messaged me: “If you give at 8K will buy it ASAP”

I messaged Ganesh that the price was listed as $10,600 o.n.o.

Mark Joseph wrote: “Hi 7000”

I replied: “Sorry, no.”

Zuber messaged me: “Is this available? If u r happy with 8500, I would like to come for inspection” 

I declined Zuber’s offer.

Abdelrahman asked: “What is the last price please”

Sam Azo and I had a long message conversation:

“Is this available? I can pick up now for $5750”

 I replied: “Pass”

Sam responded with reason and fact:

“For 2012 model in market between 4k and 6k”

 I sent him a pic of Car Guide  showing the range from $6400 to $12999.

Sam replied with images of a 2015 model that [he said] sold for 9k.

I told him: “You should have bought that one”

Sam then offered me a sob story and improved his offer to $6300. He then sent me pics and a conversation with a seller of a 2013 model listed at $8990 who would take an offer of $6k.

I told Sam to take it.

Sam replied: “I will take it your car but give me best price cash and the last price to come pick up”

 I wrote back to Sam: “$10600”

 Mody also wanted the car: “I was looking to buy car this week. But I have only $9000 cash. Can I come tomorrow to see and I bring the money with me if all good I pay and pick it up”

 I held my line.

The day had been long. This was after all, Easter Sunday. And all I had was tyre kickers…..

And then, in the evening, I received an SMS message to my phone number….

“Hi David. Just saw the ad for the Mazda 2. Very interested. When can we inspect?”

 I SMSed my reply: “Hi. I’m home all day tomorrow and Tuesday.”

 The response: “That’s great can we come in the morning early. Maybe 9am?”

 I replied: “9am is good”

And so they came.

And they saw.

And they loved it.

And they bought.

And I knocked it down to an even $10,000 for them.

Just to be nice.

What’s the lesson here David?

The lesson is simple.

If you believe you have a quality product that people will pay for, then you do not need to bother yourself with all the tyre kickers out there who want to haggle you down to a brutally low price.

Life is too short to be playing in that sand pit.

It’s not fun, and the people there are there to try and take advantage of you.

In my dental practice, I knew that we had a great practice with a great product provided under the umbrella of a world class customer experience.

And we held that line.

We attracted the people who wanted what we were offering.

And were happy to pay us for what we were doing.

Because to them it represented exceptional value.

Make sure you attract those customers who value what you do for them.

You don’t have to be out there trying to please everybody.

Because you never will.

And in the end, you’ll fail to please yourself.


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