Two Words You Never Want To Hear: ‘Watch This’ (When Test Drives Go Bad)

Most test drives begin and end peacefully. But when they go wrong, boy, they can really go wrong. 



Last year, Jeff Gordon did a commercial for a soft drink showing him scaring the living daylights out of a car salesman on a test drive. The commercial was well done and funny, but I didn’t believe it was “real,” or unstaged, for one minute. Why? Because no salesman would allow a customer to drive like that -- unless it was his first day on the job and he didn’t know any better. That’s one reason I always sit in the front seat on test drives. First of all, questions invariably arise during every test drive -- like “How do I adjust the mirror?”-- that are virtually impossible to answer from the back seat. Second, I want the customer to know I’m in control. If I need to, I’ll have the customer pull over and I’ll drive us back to the dealership. 

For instance, there was one guy who claimed to be a dirt track driver in his youth. We went on a test drive in a used Ford Mustang GT500, and the first time he gave it a little too much gas the back end broke loose and he turned it sideways. I knew right then that A) he wasn’t a professional driver, and B) I was in for a fun ride. I just didn’t know how fun. After awhile, he seemed to get his confidence back and the next thing I know he’s looking at me with a big grin on his face, saying “Watch this.” 

There are a couple of phrases you never want to hear on a test drive. The first is “Don’t worry, I’m a professional.” The second is “Watch this.” If you’re a salesperson and you hear either, it’s time to stop the car, immediately pull over and explain the rules to the customer, the number one rule being that the salesperson goes home alive. 

Well, in this case, I didn’t get a chance to do that. Before I could say “Oh shoot!” this guy stomps the gas, spins the wheel, and drifts us through a right angle turn on a small street in a residential area. After we got through the turn I laughed like it was no big deal, then asked the driver to pull into the parking lot of an office building up ahead, I had something I wanted to show him. As soon as the car came to a stop, I yanked the keys out of the ignition and told him his test drive was over. He could either get in the passenger seat and let me drive him to the dealership, or I’d leave him on the side of the road and he could walk back. His choice. The customer was angry as hell, but I had the keys so he didn’t have much choice. I’ve known other salesmen who have actually made customers walk back. 

Most of the time the customers aren’t showing off, or deliberately trying to kill you. They just don’t know any better. Like the lady who was unfamiliar with traffic circles. 

Most of the area around my dealership is industrial, with roads laid out in straight lines in a grid prattern. But a few years ago, someone got the bright idea to build a “roundabout,” or traffic circle, at one of the major intersections to help flow. If you’ve never seen a roundabout it’s pretty simple. It’s a big circle with all the traffic inside the circle going counterclockwise. Roads intersect the circle at four points: north, south, east, and west. If you’re on one of the intersecting roads, you slow down as you approach the circle, check to see if any traffic is coming, then enter the circle, driving around it until you come to the street you want, then exit. The traffic inside the circle always has the right of way. It’s hard to describe in words, but fairly easy to figure out how it works if you ever come upon one. 

It was anything but easy for this lady. As we approached the traffic circle at about 45 miles per hour I told her “Okay, we’re approaching a traffic circle. Just slow down up ahead and yield to the traffic that’s already in the circle.” She kept talking, telling me some silly story, not even paying attention to what I was saying. I started getting a little nervous because we were coming up on the circle pretty fast and she wasn’t slowing down. 

So I warned her again: “Okay, now, we’re coming up on the circle. You don’t have to come to a complete stop, just slow down and yield to the traffic that’s already in the circle.” 

She kept jabbering, not even hearing me. I looked ahead and saw there was a lot of traffic in the circle. It was rush hour and the roads were packed. I raised my voice. “Okay, now, slow down and be prepared to yield.” 

I looked to our left and saw a big, copper-colored F-250 dualie enter the circle and turn towards us. We were on a collision course. 

“SLOW DOWN!!!” 

Whoosh. She entered the circle at full speed, cutting straight across as if it wasn’t even a circle, as if it was just a regular road, and exited on the other side. We barely missed the truck.

Then she turned to me and asked: “I’m sorry, what did you say?” 

That’s how most of them are. They have no idea why you’ve just soiled your britches. Usually they just laugh and go “Hey, hey, you must be the nervous type!” Yep, strangely enough, I always get nervous when my life is in danger. 

If any of you have tales of harrowing test drives you’ve experienced, please share them with the rest 
of us.
Article Link

Views: 33

Reply to This

Latest Activity

Lois Burak posted a blog post

Is Your Digital Marketing Strategy Just OK?

To solve issues within most businesses an effective way is to use a compartmentalize strategy. Back…See More
3 hours ago
Simon Hopes posted a blog post

Top Five Tips for auto Intranet Setup

Setting up an intranet can be a daunting process for any business. After all, no matter how…See More
12 hours ago
Terrel Watkins posted a blog post
yesterday
Joel posted a blog post

Why are Fridays Good?

For some, this is Good Friday. For others, it is TGI Friday (I don't mean the restaurant).What's…See More
Friday
Sally Whitesell posted a blog post
Friday
Dave Anderson posted a blog post

Leading with Level One Accountability

There are four levels of accountability in any organization, and within the departments of that…See More
Friday
Scot Eisenfelder posted a blog post
Friday
Jim Flint posted a blog post
Friday
Cynthia Madison posted a blog post

Important considerations before buying your first car

Pollution became a matter of great importance in the past few years, considering the impact it has…See More
Friday
Bill Wittenmyer posted a video

Freebie Friday: How to Combat Flat Vehicle Sales

Bill Wittenmyer explains why dealerships shouldn't be afraid of slowing vehicles sales and the actions they can take to remedy that in this episode of Freebi...
Friday
Andy Church posted a video

Profit By Action Quick Tip: Prospecting

Sales people are not order takers. It is your responsibility to understand that your sales process starts with PROSPECTING, not the meet and greet. This Prof...
Friday
Yogesh Sashi posted blog posts
Friday
Jeff Cowan posted a blog post

Write Service Podcast: Episode 64- Holidays, Events, and Excuses

This week, Jeff covers three points about this maximizing this upcoming season of holidays and…See More
Thursday
Jeff Giere posted blog posts
Thursday
Brett Sutherlin posted a video
Thursday
Stella Lemon posted a blog post

Bike Information with Bike Owner Details

Check bike information and registration details with Owner Details, RTO, Insurance, Make model,…See More
Thursday
John Sternal posted a blog post

Swapalease.com Announces Its Top Vehicles for The Summer

Users Voted on What They Believe are the Top Vehicles for the Summer Months Based on…See More
Wednesday
Damian Boudreaux posted a blog post
Wednesday
Michia Rohrssen posted a blog post
Wednesday
Timmy D. James posted a blog post
Wednesday

Get Newsletter

© 2019   Created by DealerELITE.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service