Why honesty pays? And how to pay it forward?
Pardon the cliche but car dealers are not known for their honesty but I wanted to share this amusing and true life experience as to how not all car salespersons are the same.
Last weekend I was looking to get one of those old junk cars for my flatmate who has just learnt to drive, and is looking for a cheap investment. With many car dealers around the corner from where I live, I decided to go and browse through some of the car yards to see if we could find something to our budget and need.
The first one suggested a 4.5L v6 Holden Commodore which would cost us the earth literally in petrol and be a sure ticket to heaven for a driver with less than a couple of months learners driving experience. The second went further and offered a Toyota 4 wheeler which would surely help my friend drive over a few bystanders with ease, in a moment’s lapse of error. Despite these ominous suggestions, we decided to walk into the next dealership.
The third dealership had a young pleasant guy approach us, and he offered us his assistance if we needed any. When we went back to him, he offered us both a can of Coca Cola which felt God sent in the 40 plus degrees of sweltering heat.
Following which, he asked my friend if he was interested in a particular brand, make or model? And what factors were most important – was he just buying on price, and if was just a short-term purchase? And if we had considered taking time out to check out other places including online before making a decision? Were we buying to impress or for a particular purpose?
He then listened to what we had to say, and then this salesman openly stated that we should wait for a couple of weeks as more cars are expected to land, and there could be a few cars more suited to my friend’s need and purpose. He hinted to the fact that the prices could be reduced further given it’s getting closer to Christmas and there could be extended finance options available as well, which would be right to upgrade to a higher model and get better value.
I was taken aback by the level of customer service and the honesty of this salesman. He was not only welcoming and friendly, but offering us genuine advice on which car would be ideal, based on the driving experience, confidence level and aspiration needs of my friend. At no point, did he hint to us to purchase anything we had in stock, as he said, “it’s not what you are after, and you will not be happy with this”.
We did not purchase any car that day but we will definitely go back to him to see what he thinks is worth our time and money. I want to pay him for the lengths he went to build trust and rapport with us. He was willing to listen to us, and be sincere in his assessment of our needs, and most importantly, in ensuring that we were happy with our purchase.
Honesty and integrity is a reflection of one’s personal character and knowledge of their own values whilst respecting the values of others. A dishonest person will trade credibility over quick profits, but in the long run, the profits will cease as no trust is established with anyone. You can only fool someone once, but that one person can tell many other people, and you will lose more than one customer every time you cheat someone.
For many in the sales industry, their credibility is their livelihood, and I have over the years worked for and with both kinds of salespersons. The honest ones make less turnover but are consistent and stay in their jobs longer. The dishonest ones make mega sales but lose their face and are quickly asked to leave, unless they are part of a dishonest company to start with.
Why it’s important and how to pay it forward?
A hard-earned dollar is valued more by the person who earns it, and multiplies further as you pay it forward. In the case of this young salesman, not only will I be going to purchase a car with him, but encourage many others in my network of friends and colleagues to consider paying him a visit. And certainly I will caution them against those previous dealers looking to make a quick buck.
This mantra is true to my heart as I run a small business offering custom-made menswear and can say that I gauge the success of my business based on how happy my customers are, not on how much suits I sold that month, or the turnover made in a particular quarter. Happy customers means healthy business, as most if not all of my customers place repeat orders year after year.
The best way to pay for it is to give business to the people who are honest with you, even if its costs you a bit more. The reason being you can be assured that the quality and the service will not be compromised on, and that you support a person trying to make an honest living in these dishonest times.
And do recommend that person to others, and make sure they get enough business from your end as an appreciation of the thought and act of honesty that person displayed to you, when many others were looking to carve you up for a healthy profit.
It is important and our duty to make sure that honest people succeed. Spend more with that honest tradesman or salesperson, give your votes to that politician who speaks the truth, or that banker who puts customers first. Every day we see, meet and interact with honest people, and I would encourage you to say thanks to each one of them with sincerity.
Honest people make up honest families that are part of communities that breed security, integrity and trust – all vital ingredients for a peaceful and prosperous nation.