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This request came in today from a prospective customer.

"I am currently in the process of pricing a honda pilot 2wd EX-L w/RES. I have been to a couple of dealers already and whoever gives me the best price will earn my business. My questions for your dealership are: 1) will you match the USAA price of $31,406; 2) I am not paying for any dealer add ons; 3) I am not paying for any documentation fees other than title/tag transfer. If you can answer yes to these questions, I will be more than happy to come out to your dealership this morning and make a deal. I will be trading in a 2012 Kia Optima EX-turbo, 30,500 miles will every available feature on this car. Thank you. Tom"

My response was rejected; I'd like to read what other "response ideas" are out there. Thank you for your help.

Tags: a, chat, customer, inquiry, internet, responding, to

Views: 425

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Easy enough.

Hi Tom, Thank you for your inquiry and the opportunity. I am happy to answer your questions and assist you with your new car purchase. 1. We will match the USAA price on the same MSRP vehicle. Please provide the MSRP and I can see what I have available to match or come closest to it. 2. OK 3. Doc fee is $134.30 in the state of IL. The fee can not be waived. Let me know what time you will be in with your Optima and I will let you know who to ask for when you arrive. Feel free to call or email with any additional questions. 

How would you answer it, Steve? 

Holly, thank you for your input. Below is my response which did NOT work!

[9:43:08 AM]Tom, thank you for your interest. Your USAA price is well below what we pay for the Pilot, but we'll match it. Our doc fee is $587, everyone pays it (by law we can't "pick and choose" who pays a doc fee and who doesn't). Our dealer adds are Mud Guards and Body Side Molding; both are vital to keeping your Pilot in great shape, meaning it will be worth more when you trade or sell it - reducing your overall cost of ownership. I just gave you the straightest and most honest response any dealer in America will give you! You can call me 404-456-7219. Thank you.
[9:45:19 AM]Thanks for the response, however I will continue to look elsewhere. "everyone pays it" is not true at all, it is simply a dealer add on for profit. Thank you for your time. Sorry you could not earn my business.
[9:48:50 AM]We're sorry too, the "doc" fee thing is true, on both accounts. It is dealer profit, agreed, it is mandatory we charge it in a consistent manner. It isn't additional profit, it's our only profit. We wish you well, but more so, wish you would come visit us. We shoot you straight.

steve, I think you and I discussed this in another forum, but I didn't get to see your answer to the buyer - I think this is the ego / demand buyer with nothing but time. I have lost some and sold some through the years...and often regretted the ones I sold because they tended to be unreasonable about EVERYTHING, then barbeque us on the CSI survey.


as for the fee, everyone has paid the doc fee in FL, since a class action lawsuit hit a local group for a $million or so 15 years ago because some paid and some didn't. but I used to offer to back it out if we could make a deal...people hate it (and they are crazy high in FL), but most businesses have some kind of bullsh*t fee - especially for luxury services - last time I was at a higher end hotel, I had to pay for wifi, pool / gym, and parking.

Hi Steve, I didn't notice this was a live chat customer when I answered. I would have asked for their name and a phone number or email address in order to "check availability and get back" to them with the information. 

Is your doc fee really $587? Wowza! :)

Yep, $587, about market here in Atlanta. The dude was not giving up his phone, email, or anything else. Thank you for your comments.

DOC FEE is every buyer's most HATED 2 words.  When the industry can put a new name on this, they will go far..........


you demonstrate extensive wisdom actually using live chat, which is still a bit of an intangible benefit for some dealers. this experience aside, have you had success with it?

Tom, I am a trainer/coach/consultant. I believe strongly in chat, in fact I developed a training program for it about 5 year ago. However, it's been off my radar screen for years. I just happened to be coaching a sales person when the chat opportunity presented itself. It was then that I discovered my "chat skills" were woefully lacking! Thanks to you and others I'm getting up to speed. I watched the "chat" rep from contact at once train, but her content was technical in nature, I needed "chat sales skill" help. I'm working Saturday at a 400 + unit store specifically to work the chat inquiries. I will be better this time, again thanks to you, Manny,& Holly.

Manny, your response was FAR BETTER than mine! Thank you.

Manny, that would make me come in and I'm in the automotive industry! Great response!


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