I’ve had a love for the fine art of negotiation for most of my life and most recently I’ve developed a newfound love for convertibles. In the back of my mind I feared that these two loves would intersect and yield bad results, but after my recent unexpected experience at a car dealership, I realized that these two things can come together to produce sweet, sweet harmony.
Let me explain. Last year during my “In search of inspiration” tour my cousin and I drove a convertible for the first time in the cold city of San Francisco. I loved it because I felt invincible and unrestricted; however, I also felt cold. The average temperature in the area at the time was 60 degrees, but I refused to close the roof because it was such a new and exhilerating experience for me. I was so fascinated with the roofless car that we made a video detailing the different ways to say “we are going to open the convertible top.” In looking at this video, please note that we are both wearing multiple layers of clothes to protect against the frigid temperatures that we subjected ourselves to:
When I returned home later that week I was inspired to recreate the experience in my daily life and purchase a convertible, but after 3 months of searching for the perfect vehicle at the perfect price, I abandoned my quest.
Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago, I was driving by a car dealership and I spotted a gorgeous Audi S5 for sale. I stopped to admire the quad-exhausted beauty when in the corner of my eye I noticed a lonely little convertible parked out back. When I asked the dealership’s owner about the car, he told me that he just accepted it into his inventory earlier that day and it wasn’t ready to be sold yet. I inquired about the cost and he told me that he did not yet calculate the cost of the vehicle so he’d have to get back to me. I realized that this was the perfect opportunity for a negotiation session so I made an extremely aggressive offer for the car and to my surprise he said “ok.” “Wait… You mean ok, as in ‘yes, you accept my offer?'” “Yes.” This was too easy. I thought about capitalizing on my luck by offering him $100 for the Audi S5, but I decided to be modest.
While he retrieved the keys for me to test drive the car, I used my iPhone to check the car’s value on every major car valuation website that I knew and they all suggested that, at minimum, the car was worth at least 40% more than my accepted offer. I assumed that the owner also did the same thing because when he approached me again, he tried to correct his mistake and increase the price by 30%, but it was too late and he realized this too. I’d already mentally purchased the car.
I took the Mercedes CLK430 for an extreme test drive where I subjected it to my battery of extreme tests. I rapidly swerved to test the suspension, I slammed brakes several times to test the pads and rotors, I accelerated from 0-60 multiple times to see how much the engine could handle, and I even blasted the sound system at full volume to see if it could handle my loud hippity-hop music. I tested everything from the wipers to the headlights and everything passed my tests with flying colors. The guy from the dealership who accompanied me on the test drive probably feared for his life as I drove like The Stig, but I wanted to be sure that I fully tested the vehicle that I needed in my life all of a sudden. When I arrived back at the dealership, I prepared for round two of negotiations.
In the process of negotiating further, I became friends with the owner of the dealership and we spoke for a while about things not related to the car deal. He told me stories about his vacation, he showed me pictures of his wife and kids, introduced me to his business partner and his kids, and introduced me to other members on his staff. In the process of speaking with him, he showed me the exact profit margin for the car and explained how he is earning less than $50 on the sale, but he was happy because the customer relationship aspect was a lot more valuable to him. During this deal I realized that the word-of-mouth potential of a sale is often more valuable than a one-time quick profit. I liked this deal because everyone wins: I got a car that exceeded my expectations and he gained a customer and numerous referrals for life!
So now I have a car that is emblazoned with my G-Head logo, just like the first one. Best of all, I got it a week after my birthday, so it also serves as a birthday gift from-me-to-me. I love this car so much that I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant. Summer needs to last longer!