At Ken Garff, we talk a lot about our commitment to listening. Members of the Ken Garff team are trained to hear their customers and to customize the buying experience based on what they’re hearing. But what about the other half of the conversation? When should customers listen to the car dealer and when should they ignore the information they’re being given? Based on our long history in the field of automotive listening, we’ve compiled a few rules of thumb for when to listen to your car dealer.

Don’t Listen: When a dealer recommends a car you don’t like.

Sometimes car dealers are so familiar with the features and benefits of a vehicle that they forget to factor in personal preference. Objectively, they understand that a certain vehicle has a long list of impressive features and happens to be an amazing financial value. In the mind of that dealer, those objective criteria make it the perfect vehicle for you to purchase. While well intentioned, the recommendations of car dealers should be politely dismissed in these cases. While features are important, it’s also very important that you love the car you drive. You should never feel pressured into buying a car that you don’t like, even if it does have a long list of impressive features, including a great price.

Listen: When a dealership offers service schedule recommendations.

Due to the behavior of a small number of bad eggs, auto mechanics have gained a reputation for recommending services that aren’t totally necessary. Sometimes, this can cause vehicle owners to ignore the recommended service schedules provided by their car dealership service departments. It is important to understand, however, that many of those service recommendations are not coming directly from the dealership, but are based on manufacturer recommendations or even warranty requirements. In this case, it would be well worth your time to listen to your dealer and at least verify with your owner’s manual that the recommendations they offer are in line with the manufacturer.

Don’t Listen: When a dealer can’t find the problem with your car.

Many times, vehicle owners take their cars into dealership service departments based on a simple intuition that something doesn’t feel right with their car. On rare occasions, the technicians will inspect the car and come to the honest conclusion that nothing is wrong. Customers shouldn’t assume that the dealership is lying (indeed, providing a service is often in the best interest of the dealership), but owners also shouldn’t brush off their intuition too easily. With endless hours of experience driving their own cars, owners can sometimes feel changes that indicate a problem that mechanics can miss. Be persistent if you’re convinced that there’s a problem and a good car dealership will listen to you.

Listen: We need you to come into the dealership to discuss.

In today’s world of convenience and instant information, many customers call car dealerships hoping to get exact answers to questions over the phone. Sometimes, customers are frustrated when dealers recommend that the customer come into the dealership to discuss their questions. Often, that request is perceived as a sneaky sales trick. In reality, there are a lot of car-related conversations that must happen in person. For example, a dealership cannot tell you what your trade-in is worth without physically inspecting the vehicle.

At Ken Garff, we’re committed to listening to our customers. But, as every good conversationalist knows, listening is a two-way street. When buying a new car or servicing a vehicle, customers also need to know when they should listen to their car dealership. When both parties learn to listen more effectively, the car-buying experience will be a pleasant one for everyone involved.


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