Why I'm Hennessy Lexus's Biggest Fan Several of you have written to ask what I decided to do about buying a new car, given my unexpectedly bad experience trying to make a purchase off the Internet. Here's the scoop: I bought a 2006 Lexus IS250 from Hennessy Lexus in Atlanta. It really came down to service even more than the car itself. As I mentioned in my last blog entry, Lexus was the only dealer to honor its commitment to give me pricing via e-mail. A local Audi dealer sent four follow-up "we need to talk" e-mails and the salesman even called me by getting my number through directory assistance. It irritated me so much, I refused to even go in and look at the car. I never did hear from anyone at Infiniti about the G35 that caught my eye. And I ruled out the BMW after talking with a tow truck driver and a couple of mechanics, who opined that it was a beauty, but very high maintenance. Don Bonura at Hennessey sent me the information I requested by e-mail, then followed up with a nice e-mail letting me know he was there to help. No pushing. No "just come by for a drive," no gimmicks. Now there's a confident salesman! Exactly the kind I was looking for. When I did go by Hennesey, the first thing I noticed was a sign in the lobby. It read, "Compromise is an acquired skill. Acquire it elsewhere." At first this struck me as an odd message, even potentially off-putting. But after talking with Don and learning what options were available on the cars, it began to sink in what the sign really meant. Essentially, Lexus was sending a message that people don't drive their cars because they can't get what they really want. They drive a Lexus because it's their car of choice. I quickly discovered that the car I wanted was a little pricer than I intended to pay once I added the options I was interested in. I told Don it was just too rich for my taste right now. He didn't push. Instead, he told me he was ready to work with me when I was ready. After I went home and got to thinking about the banner I had seen in the lobby, I decided I wouldn't compromise. I'd buy the car with the package I wanted, period. "Settling" really wasn't an option. After two more visits, we struck a deal. At this point, I had taken a good bit of Don's time, yet he still gave me the Internet pricing as if I had bought the car sight unseen. And then came the kicker: they didn't have the color I wanted (Tungsten Pearl - an expensive name for Silver), but they found my car in Mississippi and paid to have it brought to me at no additional cost to me. Moreover, when I mentioned I'd be traveling in the next week, Hennesey pulled out all the stops to get the car to me the day before I was leaving town on a road trip. It was one of the most fun, memorable road trips I've ever taken. With each mile, I loved the car even more. I've purchased a dozen cars in my life and I've never gotten better service than I got at Hennessy. No wonder my friend, David Dempsey, has bought seven Lexuses (Lexi?) from Hennessey. What we have here is great Word-of-Mouth marketing combined with excellent service from a single salesman that resulted in a high-dollar purchase by someone who will now keep the good word going, as I'm doing here. The lesson here is simply this: there are a lot of shoppers like me. We know what we want, we know what we're willing to pay and we expect to be treated with courtesy and respect. That's not a lot to ask for, but apparently it's not as common as I'd like. What are you doing to ensure your clients are having a good experience every time they do business with you? If you're Don Bonura at Hennessy, you just follow the customer's lead.
Are you relevant? Here's how to know: if you're absolutely certain what you offer really matters and you've won the mindshare and heartshare of your clients and potential clients, you "get" the SPUD Factor. SPUD stands for Strategic, Proactive, Universal, and Dynamic. If you aren't sure how relevant you are, or you fear becoming a SPUD Dud, this blog's for you. Find out what it takes to remain relevant in the face of change. Learn from good - and bad - examples how relevancy drives longevity.