Dealer vs. Private Sale


A dealer is willing to purchase most recreational vehicles quickly, and do all the preparation necessary to sell it. Lets take a look at what you would expect if you were buying an RV from a dealer.

From the back office, our contact in the RV industry tells us a few stories from his RV dealership below that are very common in the RV industry. They had 2 sets of books. Salespeople were told to get the prospective buyer off the lot and into the sales manager's office using whatever 'phrase' would work. A buyer is looking at a $60,000 recreational vehicle. There's no way he'll pay $60,000. The salesman says "What would you say if I could get it for you for $40,000? I know we're trying to clear some inventory and I heard the sales manager say he's willing to discount models to make room for new ones. What have you got to lose? You only want to spend $40,000 - if he doesn't come down to your price, you walk!" The sales manager leads the salesman in with a pre-arranged skit. "So Tom - what can we help these folks with?", he asks. "Well Mr. Manager, the customer only wants to spend $40,000. He wants the Winnebago but not for $60,000. I heard you say the other day that you'd like to move some of the models." An amused chuckle gurgles up from the sales manager's throat. "Oh, dear. You know Tom, in a few years you're going to make a good salesman but you should know better by now. You know we can't discount a vehicle like that by one third. We'd be out of business in a month!" (This 'routine' of course, has been previously worked out) "You know," grins the sales manager toward the customer, "We only keep Tom around because he's nice guy." The buyer nods, feeling a little sorry for the salesman who is looking sheepish. "Well, I figured a discount of $20,000 would be too much," says the prospective buyer. The sales manager says, "To tell you the truth Jim, (he's learned the buyer's first name by now) I'm not sure how much we've got in that RV."

"So, let me look it up for you." He reaches behind him for the sales ledger and quickly locates the Winnebago page. "Uhuh, here it is. Let me see. We bought this in on a trade for $48,000 - oh, yeah. Now I remember this one. We took it in on a trade for a new Beaver and discounted the Beaver, hoping to make it up on the Winnebago." He shakes his head and continues, "Man plans and God laughs, right? Well, we can't win 'em all!" Leaning across the table and smiling like the wonderful, honest, genuine fellow he is, he offers the buyer a privileged look at the "company books". "Obviously, we don't let everyone look at our books but you can see for yourself in black and white." The buyer studies the ledger. Everything Mr. Manager said is true. The salespeople are told in sales meetings to keep quiet after being verbally 'chastised' and let the sales manager weave his web.

As the buyer studies the figures, Mr. Manager says "However, Tom was right about one thing. I sure would like to move some inventory to make room for other models." He rechecks the ledger and tries to find a way of helping these good folks, "You're looking to pay $40,000 - I've bought this in at $48,000. Look, I'm going out on a limb here but if I can swing this with my boss for $50,000 - how does that sound? It's a little more than you wanted to pay but it'll help me out and save you a chunk of money. After all, what would you rather have? Something you love for a little extra or something you might be unhappy with? Y'know, that's a LOT of coach for $50,000." Mr. Manager goes to see the boss. A few minutes later he returns with him. Smiling, the boss says to the buyer, "I don't know what you said to Mr. Manager, but you owe him a nice dinner!" Now having committed the buyer to the sale (how can he say 'no deal' now that Mr. Manager has gone to bat for him?) the boss makes a quick exit, saying to the salesman "Tom, I want to talk to you before you put me into bankruptcy." He takes Tom's arm and drags him outside. Of course, once outside Tom gets the fist in the air "Boy did we shaft them!" salute.

Summary Of This story: "There were TWO sets of books. The real book showed that the dealer bought the Winnebago for $25,000. This sale netted us $23,000. My commission was $1,000. $22,000 for the dealer."