Editor’s note: Terri Grauer is a consultant and writer specializing in the application of technology to business challenges. Sanity Check is a regular feature in LTW.
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Normally I write about ‘high-tech’ business topics, but this week I’d like to tell you about a new business in the Charlotte area, that does business the old fashioned way, honestly and respectfully.

This is particularly noteworthy since it is a car dealership! They have a website and you can search their inventory online, so I guess that classifies them as ‘technologically advanced’.

They are 40 miles south of Uptown Charlotte, down I-77, so that’s why I say they are in the “Charlotte area” (it’s a fast 25 minutes drive during non-rush hour). I decided to take the drive to Nourse Interstate Automall (I-177 South, Exit 65) (www.nourseinterstateautomall.com ) because I had seen their television ads stating they had ‘no commissioned sales people’ and you’d only deal with the managers directly.

After my last car buying experience went so well with www.womensautomotivesolutions.com , I thought I’d try this on my own, heck I could always go back and get help if I thought I was falling on my face.

No ‘slick’ sales

When I arrived on the lot, I was greeted by a lovely young lady who pointed me in the right direction for the type of vehicle I was looking for (they carry Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Chevy, Pontiac, Buick and a complete pre-owned and Used selection) a small utility vehicle. I parked my car and the General Manager (the guy on the commercials) came out and met me and asked me who I’d like to have assist me, I said I’d like a woman, if possible.

A minute later I met my new best friend, Faith Meadows. I say my new best friend because it seems like I’ve known her my whole life, not like she’s some ‘slick’ sales person who is going to ‘knock me over the head and steal my wallet’.

Faith and I talk for a few minutes and we take a Jeep Liberty for a test drive. I don’t like it. It rides too rough, like a Jeep (image that). She recommends another SUV, a Chevy I believe, but we never make it to that vehicle. Instead I see the car I like and I make the big buyers mistake of saying, “Hey, what’s that one, I really like it!” (I think I made every mistake in the book when buying this car from Nourse — but they still didn’t hold it against me.)

I take the “Pontiac Vibe” for a test drive, and the whole time I am ‘ooooohing and ahhhhhing’ and Faith is just smiling like a cat that just had a big fat bird for lunch. But I can’t help it. I like the car and I know this is the car I want (believe it or not I am a very good poker player, I am just not a good car buyer.) I figure I’m not in too much trouble because I don’t my checkbook and they aren’t going to get the financing I want and need in order to make the deal happen. Nor are they going to give me the price I want for my car. So, I still have my ‘get out of the dealership free’ card tucked in my pocket and I can always call my friend to come back and make the deal happen for me. No sweat.

One-hour process

So inside the showroom Faith and I sit down at her desk and she shows me the hourglass on her desk. She tells me that they have a ‘one hour process’ because no one likes to be stuck at the dealership all day’. I agree.

She flips it over and then asks me what I want for my car, I tell her the truth. Faith asks me about the financing I want/need and I tell her the truth again. Faith asks me for the keys to my car, so someone can take a look at it and asks me if she can run a ‘credit report’. I agree to both.

She leaves for five minutes and comes back with a cup of coffee for me. We chat for about fifteen minutes and then she steps away for another five minutes. When she comes back she has a written offer for my car, a financing agreement for the Pontiac Vibe, with the financing I asked for (actually better terms) and she wanted to know if I wanted to actually do the deal that day.

I asked for a few minutes to think about it, I walked outside and called my friend (from the other company that does this all the time) and told her all the details. My friend, Michelle, said she was very proud of me and that she will be going to Nourse for her Chrysler deals from now on.

I went back inside and signed the papers. I now drive a 2005 Pontiac Vibe and I highly recommend a short twenty-five minute drive south to Nourse-Interstate Automall if you’re in the Charlotte area and you’re on the hunt for a new American motor or a pre-owned/used vehicle.

Ask for Faith, tell her that her ‘new best friend’ sent you down there to see her. (Of course don’t forget to shop their inventory on-line before you go.)
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Terri Grauer is a consultant and writer specializing in the application of technology to business challenges. She can be reached via email at terrigrauer@hotmail.com