Sales Fails: "Two customers got into an all out fistfight at my car dealership"

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My best sales story will never be topped, not for as long as I live. I sell cars in Texas. I’ve been at it for years and have seen everything there is to see. About ten years ago, I was working for a big dealer group as a Sales Manager. It was the middle of the summer and during a weekday, so we were pretty slow.

One of my sales guys got an up (new customer) who was wandering the lot. He looked like a normal working-class dude. Nothing unusual. He was checking out one of our used trucks and my sales guy brought him into the showroom to run credit and talk numbers. His credit ended up being pretty spotty, but my rep told him if he could find a cosigner, we could get her done.

The guy leaves and comes back a few hours later with a guy he says is his cousin. This guy is a bit older than the prospect, but kind of has the same hardboiled been-working-outside-all-summer look to him. They go to the desk and start running the numbers, everything is copacetic. 

All of a sudden, I hear shouting. When I look over, the two customers are literally in a fistfight, swinging at each other and trying to take each other’s heads off. They’re tussling around, banging into desks and trying to take the other one down. We had a lot of big guys at the dealership and a few of them broke up the fight and we made the customers leave (separately so they wouldn’t kill each other out on the lot).

I asked my sales guy what happened, and he said he had no clue why they actually started fighting, but that the first guy that came in had referred to his own wife with a curse word in front of the other guy. Maybe the other guy was an in-law, but we never got to find out. I’m at a different dealership now but everytime I see somebody I used to work with, we almost always talk about the Dealership Battle Royale.  

Anonymous      Location withheld 

Your column reminds me of something that happened this past year. I’m in SaaS sales and have been for a long time, so I kind of know the ropes. My company also uses call recording, so I can go back and see everything that was said in any conversation.

So what happened was I was talking to this prospect who was a manager at his company and was evaluating our tech. We went over everything and got to pricing, where I gave him options for a monthly and annual plan. Remember, this was all being recorded so I know what I said.

After the call, I sent him a follow up email with all the pricing options which we’d discussed. The conversation had gone well and I was pretty sure he was going to move forward. 

He called me back the next day and said he wanted to pull the trigger, but said the pricing I had sent in my email was higher than what I’d quoted him over the phone by about 15%. I politely disagreed with him and said this was standard pricing, but he kept pushing back, so finally I went and looked at the call transcript and I absolutely had told him the correct price. 

I decided it was a bad idea to keep arguing, so I told him I’d get back to him and went to discuss things with my manager. He thought the guy was a dope but told me to go ahead and give him the 15% off price so we could get the deal over the finish line. When I called the guy back and told him we’d honor the price (which he had literally made up in his head), he said he didn’t like the way we did business and said he would go to our competitor instead. Ahhh, sales. 

Anonymous      Location withheld 

I sell luxury vacation tours, mostly internationally but also to some of the destinations in the U.S. West (including some National Parks). It’s a good job — leads are mostly all inbound and essentially all I have to do is help with crafting plans and itineraries. A few months ago I was selling this guy who wanted to tour Yosemite with his family. I told him about our packages, but he kept asking me about the wildlife. He said his family was “worried about the bears.” I let him know there would of course be bears but the guides know how to avoid them. He seemed to accept that, we wrapped up the call and he said he was going to talk it over with his wife.


For the next two weeks this guy sent me an email almost every other day with the subject line “bears” that had an article or a video he saw on Facebook of a bear sighting at Yosemite or about somebody who got killed by a bear (this was almost always in Alaska and it rarely ever happens). I really didn’t know how to respond to those emails so I tried calling him directly but couldn’t get him on the phone. He eventually answered one of my calls but seemed very anxious and flustered and said he didn’t want to go anymore. I offered him some other tours we had with less wildlife, but he wouldn’t hear it. He hung up and I never heard from him again.


Anonymous      Location withheld

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