Dishonesty Will Cost You Big Time

    April 16, 2002

I had a financial planner call on me several years ago. His first comment as he walked into my office was, “I’m not here to sell you anything.”
I remember thinking to myself at the time, “What a refreshing approach.”

The gentleman went on to say that what he really wanted to do was to get a feel for some of my personal financial goals. Then at our next meeting, he would present me with some options regarding things I could do to make sure I achieved those financial goals.

When this person returned for our second meeting, we spent a great deal of time getting to know each other better. As it turned out, we had some mutual friends and some common interests. I was starting to really like this person. He then showed me the results of his analysis of my financial goals, which among other things revealed a gaping hole in my financial provisions for my family if I were to die suddenly. He pointed out that the situation could be remedied, at least temporarily, with a $100,000 term insurance policy. He then went on to tell me about a number of other products that were of interest to me.

Well, I felt so good about this person and what he was telling me that I suggested we meet again the following week when my partner was coming to town, because I knew my partner would be every bit as interested as me. Notice here who is asking for the appointment-not the salesperson, but an excited prospective buyer. This man wasn’t trying to sell me; he was simply letting me buy.

At this point, I was happily saying to myself, “I have finally met a salesperson I can trust; a salesperson who really has my best interests at heart.” Then, as this person was packing up his briefcase, he said to me, “By the way, I’ve already got the paperwork filled out for this $100,000 term insurance policy. Why don’t you just sign it, and we’ll get the ball rolling.”

When I heard that statement I was stunned. This person had spent the better part of two rather lengthy meetings doing a very good job of convincing me that I could trust him and with one sentence, he told me he was more interested in my money than he was in me. The bottom line was, I no longer felt I could trust him. After he left, I called his office and canceled our next appointment and I never saw this person again. Had he stayed focused on our relationship and not tried to close me before I was ready, both my partner and I would have spent a fair amount of money with him.

Several years ago on Memorial Day weekend, my family and I went to a local dealership to look at new cars. This started out as one of the most pleasant buying experiences that has ever happened to us. Instead of trying to sell us a car, the sales person actually let us buy one! He patiently showed us around and courteously answered our questions until we finally came across a car that everyone liked.

At this point, the whole family said, “We’ll take it!” The salesperson was appreciative and informed us that his role in the sales transaction ended at this point and that now he would turn us over to the finance person who would get our loan approved.

After forty-five minutes of waiting, the finance person informed us that our loan was approved at an interest rate of 15.11 percent. I said, “Isn’t that interest rate a little high. His response was, “Oh no, that’s what banks are getting these days for new car loans.”

I then looked him in the eye and said, “You wouldn’t lie to me, would you?”

He said, “No way!”

I then explained to him that I was a consultant to one of the larger banks in town and that I had a meeting scheduled on the next business day with one of its vice-presidents. I asked this finance person to hold our loan application until I had a chance to find out for myself if the 15.11 percent he was trying to charge me was legitimate.

When I met with the bank vice-president and found out that 11.9 percent financing was definitely available for new car loans. With this information, I went back to the car dealer to have a discussion with the finance person. As I walked into his office, I waved the bank vice-president’s business card and informed him that 11.9 percent financing was available. At this point, he reluctantly inserted a new contract form into his computerized typewriter and said, “Well, if you want 11.9, you’ve got 11.9.”

Doing a little legwork saved me some money, but the very idea that this dealership had tried to take advantage of me in the first place left a bad taste in my mouth. During the next two years, nine of my friends bought cars similar to mine. Each of them asked me before they went looking, where I bought my car and what kind of experience I had. And what do you suppose I told these people with a little evangelistic zeal thrown in for good measure? I told them to avoid this dealership like the plague. Had this dealership treated me with fairness and dignity instead of trying to con me, it could have chalked up nine additional sales. The profit on these nine additional sales would have been far more than the dealership would have made had it succeeded in conning me.

Ross R. Reck, Ph.D.
Author of The X-Factor: Getting
Extraordinary Results From Ordinary People