USAA sending your sold customers to other dealers through Zag?

Jennifer Greenberg
So, today one of my sales reps had his day ruined with this email: "Good morning, So glad you are back on the grid. I have a concern and that is that when I spoke with USAA, they told me about a service they offer which is to look for the best price for a car. I used it and was given a price of $27,025 for the car we are purchasing, although without the leather seats. We are blaming ourselves for not shopping around, but we are hopeful that you can give us some leeway on the price you quoted. " I have attached an image of what USAA came up with. We had sold this customer an in-transit unit that has just arrived and were getting in touch after a power outage (hence the "back on the grid" comment) to schedule a delivery. They, in turn, called their insurance company to switch insurance. This insurance agent apparently thought this was an opportune time to refer the customer to the USAA Zag affiliated car-buying program. The result? We now have an unhappy customer who no longer trusts us and are destined to either lose a car deal on a car we've installed something like $2000 in options on or have a horrible survey from our manufacturer. Thanks USAA!!! Furthermore, this is the third time this has happened in something like the last 60 days.
Stan Sher
Anything with ZAG is a bad idea...
Jared Hamilton
Seriously, what a crappy situation for your store to be put into. Have you spoken to USAA or Zag to get their response? What do they say?
Joshua Michael Friedman
Jennifer, can you share all the details? Your vehicle's list price, discount price, the customer's competing USAA quoted vehicle and its list price, discount price, etc. How far apart are you? What steps are you planning to take to save the deal? As you said, this is not the first time you have encountered this, nor will it be your last. That was September 1. It's now September 3. And now that you are over the initial shock, what was your reaction? How was it received by the customer? Did you step in, or did you leave it up to your sales person to handle this?
Chris Costner
I am part of a dealer group that has participated in the ZAG program and also not participated. At this point, I am a participating group and the amount of leads is minimal in the big scheme of things. Thinking back when my organization wasn't part of the program our plan of attack if asked if we could honor the pricing, we of course said yes and did. The bottom line it is a car deal, not much gross from the front but it does give your aftermarket department (if applicable) and finance department a chance to take their shot and turn a short deal into something worth talking about. Also, you are getting a deal and not having to pay the fee to ZAG. Look at it as positive. These deals can be made and my thought every single time is take the deal. Why wouldn't you? Keep in mind, a chance to hold back on the trade if there is one. Making this deal will also give you another preowned vehicle to sell. We also cannot forget the parts and service business this client will bring to your dealership during their ownership. The situation will arise again in the future. More than likely your prospective client will bring up that they found a great deal through a ZAG participating company and will ask if you can honor it. I would answer YES every single time without hesitation, set the appointment, sell the vehicle and keep the positive momentum going.
Jennifer Greenberg
Oh Stan, that's a story for another day. I'm trying to focus on this USAA part ;-)

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