It can be a lot of fun pondering the purchase of your next vehicle.

You research the latest models.

Consider the coolest gadgets, the latest technology.

You look at all the reviews, watch the videos online.

Ask friends and family what they like and don’t.

You visualize, you fantasize.

You live in the surreal serenity of your dream car.

And finally, one day, the vision is crystal clear.

You know exactly what you want.

And in that moment, like a bell ring at a prizefight, reality intrudes.

Wake up Dreamer Boy, you have to actually buy this thing.

You must step into the ring and face that rather large scary beast fighting out of the red corner….THE DEALERSHIP.

(If you only buy your cars online, good for you, I don’t believe half your stories and you can stop reading now.  But for those of you who know you can do just as well, if not better, by sitting down with your research and forging out a win-win, this post is for you)

The Un-Dealership

Hate buying a car? Find the whole process intimidating and unpleasant?

Then you have not been to Tustin Mazda.

Tustin Mazda is one of two dealerships (the other being Huntington Beach Mazda) owned by John Patterson, who has an intuitive and modern approach to customer service and marketing.  The guy just flat out gets it.

He has a great team, and without slighting anyone I’ll only mention the folks I dealt with (Jim Feinstein, who heads up Internet Sales and Lynda Nelson, Director of Customer Affairs).  They are both knowledgeable, helpful and passionate about what they do.

So it all starts there. It all starts with great people.

It doesn’t matter for a single second what you have on the lot or how many great deals you’re offering, if you employ buckets of sleazballs, we’re all getting slimed.

I didn’t get slimed.

I walked out of there with fairy dust in my shoes.


Because I never had to go through the tired old process of endless back and forth negotiations.  I didn’t get good the Good Cop Bad Cop routine, I didn’t get the three hour slow burn.  I didn’t have to stare at a guy wearing some ridiculous tie, a gold bracelet and a picture of his ex-wife and kids on the desk.

This was different.

Jim and I talked.  I was very clear in what I wanted.  He found it in no time.  Did we then negotiate?  Of course, but in the end we both came away with our own desired outcome.  A good negotiation happens when both sides understand and respect the other’s position and it ends with both getting their needs met.  It’s easier said than done and the bottom line was that Jim EXECUTED.

Just Do It

In the end, the simple things prevail.

Answering the phone.

Returning a call.

Offering a drink.

Getting the answer.

The thing about my experience with these guys is that is was so straightforward.  I was not treated like an “up”.  I was treated like someone they valued and wanted to see again.

You can’t teach this stuff to people who don’t get it. You can’t market it to people who don’t value it. You just have to be smart enough to build a great team that understands your vision of how a modern car dealership should be run and let them run it.

John Patterson and his team at OC Mazda know exactly how to do business with customers armed to the teeth with the latest information, reviews and ratings on their vehicles.

They are going to attract a lot of young car buyers wary of the old dealership ways.

In part because of things like this and this.

And also because of something that’s been a hallmark of every successful business since time immemorium.

They love the business they’re in and they want to be the best at it.

That’s passion.

That’s your best marketing.

And that’s tough to beat.