Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Do You Have Pearls for Reina Cornejo’s New RV Career?

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May 20, 2011

 “Hi 🙂 I’m new to the RV Industry, and am a Sales Rep at Giant RV in Montclair, CA.
I believe in being honest, and fitting the needs of my Customers. Any feedback for a newbie?”

Reina sent this to me in response to an earlier blog about good, and not so good, RV sales reps. I’m thinking the mere fact that Reina is asking for feedback bodes extremely well for her future in sales. Do you agree? Here’s my reply to Reina, but I’m more interested in what you Woodall’s readers might add to help Reina.

 Dear Reina, That you care about honesty and how you can benefit your customers virtually guarantees your success in sales, RV  or otherwise. I’m honored you would ask for my thoughts.  Just the past few months, my husband and I bought a nice travel trailer, traded it in, and bought a Winnebago “View”. The “View” is the right RV for us.

Based on our many recent experiences and comments from Woodall’s readers, I’ve learned great RV reps do the following:

1.      Great RV reps respond with positive energy when they hear, “We’re just looking.” It’s incredibly encouraging to hear an RV rep respond with, “That’s great! I’m glad you came to see what we have. Welcome!”  Note: We actually heard exactly that.  We also actually heard exactly this, right in our hometown RV dealership, “Well, I can’t show you everything on the lot if you’re just looking. Go ahead and walk around and if you see something you’re serious about, ask for me. I’ll be in the office.” If only the owner knew.

2.      Great RV reps listen carefully when you or your spouse speak, instead of mentally planning their next pitch. A particularly good rep we talked with took notes as we spoke, and later said, “Well, this coach could work for you, but you said high gas mileage is your third biggest concern. You’re just not going to get it in this coach.” We loved that. The rep had listened and factored in our needs, not just his need to make a deal.

3.      Great RV reps don’t consider arrogance an optional sales tool. True story:  We had a marginal experience with Rep A,  from whom we bought our travel trailer. Months later, realizing we had the wrong RV for us, I returned alone to the same lot to see an advertised coach (hubby couldn’t make it that day) that we thought could be “the one.” We had already decided not to do business with Rep A.   Rep B approached me, leaking an oily smile, and walked me across the lot toward the coach in question.

He stopped abruptly, got in my face, and said, “Wait—didn’t you work with Rep A on a travel trailer?”

I said, “Yes, but this time we thought we’d work with a different salesman.”

He replied, and I kid you not ,” Well, we don’t do that here. I don’t know what you think you’re trying to do. You already have a salesman. You should have asked for Rep A instead of making me come all the way out here. Here’s the key to that coach. It’s over there in that last row.” And he stormed off. This is a verbatim exchange.

 I called out to his retreating back, “I didn’t realize we had no say regarding who we work with and I don’t know your rules. Sorry about that.”(Self-control is a benefit of growing older.)

 My husband desperately wished he had been there. We’ll never return to that dealership. Instead, we bought our lovely Winnebago View at La Mesa RV in Mesa, Arizona, where they treated us extremely well in all ways. We’ll refer others and  certainly return to La Mesa RV if we upgrade. We’re looking forward to working with Steve Shapiro again, and Larry in financing was awesome.

 Reina, perhaps being a great RV rep comes down to two things: integrity and a personal view centered on the customer, rather than self. An honest desire to place the right RV with the right people will result in the sales you need, as well as return business and referrals. You’re on your way, and the RV buyers near Montclair, California are fortunate. 

Best regards,

 Patti Faustini

So, Woodall’s readers, what can you add to help Reina stay on the right track in her young career? 

Happy tales,


Leave a Reply


  1. Hello Gail, and it’s great hearing from you. Isn’t is amazing how a sales rep can “…not seem to interested in finding what you were looking for? ” I guess he was a multi-millionaire? And don’t reps like that realize how people talk? And how important referrals are? Thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts, Gail. I hope sales reps read your comments.

    Happy tales,


  2. Gail Duykers

    I totally agree with Janet. My husband and I bought our first RV, a brand new 31′ Tioga Ranger at a brand new Dealership close to where we live. We absolutely loved it……except that the passenger seat area was way too small for my rather large husband. We used to drive tractor/trailer together and were used to having lots of room in the driving area. Since I now do all the driving in our family, after our first long trip, FL to NH, we started looking for a Class A coach.

    The salesman that sold us the Tioga had only been at the dealership’s location for the grand opening and the other salesmen didn’t seem to want to be bothered to work with us. We were looking to trade in the brand new Class C for a used Class A and not have to put out any major cash to close the deal. I guess the other salesmen didn’t figure they would make enough commission on the deal, didn’t matter that he would have made a deal for the Dealership.

    Needless to say, we found just what we were looking for at another dealership and a great salesman who was really interested in finding us what we were looking for. We traded the Tioga for a 35′ Fleetwood Bounder. The only drawback here was that this dealership is about 200 miles from our house. We did take the coach back once to have work done on it that had been covered in the deal. For any other work, we figured we would take it to the dealership close to home since they were a Fleetwood dealer. But, alas, it turns out that they only want to work on units that they sell. If we brought ours in for any repairs, it would be pushed to the back of the line anytime one of the ones they sold came in. Guess what……we no longer do any type of business with this dealership, no parts, no repairs and will definitely look elsewhere if we are ever thinking of trading up again! And, I will never recommend this dealership to any of my friends or acquaintances.

    Reina should do well. She seems like she really cares. Too bad she isn’t in South Florida.

  3. Patti Faustini

    Hi Janet and it’s great hearing from you. You’ve made some terrific points and i’m sure we all have gotten a lot from what you’ve written. You make me think differently about bigger rvs!

    Happy tales,


  4. Janet

    I’m just a little behind on reading some of my Woodall’s emails but this one speaks to me… I love your #2 idea of listening. We bought our first used trailer and upon deciding we wanted something bigger we went to a dealership where our former finnce guy now worked. The oldealership had closed. We told him we need more horizontal space so eveything didn’t have to sit on the couch and we found the kitchen area in the old one too small with the two of us and the the 4 legs of the dog. We looked at several models and as we were “liking” one he reminded us of our small kitchen comment and he pointed out that there would be a traffic jam in the hallway between the bedroom and the kitchen in the new one. He was absolutely correct! He’d listened and reminded us of the reason we were there. To find the right unit that fixed our issues, didn’t just give us the same ones in a different place.

    The other BIG thing that new buyers need to have suggested to them is the fact that like you, we too upgraded quickly, actually within a year of purchase. When we were orignally looking I was adament that we did not need slides, something new, anything bigger etc etc etc. And while we loved our gently used trailer we really could use something bigger.
    We bought the new one but the trade in price was so low that we had a huge balance left on our loan which had to be rolled into the new mortgage, eating up the close out savings on last years model.
    I ALWAYS suggest that people look at something bigger than they think they want/need to save the hassle AND the money lost. I have even been known to tell strangers in the lot at our dealership!

    Friends of ours called asking us about trailers, dealers, sales reps etc. We suggested our new dealership and rep and told them the same thing… look bigger! They didn’t listen and bought a simple pop-up camper. Before the first payment was made (after the first trip) they upgraded to a larger pop-out with 3 queen beds and a full shower.
    The other thing to consider is if people really are just looking, suggest they rent some camper for some weekend trips (especially if your dealership rents also) and let them try a few different types of units to help them figure out what would best suit their needs. They will appreciate you giving them options and will show that you have their best interest in mind. They may not rent but I would almost bet they ‘ll buy from you!
    Thanks for listening!