"Mark is the man with a plan!!!"
We had searched a couple of dealerships for the Mazda we wanted. Some of them said "we can order it to your specifications" others said "we have it at another dealership/lot - we can trade and have it here in 2 days..." But in the moment, when you have that "I am going to get a new car excitement" I am a touch it, feel it, see it, type of guy. So after 30 minutes of a calling around one summer Saturday afternoon, Mark at North End Mazda told me they have the exact make, model, and color on their lot and that I could come see him later in the afternoon because he was going to be meeting with other buyers earlier in the day. I liked that. No pressure and honest about what is going on in the moment. Back story - we had already done the test drive at previous dealer so we were basically sold on the car but we felt some type of way about jumping to another dealer because the initial person we spoke with at another dealer was very warm, friendly, outgoing and honest. We felt like we "cheating" on him with Mark. But Mark was the type of dealer that could steal you away from a competitor. He was real. Upfront. Honest. He told it like it was and that made us feel like were going to know the ins/outs of our first car buying experience. This was a big step for my wife and I. Mark was sure to warn us about the damage that multiple credit checks could have on on our overall score, how other dealers use certain finance games & tactics to undercut competitors when you go to "shop your quote" - the advantage vs. disadvantages of buying and leasing, and best of all, he used real life experiences of previous clients/buyers to illuminate possible outcomes from the various ways North End could or would finance us. We got the first time buyer excitement after two hours of talking numbers. I liked that Mark took a piece of copy paper and drew out the specifics using middle school-ish type math to assist in explaining what exactly we are getting into. That was the best part. No jargon. No BS. Just 3 people (Mark, my wife and I) asking and answering questions, crunching basic/understandable numbers, and coming to the conclusion that we could indeed finance a car - purchase or lease! We didn't have bad credit. We just never took the time to delve into the semantics of credit because we always assumed we were "screwed" due to student loans. Mark was able to get his Finance Office to get us into a higher tier which we were on the cusp of - but not quite there. Did I feel this was some sort of "look what I am doing for you tactic?" Yes I did. However, I understood exactly what he was saying and tactic or not - he got it done, so I can't complain on that front. That piece of copy paper with T diagrams and numbers scratched on it was soon put into a more professional looking quote, but I still kept the scratch paper because to me, everything else is just words. The real deal was on that piece of paper he pulled from his printer. That was the moment everything got real. Those were the numbers I wanted to hold Mark and North End Mazda to. With that being said, Mark held our proverbial hand throughout the entire process. He had an immediate aura of trust and likability that really assisted with swaying my interest towards moving the deal along. I come from a service related industry background so I am usually very weary of those who come off as if they are the "only ones who can help you and that everyone else will do you wrong." Mark did not have a bad word to say about other Mazda dealerships. He expected we would shop our quote. He even encouraged it and gave us 3 different dealers within our zip code range - but with those referrals he also told us the specific "game" each dealer would try to play, what they would say, and how they would say it. He even admitted to the fact that one particular dealer would more than likely come in cheaper just to "steal" the business away - but that their final deal tactics would not meet our expectations. I thought to myself, why on earth would any salesman ever encourage a potential buyer to check a competitor out with lower prices? So I did my due diligence and sure enough everything Mark said, word for word, came to fruition. During the 2 day deal hold at North End Mazda I did my call around and found nothing but pushy dealers who seemed to only care about who I was currently dealing with. Numerous times I would tell the person "I wish to keep my deal hold confidential" and 2 out of 3 them said "well I can just look it up anyways - when are you coming in?" I thought to myself "I will be there a quarter after NEVER!" as I thanked them for their time and proceeded on to the next call. Funny thing was, I thought back to when I first called Mark and told him I was already dealing with someone but just wanted to see the actual car we wanted up close and personal he never said a single word about "who is it? how much? come now!" All he said was "I can show you that car in a few hours..." In that moment, it made me realize we were dealing with someone who simply wanted to ensure that we got what we wanted. Even in a last ditch effort where I tried to "wheel and deal" Mark seemingly just put up with it. I knew the deal was already locked in and since we decided to lease that there really was no more wiggle room - but still I wanted to play hardball. Mark took my pitch and knocked it out of the park. He made it happen. I later found out that I was known as "the guy who wanted last minute all weather floor mats" around the dealership. Haha. I didn't care. Mark still made the valiant effort to ensure that I/we felt good about our deal all the way up to the pen & contract. This review is about Mark and his customer service so I will not delve into the issues we had with the final signing and the manager who does not really have any bedside manners for first time buyers. I also do not want hurt my relationship with North End Mazda because at the end of the day - we are VERY happy with Mark and our vehicle. It is also probable that I was probably somewhat annoying with my last minute "get me mats or I walk" tactic, so who knows - but the only advice I could have is to allow the salesman who bred and built the initial relationship to be apart of the final signing. He/she spends all that time cultivating the trust that gave the potential buyer enough gumption to actually get to the last step before driving off the lot and then you suddenly pass them off to someone else for the most intimate & intimidating part of the deal? In that moment, 2 days later when we came into sign and found out Mark would not be involved with that process what so ever I felt like I was Rose on the Titantic, floating on the big door in the middle of Atlantic holding on to Jack's (Mark) hand. He had gotten us this far and now he floating away! An overzealous imaginative comparison, I know, but having the "Mark the man with the plan" in on the final step should be the standard. Just my two cents. But it is not my industry so who knows why that is not the norm. Fast forward - to the actual signing, we found an error on the final contract. Was it on purpose? Was it a last minute trick? I don't think so. But I caught it nonetheless. However, in that moment, the financier stepped out to investigate the error, our insecurity began to rise very quickly. I told my wife - "we will walk if there is another mistake." Again, I feel like Mark, in that moment, would have been able to better explain the who, what, where and why when my feelings about the final signing experience began to wane. That contract error and the general attitude of the person initiating the final step before drive off is the only thing that made our total experience with North End Mazda a short step under flawless. Moving forward - once the keys were in our hand - WOW! Mark gave a near two hour tutorial of the vehicle where he literally rang every bell & whistle right in front of us. He did so in a pace and manner so that we would fully understand exactly how to re-ring them if we wanted to at a later date. I am not kidding - each button, subject, and tab on the screen was selected and explained. I am sure, as a buyer, you have the option to skip the vehicle tutorial - but we went with it and we are very happy we did. What is the point of having something nice if you do not know exactly what it is capable of? Long story short, Mark is the man with a plan! I say "plan" because we rolled into the North End Mazda around 2pm on a rainy Saturday and by 5pm he had the entire car buying experience mapped out for us. We also had his personal cell during the deal hold in case we had any additional questions. We will come see Mark once this lease up - maybe even sooner! I highly recommend you go see what plan Mark will draw up for you!!! You will drive away feeling confident, trusting, and fulfilled with your car buying experience!