“You got a fast car. . .Maybe we can make a deal. . . “ 

On Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m., I was pulling out jumper cables, trash, spare change, and my daughters’ car seats from my old SUV and hastily stuffing everything into my new metallic white 2024 Ford Explorer XLT with tan interior as a guy known only as “The “Delivery Guy” described all the features of my new car to me. 

Many people report that they despise the car-buying process. That could have been me this time except for one thing: For the month of February, the whole Dorrier Underwood team had taken on the practice of intentional listening–listening to hear it all, listening to re-create another. 

Buying a car in this market with these rates at the end of a long day and a long drive to the dealership that suddenly announced they had the car we wanted seemed like a bad idea. By the time I reached the Ford dealership the next county over in Texas, I was hungry and exhausted.  

While I negotiated and played the waiting game, Carlos, who had showed me the car a few weeks back, mentioned that I had been his first “up” at the dealership. (An “up” is a customer who walks onto the car lot.) He was excited to sell me a car. And then I was excited for him. I felt honored and told him that. 

We hung around outside and chatted, and I listened. He shared about his kids, his wife, and his retirement plan (moving to El Salvador at 55 when his youngest is 18). He talked about his dad, an early franchisee of a prominent fast food chain and ridiculously wealthy. He talked about his mom too and shared a Spotify artist with me. 

And then he volunteered why he left his last job and told me about the current issues he was having with his boss, the one I was actually negotiating with.  He let me know that whatever his boss says, I don’t have to buy the Lo-Jack, and that’ll take $1,000 off. He coached me on a few other points as well. 

Eventually I made it to the finance room, where they hard-sell you on extended warranty and gap insurance. Ali, the finance manager, saw that I worked at University of Texas at Dallas and said he graduated from there. 

I asked about his degree (finance) and listened as he told me how, at 26, he sees that working 100 hours a week for six figures just isn’t worth it. Over the course of a conversation, we settled on his exploring fin-tech and going for his masters in the tech space. 

He talked to me about his mom who lives in Morocco and his younger brother in Canada who is enrolled at McGill University. I could go on about Ali, but long story short, he lowered my interest rate by 2 points and gave me his cell phone number so we could keep in touch. 

Still hungry and tired, I drove away in an amazing mood, and not just because I saved a few bucks on my new car. 

We are here to help each other through this thing, whatever it is. ~ Kurt Vonnegut