Guest Post: Buying A Lawnmower Ain’t Easy!

Today’s post is from Kevin–a friend of mine in Florida. Kevin is a master salesperson and a great observer of people. He shared this story with me last week and I had to share it with you. Enjoy!

My son Austin and I were looking for a new lawn mower to replace the Craftsman I bought nearly 15 years ago so I went to Sears at the local mall to see what they had.  I wanted Austin involved because he was going to be using the mower and it was a fairly large purchase that would require making some choices and determining the best value among many choices.

When we got to Sears, we were greeted by Mike who was eager to sell us something. When I asked just how fast the mower would go, because I didn’t want a lawnmower that would go slower than my son could push a manual machine, he laughed it off and said “I don’t know, they don’t say anything about miles per hour anywhere!”   Instead of finding out, or, even better, telling me that if there was anything I wasn’t happy with in the first 30 days, Sears would gladly take it back, which they do, he immediately started telling me that instead of the lawnmower I was looking at, I should look at another model lawnmower because the three year extended warranty was nearly $40 less than the lawnmower that I preferred.

Mike went on to tell me everything the warranty covers and all the benefits of getting the extended warranty.  He compared the cost of a single servicing to the cost of the warranty. He told me a story about an old lady who had just turned one in that would have cost her $400 to replace, but thanks to the warranty, it was free. He reduced to the ridiculous and showed me how it was mere pennies a day.  He definitely knew all the tricks for selling extended warranties. Problem was, I went to Sears for a lawnmower, not a warranty and he had yet to ask me a single question about my needs. If he had, I would have told him that my son was going to be using it to mow our lawn, along with a couple of the neighbors’ yards every week so the main concern was we needed a mower that could handle mowing about an acre a week, wasself-propelled, preferably variable speed and fast enough not to get in the way of the job.

I decided I had enough of Mike and since we were also going to get lunch, I told Mike I’d think about what he had told us and we went off to the food court.  I had a talk with my son about Mike and everything he had done wrong in the sale.  How, instead of finding out what we were using the mower for and matching me up with the best mower for our needs, he was more concerned about his own needs to meet his monthly extended warranty sales goal, or earn the spiff.  It was actually one of the best learning experiences I could have hoped for.

When we finished I went back to Sears.  Mike didn’t even recognize us, so I flagged down Garry,who didn’t ask me questions, but was glad to answer my questions. My son decided on the lawnmower he liked, so I had Garry ring it up, at which time he tried to sell me the extended warranty on that unit. Since I’m not an extended warranty fan, I declined and then asked him to add-on a weed eater that my wife had picked out online earlier. On my way home, I remembered that I didn’t get extra string for the weed eater. I guess I should concentrate on including some add on sales next time I sell myself a lawnmower.


Question: Do you have a story you’d like to share? Email me at