There is a class of IT workers called "Sales Engineers". These intrepid men and women are the lubricant that makes enterprise software sales possible. That, and lots of booze.
I really like sales engineers because they have to be technical enough to actually know WTF they are talking about, but also they have to be able to shave their neck beards and actually hold eye contact with prospects and customers.
Today, I got to be an unofficial sales engineer for Tesla.
I had brought Nikki in for her pre-Odyssey checkup. There were a few warranty items, and a missing clip from the left front wheel well. Also, I wanted to make sure that the fluid was topped off.
That's right. I said "fluid", not "fluids". There is only one fluid to replace in a Tesla. The windshield washer fluid is crucial for a cross country trip in the dead of winter, but it's not like the engine will size up if you run out. First: no engine. Second: no oil.
The service took a couple of hours, so I camped out in the waiting room with my laptop and held meetings and got some work done on the free wifi.
In walked a mother and her son to the Service Center. The boy was about 20 and heading to lawyer school. His mom was a local real estate agent. This kid was a real Tesla fanboy, and even referred to himself as such. He knew all about the cars, and was trying to get his mom to buy him one. Nothing against David, but being a Tesla sales rep is perhaps the easiest job on the planet at the moment.
One thing about the Tampa service center is that they aren't allowed to have test drives. This is because car dealers give a lot of money to the Florida legislature. There are no two professions that are so karmically aligned as car salesmen and legislators. This is not just Florida, but every so-called pro-business state (I'm looking at you, Texas) has decided to protect an obsolete business model rather than to allow free-market forces to work. So we have the absurd case where people can come to a Tesla store, look at the cars, sit in them, but not take them for a test drive.
So, when the discussion of trading in her Prius for a Tesla came up, I had to chime in. My previous car was a 2009 Toyota Prius, which is a perfectly fine automobile. I gave it to my Mom when I got the Tesla. While it is a great and economical car, the Prius cannot be confused with a Tesla Model S. Sure, it has four wheels and a battery, but so does a '72 Chevy Vega.
This is where David has it easy. He certainly didn't need me to close the sale, but I really *wanted* to talk about my Tesla. I can see how the Tesla sales reps (Owner Advisors, according to the business card) can be enthusiastic about the product without any guile whatsoever. I was happy to babble on about my Tesla. I even offered to give them a ride in mine when the service was done - but the timing didn't work out.
I'm pretty sure they will buy a Model S pretty soon - but they'd better order fast if they want to get it soon - the backlog is 3 months.