Enterprise’s Cheat Sheet For Snookering You Into Car Insurance

What’s Enterprise hiding under that big brown bag their cars are wrapped in? According to this report, it could be their intent to humiliate you into buying car insurance.

“Couple weeks ago I rented a car from Enterprise for the day,” Tim Nudd writes us. “As I was waiting for the guy to run my credit card, I noticed a piece of paper on the counter…It seemed to be a one-page cheat sheet for how Enterprise employees should go about selling car insurance to its customers. It was just sitting there, so I took it.”

A transcript of the document, after the jump…


I. Initial Sales Pitches

A. “I assume you want us to protect you bumper to bumper on the car, right?” (assumption makes the customer feel like everyone takes it)
B. “You’ve rented from us before?” (if yes) “Then, I’m sure you took our coverage last time, right?” (customer will feel silly for having not taken it)
C. “How long do you need the car?” -three days- “Three days? That’s only $60 and protects you the full value of the car!” “…it’s only $19.99/day and protects you of the full value of the car!!!” (make sure the customer feels your excitement)

II. Handling Objections
A. I have my own insurance- “Yes, but you have exposure. Meaning, if anything happens, we’d have to collect your deductible, place a claim through your insurance, you’d have to worry about surcharges, insurance rates going up, etc…” (exposure, most powerful objection word ever)
B. No, I’m ok… I don’t need it- “80% of my customers under 10 days do take it because they would not be responsible for any damage, regardless of fault!” (customers love to be a part of the majority, it’s comforting)

III. Thing You Should NEVER Say
A. “How do you want to cover the car?” (this gives them the option of their own insurance, and they’ll use that option every time)
B. “Do you want to take our coverage or use your own insurance?” (Are you kidding me?! This is not sales!)
C. “We offer a protection package that can cover you bumper to bumper…” (Duh, that is precisely what you’d be doing… offering, not SELLING!)

IV. A True Seller…
– A true seller can close the deal within 30 seconds.
– A true seller doesn’t even need the “three no’s.”
– A true seller “persuades” rather than “offers.”
– A true seller believes in what he/she is selling.
– A true seller uses 1 to 2 powerful words, rather than a novel.
– If you work for Enterprise, you are a true seller (you just might not know it yet).

This was at one of two Enterprise locations in Fort Lee, NJ.

Says Tim, “To be fair, I don’t know if this is a standard-issue Enterprise sales sheet or what. Plus the guy didn’t even bother with any of this crap when I told him I didn’t need his insurance. I did think it was a little weird that this Enterprise location has it in writing that making the customer feel silly can be a good thing.”

This is, in all likelihood, not a standard-issue document but rather, the dissemination of upsell tactics by the franchise’s manager. Like most such proclamations, it’s ignored by the employees who continue to conduct business in the same way they did before. It’s interesting to note that there’s still some sales professionals who view the relationship between seller and customer in an old-school, combative, manner, rather than trying to discern and diagnose client’s problems and sell them the solutions. Soon these dinosaurs will be extinct and their bones can be compressed and converted into fossil fuels and injected into energy-efficient rental cars of the future.

[photo credit]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Roadgeek says:

    In defense of Enterprise, I have rented from them on multiple occasions and have always received excellent service. They have never, ever hammered me about insurance. I recommend them to anyone….

  2. any such name says:

    i concur with roadgeek – better prices and customer service than any other rental establishment. and i’ve never been offered rental insurance in such a hard-nosed way, always said “no thanks, mine covers it.”

  3. Tim Nudd says:

    Yes, not only did the Enterprise sales guy not pressure me, but he came outside with me to look over the car — which almost never happens when I rent from National, for example. Then he practically helped me into the car. I had a good experience with Enterprise, for sure. Now if they could just offer me unlimited mileage outside NY/NJ/CT, I’d be renting from them much more often.

  4. nweaver says:

    I find Enterprise’s sales policies better than most. The agents actually have more authority when it comes to upgrades: I’ve managed to do things like get a Miata for $35/day depending on weather and demand.

    The ability to negotiate AT THE LOT, when you can see what the alternatives are, is rather useful, especially for something of a car junkie like me.

    (Oh, and Enterprise buys on the open market, which means more variety. In particular, the Mazda3 hatchback is great: it has the high end engine in a nice tossable compact).

  5. Ben Popken says:

    Charles writes:

    “I worked for Enterprise Rent-A-Car for about 2 months about 8 years ago.
    While they never came right out and said it at that time (unlike the
    cheat-sheet), it was understood that the most important selling point is
    the insurance. Always push the insurance. I was never good at selling
    people something they really don’t need so I was upfront with everyone
    (probably why I only worked there for 2 months). The only benefit to
    buying Enterprises Insurance is that if you have an accident and ding up
    the car you can pretty much drop off the keys and be on your way. If
    you don’t get it, your insurance company gets involved. Of course,
    that’s why you pay your insurance company, so why pay twice? The only
    time I suggested thinking about Enterprise Insurance was if you were
    renting a moving van or pickup, or similar vehicle and you had little
    experience driving a larger vehicle, or if you have terrible insurance
    with high deductibles and a history of accidents.”

  6. matto says:

    Sounds like your typical moron retail manager who’s read one too many “Idiot’s guide to sales” books.

  7. Mary Marsala With Fries says:

    Not really shady, but definitely not “nice” and not how I’d be happy being treated (ditto every other customer on the planet–but sales managers rarely care how happy you are after you leave, as long as you spend lots of money).

    I wasn’t aware that this kind of sales was going extinct, but I hope it is and I’ll be dancing on its grave when it does! -M.

  8. ValkRaider says:

    I *always* get the LDW, after once being forced to pay for a new windshield because of a rock chip at a rental company.

    No need to raise my insurance rates or risk the insurance company claiming damage that I can’t prove that I did not cause…

    But as a side effect, I get to pretty much smash up the car if I want. Since I got the LDW, I don’t worry about parallel parking, bumping the backs of parking garages, door dings, jumping curbs, knocking down road signs, or throwing the car in reverse at 60mph.

    I consider the $10 to $20 a day an “entertainment fee”.


  9. Ben Popken says:

    Terry writes:

    “I had an interesting experience when I went to rent a car from Enterprise. I declined the insurance when it was offered. The clerk insisted, saying that credit cards provided secondary coverage. I begged to differ, telling him my card coverage was primary (I’d checked my cc info carefully, then called my cc company to be sure). He insisted, so I pulled out the “terms” paper I’d brought along just in case this happened (I just knew I’d get an argument about the insurance). This guy read the pertinent parts of it, then called my cc company to verify because he didn’t quite understand it (I can’t really fault the guy because these companies do their darnedest to make sure you need a lawyer to interpret those things). So yes, Enterprise can be pushy about the insurance, but you just have to push back harder.”

  10. LLH says:

    when i need to rent a car i always use enterprise. in L.A. the branch we go to remember us and treat us well as loyal customers. they always upgrade us or give us the ultra low coupon rate for a decent car (coupon cars are usually a box with 4 mice running on an exercise wheel!). while they don’t push for the insurance we usually take the minimum only because the cars are so nice (mercedes etc…) and don’t want the stress of it while we’re raging in the their bad ass rides.

  11. I like Enterprise. They offered to watch our kids while we were gone.

  12. Ben Popken says:

    Garrett writes:

    “A few months back I rented a car from Enterprise. Upon rental, the car was immediately given, contracts signed, and I was off. I had the car for the week, which, wonderfully smelled like cigarrettes and puke, but at least ran. After doing nothing but my work-school commute and returning it, I came in to turn in the keys looking like the college kid in a sweatshirt teenager that I am. When I didn’t show up wearing a business suit to turn in my vehicle they, of course, did the 21 thousand point inspection process on the car and “noticed” a “very large scratch in the rear right side” that was actually only visible when viewed from a certain angle. I refused to divulge any information up front, and about a week later received a letter requesting $1200 for the fix. Many angry calls and unpaid bills later, I recommended to one of the employees that they check the previous contracts (wow, what an idea?) to check for already existing damage, and sure enough it had been documented, multiple times. So whoever checked out my vehicle, if anyone, just didn’t do their job. I’m glad it was a car with a dent and not a car without oil. Now all I need to do is figure out how I can get some money back for my total wasted amount of life.”

  13. CatMoran says:

    I’ve loved Enterprise since I was 20.

    I needed a rental while my car was in the shop. After calling several places, I reserved a car at Enterprise. The next day they picked me up at the body shop, took me to the office — and discovered that I was under their minimum rental age. (Me: why didn’t you tell me before I made a reservation! Rental guy: I’m so sorry, you sound so mature I didn’t think it was relevent!)

    The employee got on the phone and called every other car rental place in the phone book, until he found one that would rent to a 20yo. He drove me there (across town, at least 10 miles) and waited around until I had a set of car keys in my hand.

    That‘s great customer service.