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Ask Dave

Car Dealer Dilemma

Jim is a car dealer and finding it increasingly difficult to sell new cars to people he knows can't afford it. Dave says morally, he needs to turn people away who can't afford the cars.

QUESTION: Jim in Oklahoma City is a car dealer and finding it increasingly difficult to sell new cars to people he knows can’t afford it. Dave says morally, if he’s feeling guilty about this, he needs to turn people away who can’t afford the cars.

ANSWER: If you love that business—and I don’t think it’s impossible to be someone of quality and be a good Christian, I think it is possible to be a good Christian and be a new car dealer—but I think that you’re right, there is a number of people who walk in to buy things and they simply cannot afford them. I think you’ve got to turn those people away if you’re going to stay in the business as a matter of conscience. You’re not helping them. You’re taking them to the cleaners. You’re participating in them taking themselves to the cleaners.

If I have a small business come up that wants to go to EntreLeadership, which is $6,000 for the week, and a guy is going to give me his last $6,000 and put his business on the line, and he goes out of business when he goes home or puts his whole life at risk because he went to EntreLeadership, then we tell him not to come. We don’t need his money. He’s overstepping. My business is here to serve my customers—not rape them. I’m not going to participate in that.

You can adjust your business model and turn some people away by just saying that, in good conscience, you aren’t going to participate in them harming themselves. The other thing you can do is move out of that business if you can’t reconcile that process or you don’t think that business model is going to be profitable, and move into something you don’t have a moral dilemma with. You will not prosper long term in the midst of a moral dilemma. When you don’t feel like you’re doing the right thing for people, that quickly comes to an end because the fun stops, and right after that, the profits stop.