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A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.

By Andrew Pollack on 08/31/2010 at 01:04 AM EDT

I've been shopping for cars again. This one is a replacement for the spousemobile, so unlike the one for my daughter, this will be new. Having done a fair bit of shopping, here are some tips for you car sales people out there.

#1. Do not bullshit me. I may know more than you think. It's just possible that I know how to build that car you're showing me. One lady insisted that I could ignore the EPA mileage sticker on a new Honda or Nissan (which happened to be what is on her lot) because (and I quote) "Honda and Nissan test theirs at a higher speed than the others, so most people get much better mileage." This person wanted me to ignore the federally mandated EPA testing sticker and assume that Honda and Nissan would deliberately test their cars in such a way as to post lower values. Seriously? Sondra, I may not argue with you, but I sure as hell don't want to buy a car from you.

#2. Don't tell me what's wrong with the competition's products. First of all Sondra, after the boneheaded statement you made earlier I'm unlikely to believe you if you tell me the sun is going to come up tomorrow. Second, it's petty and in poor taste, and makes me think worse of you and your products. Just tell me about the ones you're selling, show me the features, and be positive.

#3. This one is mostly for the men out there selling cars, though not entirely. If I bring my wife to look at a car that I've told you is for her, do not ignore her. She may be smarter than you (in this case, no question) and she's definitely not going to like being ignored. Trust me on this, I know. Kevin, this one is for you.

#4. If I've finally found enough time that both my wife and I can come down together to drive a car, and I call to set the appointment, I don't care at all if you've got someone else coming in at that time and would rather not have me talking to another sales person. If you tell me that I should change the time I come in, you're telling me that your time is more important than mine. You couldn't be more wrong. By the way, I didn't like you before. I'd frankly rather talk to someone else. You've just made that easier for me.

In the end, we did find a potential replacement for the old spousemobile. If I can find the right one with the right options and come to a decent agreement on price, I'll be buying a Hyundai Santa Fe from Cyndy.


There are  - loading -  comments....

re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Lars Berntrop-Bos on 08/31/2010 at 02:47 AM EDT
Bloody brilliant! Matches my experiences so closely it almost creepy, makes
you wonder where the return on investment is in that behaviour.
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Lars Berntrop-Bos on 08/31/2010 at 02:50 AM EDT
In case there is a shadow of doubt: I am referring to the car salespeaople
behaving badly.
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By John on 08/31/2010 at 08:53 AM EDT
The last few cars I have purchased (1 for me, but I assisted 2 others in their
buying process) I utilized the internet to get quotes from the dealership -
Then play them against each other.

I also used a spare Gmail and Google Voice account and placed it in "Do Not
Disturb" mode - This way they can can and email all they want, but the phone
will never ring and I will not be bothered.

It has made the process much easier to be able to say "Dealership #2 has
offered to sell me the same car for $2k less..."

I have also had the same experiences that you have on all your points above,
but sadly it is often the dealership's management encouraging this behavior. I
worked a brief stint as a car salesman during the tech crash and was encouraged
to participate in such behaviors - I kept my dignity and moved onto other jobs.
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Mike Smith on 08/31/2010 at 09:33 AM EDT
My personal favorite - close to 5 years ago now my wife wanted a new car,
specifically an Audi A4. We go to the local dealership, she drives the car,
they know it's for her, but same thing - they "deal" with me. Strike one from
wife. Then they quote a monthly payment. I ask what the interest rate on that
is and the response is "typical bank rate". Really? You can't give me a
number? We get home and reverse engineer the payment and the rate was
something ridiculous like 12%. Strike Two. They didn't get a third strike ...
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Mark Farley on 04/04/2013 at 11:50 AM EDT
12% not bad with spotty credit...
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Lisa Duke on 09/29/2010 at 08:01 AM EDT
On my last car buying expedition when the time came to go to the office for the
sales guy to type stuff on his computer, I fired up my netbook. It made them
really uncomfortable when I started pulling the Kelly Blue Book value for the
car they were selling me - and for my trade in car. It was nice to watch them
all flip out. Hehe!
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Scott on 10/08/2010 at 07:15 PM EDT
Okay...this is to all the anti-salesperson people. I am a car salesman and I
have a family to feed just like the rest of you. However, I take great pride
in being upfront and honest with my customers on all aspects of a sale, which I
can't always say is true on the customers part. Like playing me against
another dealership without my knowledge or giving me lame information regarding
your email or phone number. Customers lie too!!! So sales people sometimes
resort to making efforts to make the immediate sale.

I have run customers off whom I think are playing games, if they are wasting my
time trying get another dealership to lower their price then why should I put
my efforts into developing an honest relationship with that customer. See this
is a two way street...so be honest with your salesperson and most likely they
will do the same.

I will grant you there are some shadey salespeople...but there are many who are
simply trying to provide for their families. I am a commissioned based
salesperson so if I don't make some kind of profit on the cars I sell I don't
make money. So next time you sit across from what you believe to be a good
salesperson, remember they are trying to make a living not gouge you!

One last note...if you think the days of the $250 car payment still
exist...wake up the average car payment is in the $600 range.
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Andrew Pollack on 10/08/2010 at 08:48 PM EDT
Scott, I'm hearing the anger here - but can you fault the reasons I gave for
not doing business at the Honda dealership I mentioned? Would you ever try
to tell a customer such an outright, baldfaced lie?

There's a very big dealership here much closer to where I live the the one I've
bought two of my last three cars. I won't work with them because they
encourage these tactics.

The only game I play with the car dealers, is that I show up in whatever I
happen to be wearing that day --which is usually a t-shirt and jeans. They
don't know what to expect from me. I usually tell them exactly where I am in
the shopping process - from "looking for the next year and just starting to get
an education about what's out there" to "Decided on a product and looking for
the right price."

The truth of the matter is that I fully expect to be treated as though my time
is the most valuable commodity at the moment I'm there. It's a big ticket item
you don't purchase more than once every few years and there is plenty of
competition out there. I'm not getting into that relationship with a dealer I
don't trust.

For what it's worth, I've settled on a vehicle and a sales person and am now
just waiting for the right car to become available in a couple of weeks to
replace the spousemobile.
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Robert on 12/18/2010 at 10:09 AM EST
I am a successful and proffesional Scottish car salesperson and have been for
over 19 Years. When you rely on a particular set of skills and use them
everyday you achieve a very high level of emotional intelligence amongst other
things. If and when people choose to be dishonest with me and play games with
me, I just push what ever buttons I need to to get rid of them quick so I can
move on and stop wasting "MY TIME" !. Oh and these buttons are not desk based.
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By lester on 06/26/2012 at 04:27 PM EDT
well I am a car sales man and I can tell you that almost everybody can be
profiled. why go wasting a sales persons time a year early?? if you think your
T-shirt and Jean wearing time is so valuable what about the sales person with
dress pants and dress shirt with tie?? how would you feel if I came to your
work to get info and test out what you do 1yr early just cause I have nuttin
better todo that day???
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Andrew Pollack on 06/26/2012 at 05:10 PM EDT
Lester - it's a fair statement, why am I there so early?

The answer is two fold -- First, I'm there because I'm just starting to look
around and want to reintroduce myself to the market and what's out there. It
will take me quite some time to decide on what I like. I know cars pretty
well. I've rebuilt cars for both my daughters. I do, however, tend to keep
my cars a long time. My present car is 8 years old, has 110,000 miles on it,
runs and looks nearly new. I have no reason to replace it for at least another
year, maybe more. By the time I start looking again, the market will be very
different than it was when we were shopping for my wife's car in 2010.

Second - and most important, I always TELL the salesperson who greets me
exactly where I am in the process. If I'm just looking and learning and
probably a year out, that's what I say. Most of the sales people understand
that and they'll go back to doing things to make near term sales while I wander
and around as I said.

As for "if I came to your work to get info...a year ahead" -- Lester, people do
that ALL the TIME. I spend time (usually on the phone in my case) with people
who may or may not ultimately buy my product. I'll spend an hour with them and
they'll understand what I have to offer. Sometimes they buy, sometimes they
don't. Sometimes they come back in six months or a year when they're ready.
That's the sales process. Surely understand that process if you're a
successful car salesman.
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By INTEGRITY LADY on 09/18/2012 at 09:39 AM EDT
First, I am an successful honest saleslady. Now, let's get to it. Mr. Pollack,
we do not care what you have on, or what you think you know better about the
car. Because if you did, you would point to the vehicle of choice and simply,
pay. Second, just because you feel as if you have ALL the time God allows, does
not qualify as "so what, I'm the customer". It shows deep lack of courtesy for
the sales person whom is just that SALES AND PLEASE REMEMBER, we want to earn
your business but just not a YEAR early!!! Please, understand we are strictly
commissioned and we need to earn a living just as you do. "You want the best
price". "The "other" dealer said they would do this," and so on and so on. Yes
yes, we get it. But can you have respect for the REAL and HONEST salespeople
that DO exist. Lastly, for you to place the names of the salespeople in your
first column is just uncalled for. You simply could have said Jane Doe, and
John Doe. Geesh.
re: A few tips for car sales people - if you ever want my business.By Damian on 11/13/2012 at 12:24 PM EST
Just so you know, it's people like you that make us love our job even more when
we rip your head off! Complete asshole to me equals I don't give a shit about
you. And by the way your buying a fucking Hyundai, apparently you DON'T know
shit about cars or you hate your wife.....


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