A customer arrives at the lot, 'just looking', and is led by the nose through the qualifying, test drive, negotiating, and closing process. They are very clear that the cars cannot be bought wholesale from the manufacturer, and so they have to purchase it from a dealer. They are also very clear that this is a painful procedure, because the dealer is an 'in your face' sales place with no room for any customer having any common sense.
The dealer demands to know the customer's budget, the customer's anticipated monthly investment, the customer's preference for green or blue, the customer's income level, etc. These demands are made as a convenience for the dealer - so the dealer doesn't waste time test driving with a customer who couldn't buy mustard for a hot dog with cash and a cosigner.
What the dealer does not do is listen.
The customer will tell you what they want. They don't need their hot buttons pushed. They don't need to be upsold to a club cab diesel long bed when they wanted an entry level coupe. The customer wants to be treated like they were adults planning on doing business with you.
So take the flippin' balloons down, unplug the popcorn machine, kill the screamer ads on TV and the full-page spread ads in the paper. Do business.
"But car buying is an emotional purchase," you say. It's only emotional for you, during the sales meetings, when the sales manager wants to know why you only have three cars on the board for this month.
People will come and buy from you if they like you, and their friends recommend you.
"No I'm just looking."
"Okay, again, I'm Don, ask for me if you need anything, and thanks for stopping by."
Now GO AWAY!
Car dealers already suffer from such a negative reputation, the industry as a whole needs to get its act straight.
I would have to say, after buying quite a few cars during my lifetime, my biggest complaint with car dealers is dishonesty in the salespeople.
The last car I bought, I was ready to sign the papers when I discovered that some of the numbers just weren't adding up to what the salesman and I had discussed. At that point, I started getting a lot of "double-talk" and I literally stood up and walked out the door. Since I was trading in my old car, I had to stand around and wait for them to bring my old car back. They had already taken it to the back of the lot or something but I flat was not going to sign on the dotted line when I knew I had been lied to.
I eventually did buy the same car, just from a different dealer.
I work hard and long, intensive hours for my money and get respect at work and in my personal life, why does it change when I walk on a lot? As a general rule, I will go every two years and trade in what I have and buy a newer model. I have always paid cash for my cars, and many a salesman has blown a sale simply because of the attitude. I, like many, do my fair share of research before hitting the lots and just come in when I get serious. Trying too hard to make a quota is blatantly obvious sometimes. For some odd reason, I just wanted to be treated with respect, and as a valued customer, not just an "up".
Just because I am female doesn't mean that I don't know a thing about cars. However, many salesman continue to treat me like I am oblivious. I grew up around sports cars (my father restores them as a hobby where I often assisted). The amount of salesmen that point out the "extra mirror for checking makeup" or the "lighted cup holder for your latte" never ceases to amaze me. I am there for what the car is capable of and how the ride feels, not how efficiently I can transport my caffeine or how precisely I will be able to apply lip gloss.
Just a couple of small points that could have been avoided in the past.
Let me say that not all salespeople act in the fashion as described above, but too many do. I just hope yours do not make the same (sales-killing) mistakes.
Good luck, and take care.
2 Stop lying ("YOU can't get a low interest rate")
3. Stop pushing people to "buy now. This price is no good tomorrow"
4. Don't answer questions with another question.
"How much H/P?. How much do you need?"
5. Don't try to put people in cars they cannot really afford.
6. Don't open your mouth until you're asked a question. If you don't know the answer, SAY so.
This will go a LONG way toward endearing customers to you.
Document fees. "Okay, 5000 it is then. Just write a check for that plus a 400 dollar document fee and you can be on your way." **** you. We negotiated a price, you don't get to go tacking on pure profit to it. You negotiated in bad faith. If you weren't willing to take it, don't offer it. Also, "it's required by state law." No, it isn't. That is a lie. That is when you cease being a human being and start being a piece of **** to be disrespected in every possible way. At that point, I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire.
Lies. About anything. If you lie to me, and I know you lied to me, I'm gone.
Know something about what you're selling. I was looking at an early 90s BMW 5 series, and the dealer didn't know (or wouldn't tell me) if it had had the Nikasil issue taken care of. Also a Subaru Legacy where the dealer didn't know about the head gasket. THESE ARE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. If you don't know the answer to them, you shouldn't have bought the cars in the first place. But no, you buy them and hope you'll find an ignorant sucker to foist your lemon off on. I do my best to piss in the pool by spreading the word about cars like those as much as I can.
Don't hover over me like a vulture. You know, ask if I need help once, especially if I don't look like I know what I'm doing. If I have questions, be there to answer them (and be ready to answer them. Good god, why don't you people have notes on your cars so you can tell me what's wrong with them? I can HEAR/SMELL/SEE there's a problem...if you can't tell me what it is, I'm assuming it's a fatal one)
For new cars, just stop obfuscating the pricing. Don't try and compare your cars to ones that don't have any similarity. Don't upsell. I came to look at Sentras, I'm NOT interested in Maximas.
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