I’m in the market for a new car. My 2004 Beemer is at the stage where every repair is in the 4 figure range, so mathematically speaking, it’s time to retire the old beast.
I’ve been going to car dealerships (I used to say that Atlantic City is the place all happiness goes to die, but I’ve since exchanged AC for car dealerships). The black hole of time, am I right? Sitting and waiting. Sitting and talking. Sitting and listening. Sitting and being lied to.
Wow, a super unpleasant experience.
I know a little about the sales process, being the sales manager for my company, and I must say, if I owned a car dealership, I would be the top producing location in the entire city, as my people could sell circles around the jokers I’ve met trying to sell me so far.
Even the least experienced of my folks know some basic sales rules that the most “experienced” of the car salesmen (no women so far) are clueless about.
- Ask questions. And by this, I mean meaningful questions. Don’t simply ask me what color car I want. Ask what my use is, what features are important to me, what my timeline is, how flexible am I on some features, are there any other decision makers, is there a budget I am trying to stick to, etc.
- LISTEN TO MY ANSWERS! Give me an indication that you are hearing what I am saying, like “So if I’m hearing you correctly, the most important feature to you is reliability. This model has the highest rating for reliability blah blah.”
- Don’t talk about yourself, unless you have a compelling reason to do so (like you were quality control manager at GM for 40 years so you know cars inside and out and I can rely on your opinion). We are not friends, yet. I’m not that interested about your in-law’s summer home at the beach and the time you’ve been spending there. I just met you and am not invested in your personal life.
- Know your product. A stunner, really, but every single salesman I’ve spoken with so far in my process has known less than I do (and admittedly, I am a car moron, so that’s saying something) about their products. I mean, really, you work for X manufacturer who sells Y number of makes/models of cars. Know what you are selling! Fifteen minutes on the website of Car and Driver magazine made me more qualified to sell cars than these jokers I have been working with so far.
- Understand the difference between high pressure and falling off the face of the earth. There has to be a happy medium between having a call center calling me daily to see if I’m still interested in buying, and a salesman promising to look for what I am interested in and not hearing a word for 3 weeks.
In what should have been an exciting, happy experience, I have been beaten down by ineffective, inexperienced, over confident, uninformed, unhelpful and clueless salesmen.
And echoes with the sound of salesmen…of salesmen…of salesmen.”