Ten Improvements For Car Salesmen In A Tough Economy

Dear Car Dealerships,

I have been absolutely dreading stepping foot on your property, but since I'm searching for a new car, deal with you I must.

Given the bad economy and the fact that car sales are in the toilet, I thought you might be more customer service oriented and professional than you usually are. Sadly enough, many of your salespeople, or should I say salesmen because I've only seen men in your employ, have said and done some things that make me think you don't want my business that much.

Therefore, I decided to do you a favor and make a little list of things you might want to advise your salesmen to improve if you actually want to make your sales quota in this tough economy.

"Ten Improvements For Car Salesmen In A Tough Economy"
by Los Angelista, Blogger Extraordinaire

1) Look "With-It": When you see a hot woman with an afro, a fly red coat and some sizzling black leather boots walk into your showroom with her husband, and there aren't ANY other adults in the showroom or on your lot, one of your five salesmen can and should get off his behind and come say hello. The way those salesguys were all huddled together, chatting with each other, it felt like they were saying, "You go first because I'm scared to talk to those strange looking people!" And definitely don't let us walk by you without your saying anything at all.

2) Stay Off Your Phone: Every single salesman answered his cell phone while showing us cars. They answered while we were looking on the lot, while we were test driving AND while we were in the office talking numbers. If I'm considering spending thousands of dollars with you, I want your undivided attention. Seriously, make me feel like I'm a supermodel and you can't stop looking at me. Make me feel like you're hanging on my every word. Do not answer your phone and start talking to your landlord.

2) Don't Eat Or Drink In Front Of Me: I don't care how hungry you are, unless you're about to go into diabetic shock, you can finish eating your lunch after I leave. You didn't even offer me a snack AND you were chewing with your mouth full! Didn't your mama teach you better?

3) Don't Ask Where I'm From: When I'm shopping for a car, I don't want to get into a conversation about my race or ethnicity or how I look like I'm from Northern Africa. There's a reason you got my silent, born-in-Northern Illinois glare when you asked, "Are you from Morocco or something?"

4) Assume That A Woman Knows How To Drive A Stick Shift: Pick your jaw up off the floor when I tell you I know how to drive a stick and that my husband does not. Really, do you not know how stupid and sexist you sound when you say, "Wow, you know how to drive a stick? Most women don't know how to drive a stick."

Oh, and don't start talking about what a horrible driver your girlfriend is while I'm test driving. I was about to ask for her number so I could call her up and tell her to dump you.

5) Don't Chuckle When I Tell You What I'm Willing To Pay: I've done my research so I know if your price is too high, and that my offer of $4000 less, including tax, is reasonable. That's why I sat there and said nothing while you rambled. Oh, and I loved how there was a message from you on my voicemail when I got home saying you could come down to what I was asking.

6) Don't Tell Me, In Your Most Sinister Voice,"If You Walk Away The Offer Is Dead.": Um, okay. So it's dead. Next. Do you really think I can't see all the cars you have sitting on your lot, not to mention the back lot you have a gazillion other cars on? And there's NO ONE else on your lot but me and my husband. You need my business so drop the high pressure psychological sales tactics.

7) Don't Speak Ebonics To Me: There is a time and a place, but just like our black President, I speak standard English. You are not suddenly "down" with me just because you drop your g's off words and say "ain't" a whole lot. And don't do the, "Youknowwhatimsayin', man!" thing to my husband either. By the time you were asking him what NIGHT CLUBS he hangs out at, we both wanted to kill you.

8) Be Able To Tell Me About The Car: If I ask you to tell me about the car, don't only say, "It has bluetooth for your cell phone," and then stand there looking like I'm supposed to orgasm over that. Tell me about the MPG, the 0-60 acceleration speed, the powertrain, the transmission, the safety features... Something!

9) Let Me Take The Car Onto The Freeway: Driving on surface streets is just fine but if you won't let me take the car onto the freeway in the middle of the day and it's only a minute away, that's a red flag. Were you worried that I'll see it doesn't have the pickup you claim it does? Hint: If I see that it struggles on the freeway, maybe I'd be interested in a better (and pricier) model. Instead, you said we couldn't go on the freeway for safety reasons. Gosh, I guess every other dealership that had me on the 2, 134, 101 and 5 Freeways didn't get that memo.

10) Don't Tell Me You Don't Have The Car: When I said I want an 2008, I wasn't confused: I want an '08. I don't want an 2009 and you don't need to give me a stern look and ask me to explain to you why. Seriously, it was annoying to have to repeat like a broken record that I only want an '08. You lied and said you only had 2009's, no 2008's... and then you miraculously "found" FIVE '08's when I was about to leave. Also, when I say I don't want leather seats, don't show me a car with leather seats. When I say I want a dark interior because I have kids, don't immediately walk me over to the one with beige interior if you have a car with dark interior.

11) Oh, okay, I did say I'd cap this at ten... but trust me, I have a few other things I just couldn't believe were being said or done.

Really, car dealerships, I hope you take these ten suggestions to heart. I would love to see your salespeople improve because thousands of jobs are riding on your ability to get folks like me to drop mucho deniro on a car. Instead, the unprofessional behavior of so many of your salesmen distracted me from falling in love with some of the cars as much as I could've! Even when I was into the ride, I could only think, "I like this car, but do I really want to buy it from this a**hole unprofessional salesman?"

Thanks so much for listening. I hope these salesmen were just the odd fluke. Wish me better luck tomorrow!


Anonymous said…
Car salesmen and real estate agents are the scum of the earth. When I bought our '05 Skoda Fabia (the cheaper version of the VW Polo), the guy asked me where I was from....

You really would think those guys would be falling over themselves trying to sell a car. The port is full of new shipments of cars that aren't even going out to the dealerships.
Anonymous said…
Sickeningly funny, Liz, and also shockingly clueless. Where do these guys get all these clunky, excruciating lines from? There must be an unflaggingly witless salesperson's manual they all use. As you say, you might have fallen for one of their cars if it wasn't for the thought of actually having to buy it from Charlie Clodhead.

Surely there must be just one backstreet dealer somewhere where they actually treat you like a human being?
April said…
Ugh, what cretins! Good luck today.
Anonymous said…
I bow to your wisdom.

And laugh at your humor.

GAAH!! Aren't you glad your tax dollars kept him in a job?
Liz Dwyer said…
So I'm not the only one who gets the, "Where are you from?" thing! What is up with that? I would've thought they'd be falling all over themselves too, but sadly enough, they're still doing this dumb stuff! The guy at the VW dealership was the best of them all but he still was on his phone and he didn't believe I knew how to drive a stick.

They really do distract you from the cars and the ones who can't even say anything relevant about the car are just wasting my time! I'm working with a car "head hunter" now so I don't have to go to any more dealerships. I did some test driving and I know what I want, so I'll let this guy find the car and do all the bargaining for me, thank goodness.

Cretins is the BEST word ever! They ARE cretins!

Yeah, my tax dollars need to go to some re-training on how to NOT be a CRETIN! :)
Anonymous said…
In my experience, car sales people treat women in general with disdain. I've had them talk up the passenger side mirror on the visor to me, I've gotten the same reaction to my preference for a stick shift, and a reluctance to let me test drive a car on my own. And even when I've made it clear that I am the one buying the car, some of them refuse to address me directly. Fuckers.
Shiona said…
My last car buying experience was the ONLY good one I ever had. Sucks that taxpayer dollars saved them. Seems like they could use the change in career.

Hope you have better luck tomorrow :)
BZ said…
I *heart* LosAngelista!!!! This was AWESOME! I want to forward it to every dealership out here.
The idiocy of these car salesmen mirrors the idiocy of the politicians I gather.
Call Family said…
Are you mailing this to those dealerships?! I hope so. I am enraged, but appreciate reading these experiences.
brunsli said…
I hear you. And with the economy where it is, they should be doing a better job. I wouldn't give my money (and that rare commission) to anyone I didn't like.

I was shopping for an Infiniti once with a fairly helpful Chinese salesman, when a Latino salesman came up to me and told me I should buy the car from him "to keep it in the family." Well, my cousin, where where you when I walked in??
Dreamybee said…
Yes!! I, too, keep hoping for the upswing in customer service given the fact that people are trying to keep their jobs and businesses are trying to keep their customers, not only from car dealerships but in all industries. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it yet.

Last year my cousin was looking at an Acura, and she had her price firmly in mind. I believe it was within $200 of what the dealer wanted, and they were completely unwilling to come down that final $200. About a week later, they finally called her to tell her the "good news" about the sale they were having, and she shared with them her good news about the new car she had already purchased from someone else. They lost a $30,000+ sale because they wouldn't come down $200. I hope it was worth it.
Anonymous said…
Hi! Just read your article. I'm sorry you had such a horrible experience. I am a woman selling cars. Biggest reason I got into the business, besides selling nice cars, and meeting great people, is to help customers shake the fear of driving onto the lot. Believe me, before this I used to work in the mental health field for 4 years. I also drove through the lot, on Sundays, where in most states the dealerships are closed. Its a shame that there are very few of us salespeople, that actually know how to put themselves in the customers shoes. Come to Maine, buy a car from me at Quirk Auto in Belfast. Enjoy the ocean views and down to earth people. Hope you all have better luck in the future :-)

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