Car – Buying a Car – Car Salespeople

Posted: September 11, 2008 in my experiences, soap box, vehicles, work

I may be buying another car very soon.  I love my 2002 Mazda Protege LX.  I bought it with 12 miles on the odometer.  It now has 97,500.  However, it needs a new clutch and a new timing belt VERY soon….I’ve gotten 3 estimates and the cheapest so far is $1300.00 to do both.  Because I’ve had to refinance my car a couple of times to make our family budget work, I’m still making payments on it.  Not sure if I want to drop $1300.00 on a car with 97,000 miles that I’m still making payments on.  Tough choice. 

Anyways, just started a little car shopping, and am immediately reminded of why I no longer sell cars, and never ever ever want to again.  My sales guy last night was about 26 years old, and for over an hour looked like he needed a drug fix really bad.  In fact, at one point I was outside with him.  We started to walk inside, and he began sniffing and rubbing his nose frantically and said, “I’ll meet you inside….I’m having some issues with my nose….my sinuses are killing me.”  I’ve worked with many car salespeople who were on cocaine.  This was a classic cocaine reaction.  I worked with a guy who was a crack addict.  Every so often he would bring random things to work to try and sell to other salespeople for $15 or $20.  Clocks, phones, a watch, etc.  I worked with another guy who, about 1 year ago, was put in jail for life for killing a mom/daughter while driving drunk.  Turns out he’d been arrested for DUI about 9 times in the last 10 years, and had only spent about 1 week in jail.  He was the top salesperson for over about 2 years at one dealership I worked for.

Some of the reasons I hated selling cars….

  1. You’re pushing people to spend many thousands of dollars “on the spot”.
  2. Everybody lies.  The salespeople lie.  The customers lie.  The managers lie.  The detailers lie.  If “Kit”, the Knight Rider car, was for sale on the lot, he would freaking lie to you.   
  3. Some days you could be at the dealership for 12 hours and only work with 1 customer, and that customer would buy a vehicle.  Other days you could be at the dealership for 12 hours and work with 14 customers, and not one of them would buy a vehicle.
  4. You never, ever know what you’re going to earn….from sale to sale, day to day, week to week, month to month.  From August to November of 2001, this was my monthly earnings…. $4800.00 … $2200.00 … $1800.00 … $500.00.  No kidding.  I made $4800 one month, then 3 months later made $500.00 the whole month.  This is common.
  5. Balloons, balloons, balloons.  Every Saturday morning is was vital to put balloons in every conceivable spot around the lot.  On the cars, on the trucks, on the hot dog stand, on the gates, on the fence…it made you want to tie a big helium balloon around your neck and have it wisk you off to Kansas.
  6. Terrible business sense.  Here’s how it works.  You’re a salesperson.  For a couple of years, you’re the top salesperson.  You become a sales manager.  Doesn’t matter if you have good people skills, if you’re a good manager, if you know how to work with other salespeople, if you’re good with business and marketing matters.  Top salespeople = future manager.  No matter what.  The sad part … most of the top salespeople make HORRIBLE managers. 
  7. Almost Zero customer loyalty.  Over 90% of the customers I sold to could have cared less how hard I worked, how cordial I was, how honest I was, how I would go over the top to help them.  Once they drive home (unless they have a problem), they forget who you are. 

Enough venting.  It’s time to make a choice.  I’m going to look at a 2008 Hyundai Accent after work.  It’s new, with NO frills…no power windows, no power locks.  But I can buy it brand new for about $13,200.00, so it may be worth it.  Hyundai has come a LOOONG way in the last decade.  They are now one of the top rated vehicles, period.  The Sonata recently beat out both the Camry and Accord in a Motor Trend midsize car test.  5 years, 60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, 10 year, 100,000 drivetrain warranty.  We’ll see.  Maybe it’ll work, maybe not.  I’ll let you know.

Until then…be nice to your local car salesperson.

  1. Michael Cody says:

    Last winter I went in to see one of my friends who was working at Dodge on Kingston Pike just to see how he was doing (his grandma had been having problems). Somehow, I left with a 2008 Dodge Caliber they recieved that day…. whaaaaaat???!!

  2. Jason says:

    you’re so weak.


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