Do you "hate" new car salesmen?

I was watching the tv show “Men of a Certain Age” the other night and one of the characters is a new car salesman. The salesman came home after a tough day and told his wife he was worried all his customers hated him. Why? Because he was trying to get as much money from them as possible. His wife said “no”, in fact you are providing the customers the opportunity to purchase a car they really like. If anything new car salesmen are making the customers happy, says the wife.

So who’s right? The salesman or his wife? I think the wife is closer to being right than the salesman. I’ve dealt with tough new car salesmen before. While its absolutely true they keep trying to get more money from me, I never “hated” them. If anything I was interested in getting a close up observation of their sales techniques. It’s entertaining to watch how they do it.

Me, I don’t think most customer’s “hate” new car salesmen. They may not like the process, but they don’t “hate” the salesmen.

What do you think?

Salespeople are different. If I don’t like the salesperson, I walk out. When I first went shopping for a new car back in 1965, I went several places including the Rambler dealer. When I described what I wanted–basically a bare bones Rambler American, the salesman said, “I have a car for you if you really want to save some money”. The car was a black Rambler Classic 550 with a manual transmission and about the only option being a radio. It was a repossession with 7000 miles and it had the balance of the 24,000 mile warranty. He started at $1850 and we settled for $1750. I drove that car for years. I had the car four years later when I returned to graduate school for my next degree and drove it two years after I returned from graduate school. I would often visit with the salesman when I took the car to the Rambler dealer to be serviced.

Not at all. I eat them for breakfast and they are delicious.

They have to put food on the table and I don’t begrudge them a profit on any car I buy. But I want a good deal on my new or used cars, and I work hard to get it (hence my first comment). I go in with a good knowledge of the product and the competition. I make it clear that I’m there to buy and let them make the first offer. If I don’t like the price, I will say so. I might mention the competition in my decision to up the urgency. Once I had a sales manager take over because he saw I was a willing buyer and that I knew more than his salesman about his product. I don’t finance and don’t trade cars in, so the deal is always simple. When I leave, I’m a happy customer. If the salesman stonewalls me, I just leave. There are plenty of dealers I can buy from.

I dislike the ones who know nothing about the product they sell. I dislike the ones who play games to keep you hanging around to wear you out. I don’t hate any of them. When we bought our first new car in twenty years a little over a year ago we had quite good experiences at multiple dealerships. Nobody was very pushy and if we walked away, so be it. We let them know up front we were not going to commit that day and that future communication would be via e-mail. Everyone was cool with that. A few exchanges with the two finalists and we made our decision. It was all very pleasant. I highly recommend that strategy. It gives you time to consider the cars you’ve seen and discuss them privately.


Why are you distinguishing between “new” car salesmen and car salesmen in general. “Both” of them really do the same thing, as far as I see it.

As near as I can tell, both from my experience at the new car dealership, and as a “regular” guy, it is the minority of car salesmen that are very familiar, technically speaking, about the cars they’re selling.

Some of them really rubbed me the wrong way and tried to apply tremendous pressure. But it never worked. If I sensed any of that, I didn’t buy.

For me, the best salesmen . . . for the customer . . . are those that don’t apply pressure, stand back, let you check out the car, and the car will sell itself.

I also have some advice for the buyers, as well . . . Only buy cars at a prenegotiated no-haggle price. The price is usually such that it’s a fair deal for all. The customer gets a fair deal, and the dealer is allowed a fair, but not outrageous, profit.

I know plenty of people that have bought cars this way, and all of them love it. None of them are ever going to haggle over the price of a car on the car lot again.

I don’t understand how some customers actually love to haggle, even if it literally takes hours. I guess they have a different social skill set than I do.

It’s not likely “hate” is the word; more like “disgruntled” at times. Most are not technically minded so they can resort to blabbing a lot about features or mechanical issues without having any real knowledge of the area. This can be due to not wanting to appear to be ignorant in front of a customer.

The only ones I dislike are the ones who tell a bald-faced lie during the sale of a used car by stating something like the car has a brand new engine when the reality is that it does not.

I actually have a little sympathy (some anyway) for car sales people. They’re under a ton of pressure to make the deal no matter what and if the deal doesn’t go through for whatever reason the sales person gets the blame.

I don’t know anything about car sales people anymore because its been probably 20 years since I’ve spoken to one. (In the context of buying a car anyway). I do know, however, that the last time I was in a new car dealership, I asked the guy politely to stop his canned sales pitch stuff and just let me tell him what I need to know. He didn’t listen, so I asked him again - still politely, but with a little bite. The third time that I was compelled to stop him from his canned pitch verbiage, and I simply said something like, I’ve asked you to stop trying to sell me on a car. You will not sell me a car. I will decide to buy one as soon as I find someone who will just tell me what I need to know… And then I just left. He wasn’t a very good sales person.

I’d venture to say that the majority of car sales people hired have short careers. Some of the larger dealers around have been known to have hiring seminars and employ 30 or 40 at a time.
Most are gone within a few weeks.

The best way of dealing with them is homework in advance and keep them on a short leash as cigroller did.

I have a friend that moved to used car sales, because there is more money in used cars than new. Last new vehicle was a price fixed place, they tried to talk me into used but new was cheaper than used because of rebates Yes I always hated the car sales game, well I have to go talk to my manager, maybe we can make it work, well I have to go brush my hair, let me know if you can make it work! They have the cars, you need to buy one, any internet success stories?

An old customer’s widow continued to bring in their car for service for several years and when it neared the 200,000 mile mark I advised replacing it. The owner was somewhat upset and unsure of what to do so I called the local Buick dealership and spoke to a well seasoned salesman there. I explained that the lady was financially comfortable but quite frugal. A day or two later the customer called and questioned about car and I asked her to bring it to the shop. The car was three years old, in excellent condition and well suited to the woman, and priced well below even bank loan value. The salesman had brought the car to her home and left it with her. I recommended she buy it if it suited her and she did.

An experienced car salesman who is free to make a deal and is wise in judging customers and their personalities, needs and finances can make a deal without ever bickering.

When my dad was new car shopping a few years ago he met a salesman at our local Honda dealer who had the patience of a saint and kept working with my Dad while he decided amongst various models of Honda (Pilot,Odyssey,then back to CRV) over a period of several years until eventually selling my dad his '07 CRV. Always found the answer to a question if he did not know it himself and made it very easy for my dad to find exactly what he wanted rather than what was on the lot already. Kept his word as far as the delivery date (actually about a week earlier than estimated) fair price too. By the time dad finally made up his mind the salesman had moved over into the internet sales department so we skipped all the markup’s and other add_on’s that otherwise would have been pitched.

In the summer of 2009 it was past time for my Mom to get her new car and with a tax-exemption at the time we could buy her the new Prius she wanted for around $23,000 plus title fees. Put down a deposit on one of the last ones not already spoken for before the exemption ran out at the end of July and our salesman was confident at the time that the car would arrive as soon as a week from the day we signed the papers (didn’t happen) and when car finally arrived a few days after that the salesman denied ever saying that it would arrive in about a week. Some of the Toyota salesmen I encountered at various dealerships were low-pressure and very informed about the features of the car we were looking at, others not so much. A bad sales experience will keep you from going back to that dealership or even suggesting that others do so.


My brother bought his last new car at a prearranged price. I forget the name of the broker. The price was fair for all parties involved.

He called ahead that he’ll be picking it up, at such and such time
When he arrived, the car was waiting for him.
He just had to sign some papers, not all that many, in fact
The financing had been arranged beforehand, as he had secured a loan from his credit union
The dealer did NOT try to sell him any extra stuff
They gave him the keys and the necessary paperwork
And he drove off

A happy story, I would say

Naw, a good saleman will just try to match needs is all, and of course try and open up opportunities to sell more options and services is all. I don’t mind at all and I’m not afraid to say no.

What the wife said though is the standard response among sales people and from sales management. That’s what my district manager used to say all the time. But then he would get so overcome he would go out once a month outside of our territory and get stinking drunk. He said he had to do it to clear himself out. Then he was ok for a month again. What a life. I got out of the insurance business then. Just couldn’t operate that way.

My dad was a salesman (not cars) and had a real knack for it. He was a genial, honest man. The best salesmen don’t coerce you; you don’t even feel the sting when the hook goes in. I’ve met a few car salesmen like that, and a few that seemed to be honourable in a profession that I’d never choose. But I would have to say overall that sales people, especially in car sales, are really pretty low on my list of useful life forms.

For every car salesman that will work with you and truly want you to be happy, there are a dozen more that couldn’t care less about you 30 seconds after you sign, after lying through their teeth about anything they can or don’t know the answer to, just to make a sale. There aren’t many jobs where you basically try to talk people into something they really don’t want or need, will likely regret, and for more money than it’s likely worth. Car sales people however can only aspire to the shadiness of Kirby sales folks.

One of the biggest “sins” in life IMHO is removing a person’s choice or coercing them into something they really don’t want to do for your own benefit and none of theirs.

@db4960 and @oblivion Probably buying a new car for wifey in the next year, I think the internet sales are probably going to be helpful, not meaning to slam all sales people, I never had a root canal. but dealing with some salespeople seems about the same amount of pain and aggravation.

I have never hated a car salesman. He is just trying to make a living. You may not agree with how he conducts his job or deals with you, but that’s his right and yours to go some where else. Hating a car salesman is like hating a bee that stings you. That’s just what they do. And, of you get stung, it’s as much your fault. Be as prepared as you can.

Some of them have been really annoying to me. If buying new, nowadays, I only go to the dealership for a test drive. After I decide what I need, I finalize the deal on the internet and then by phone and after all is done, we drive to the dealership. I also mention that I need to be out of there in 30 min or less. This works for the most part. But on my recent purchase one Ford dealer pulled a quick one where the person I spoke to transferred the transaction to someone else. This new person started acting shocked at the price and was asking for around $800 more. The original internet salesman was suddenly “not available”. This is the type of behavior that us humans hate.

As far as buying used, the stories get even worse. I have had quite a few of them trying to drag the process with different excuses from “checking with the manager” to running my credit even when I was paying all cash. I have no problem walking out, and actually to me those acts are an indication that I should not be dealing with them. I always try to be in a position that the need for the car is not very urgent.

In my recent car shopping/buying experience I ran into both snake oil type salesmen and several who listened to what I wanted and worked with me in a professional, courteous, respectful manner. For those who were of the latter type, I’ve taken the time to follow up with them since buying the Camry a couple days ago, thanking them for their efforts and telling them that I’ve kept their business cards and will be recommending them to anyone I know who goes car shopping. Obviously they would prefer to have sold me a car to merely hearing that I’m not but I do hope my efforts to be courteous and considerate of their time and efforts is appreciated.

My father was in sales of various products and services most of his life. He taught me the best way was to listen and find out what customers needed and help them buy appropriately. He also taught me not to lie, cheat, steal or defraud and to never knowingly allow others to do so.

The sales people are OK and if they get more money from me it’s because I hand it to them. If I want a better deal I bring my wife with me and let her do most of the talking and let the sales person think I’m the well informed advisor.

I don’t hate them. They’re only trying to make a living. Most are there because they don’t have other marketable skills, they lost their jobs (many due to company closure), or they’re displaced from the “hourly workforce” for other reasons. Most are not dishonest, just trying to make a sale.

I reserve my hatred for people from the financial industry… {:slight_smile: