Felt Sorry for Car Saleman


I have decided that I no longer need a truck . The thought is to find a small vehicle (new) just for errands and short trips. I met a guy today who may have been a salesman for a very short time. The poor guy spouted all the clichés such as : What would it take to get you in this car today ? - My sales manager and I always makes deals no one else can touch. - Where do you need to be on payments ? - and so on . After the test drive I asked him if the vehicle had a timing belt or timing chain . He opened the hood and pointed at the serpentine belt and said " belt ". I hope he does relate the meeting with someone so he can be better informed , I kept his card and will ask for him if I go back because he was nice and polite and I know what I would pay for the vehicle.


I’ve actually felt sorry for many of them at the dealers where I worked. The BS was laid on those poor guys so deep and so badly I have no idea how they took it for more than 5 minutes.

Everything with them is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario.

Some dealers in OKC have hiring parties so to speak and may hire 50 salesmen at a time. Within two weeks all or most are gone; fired or quit in frustration.


That seems unusually kind,


I’ve met some car salesmen who really knew the products and others who just sold cars and didn’t feel the need to know very much about a particular model. The guy my dad bought his Honda CRV from in 2006 was a really helpful guy and for the few questions he didn’t know the answer to, he’d seek out the info to make sure he was giving Dad the right information.


I have stopped asking them questions about the car mechanics/etc. Just test drive and price. Somehow it feels like the car sales people I have dealt with know less about cars than the average Joe walking down the street. None of them ever understood why I would want to drive a stick shift.


I guess I just don’t expect them to know much about their cars. Mine didn’t know I had electric power steering when I was trying to find out if the fluid I had on hand was the right stuff.


I’ve only bought one car and three motorcycles. The experience with the guy who sold me my car was professional and relaxed, and I might even look him up to see if I can buy my next car from him.


I bought my last 3 cars from the same saleswoman, because she was knowledgeable about the cars that she was selling, and she was very honest and above-board. When I was in the process of shopping for my last car, I had already done my due diligence, so I knew what a “good” price for the car–with all of my selected options–would be.

I signed the vehicle order with that saleswoman and went back home, at which time I took a closer look at the bottom-line price and realized that it was ~$3k less than the price that anyone else was quoting. So, back I went, and it turned-out that even though she had listed the optional six-cylinder engine on the sales agreement, she hadn’t included the cost of the optional engine.

Everyone loves a low price, but this was clearly a mistake on her part and if I allowed this deal to proceed, she would have had to pay the difference from her own pocket, and I couldn’t live with myself if I allowed that to happen. So, she recalculated the price, and threw in one of my options without cost as her way of saying thanks.

At the time, she did seem to be occasionally confused (unlike her earlier self) and the way that she wrote-up the vehicle order was confirmation of her confusion, but I didn’t think too much of it at the time. As it turned-out, she had to quit a few months later as a result of worsening confusion, and the sales manager later told me that she was in the throes of dementia.

I am really saddened that disease robbed this once-vital woman of her faculties, but I am proud of myself for not taking advantage of her dementia.


I lease cars frequently, mainly because I have a relationshio with one certain dealership. I met my current salesperson at his previous position. I like to calculate the lease and I can even print the form in 4 colors. (waste of colored ink) I did so on a 2008 Honda Pilot. The dealership used a tower where the sales managers sit on an elevated platform and overlook the salesfloor. I took my calculations to the tower and asked them to “grade my homework”. Vern the salesmanager said my residual was wrong. It was not, I used the 2008 number and Vern used the 2009 figure.
I pointed the mistake out to the salesman. He asked Vern to confirm the deal. He did and I signed. The next day the salesman asked me to come in and sign a new lease. They had to correct the residual and couldn’t change the money factor. They had to lower the selling price by $2700.
I offered to unwind the deal. They declined and said Vern had been instructed to squeeze $2700 out of the next few used car buyers. Did I feel sorry for Vern? Not for one minute.


Some years ago I heard a profile of the most-successful car salesman in America. His ‘secret’ was that he spent no more than 20 minutes on any customer; if the customer didn’t buy in 20 minutes, he abandoned him/her.

No dealer pays a salesperson for anything other than selling cars. Dealers make money by selling cars. If an ignorant salesforce is more profitable, that’s what customers pay for.

This is another symptom of a population that doesn’t really want to own cars, consistent with the rise of self-driving cars and leasing.


When I was at the dealer, there was also rapid turnover among salespeople, as the other guys already mentioned

There were 2 guys who were there for many years and seemed to be fairly successful

One guy cornered the market of a certain ethnic group, because he was literally one of them and spoke many of the dialects

Another guy simply focused on volume. He figured that a lot of cars sold for a fairly low price were better than haggling too long and probably losing a bunch of customers. Unsold cars sitting on the lot aren’t making money for anybody. He rightfully figured that he’d quickly accept reasonable offers, and thus be ready for the next customer. And it worked for him

I remember one time a newer sales person came running into the shop. She approached the first mechanic, and it happened to be me. She asked me what the hp, torque and 0-60 times were for a particular car. I told her to beat it, because my job is to fix them, not memorize numbers which don’t help me in any way. She wasn’t there but a few weeks.


I checked into selling cars once when I was much younger. It was a really, really rotten job. I don’t know how anybody can survive with the skewed compensation system the industry has created. But I earned why turnover is astronomical.


This vehicle shopping is getting interesting. The last 3 purchases were almost enjoyable but this one is not. One salesman actually looked up the vehicle that we had seen online and brought the wrong one to us. Yesterday we found one we both liked and then the manager came in and said the salesman had given the wrong rebate amount which made a 3000.00 difference so we walked.

One place had a ADP ( additional dealer prep ) sticker - Nitrogen 99.00 window tint 299.00 door guards and trim 329.00 .


If I see those stickers on the windows of cars at a dealership, I immediately ask if I can order a car w/o those unwanted add-ons. If the answer is “no”, I immediately walk out.


What a story. Reaffirms my faith in humanity, if only for a day.


It’s not just car salesmen. I recall going to Sears years ago to shop for an appliance and realizing that just from having read the catalog entry (you remember the Sears catalog, don’t you?) I knew more about the salesman’s products than he did.


… and nowadays, if you want to find an appliance salesperson at Sears, you will probably have to send out a search party…


Some years back as a single dad, I had to buy a washing machine. I went to the independent appliance store where my parents had purchased their appliances. This store had an excellent service department and I knew one of the repairmen from the time I was in junior high school as he serviced my parents’ equipment. The salesperson showed me several models. I then asked if I could speak with the repairman I knew from the service department. She called the repairman out from the service area. I asked him which washing machine I should buy. He pointed to the one he thought was the most durable and I told the saleswoman to write it up.
Sometimes I think this would be the way to buy a car–ask the mechanic which cars are the most reliable and most easy to work on.


…an interesting “read” on car sales, courtesy of public radio.


But some people want a lot of doodads . . .

What if the mechanic points to a bare bones model?

Imagine if the customer has already convinced himself that he wants a british luxury car, and merely wants confirmation that it’s reliable and easy to work on . . . ?

And instead the mechanic points to an econobox

The customer might not be able to wrap his head around that

I have known MANY people that assume luxury brand vehicles must be super reliable. Somehow, they figure that if it costs a small fortune, the car must be better in every way, including reliability. I’ve told them many times that their logic doesn’t always hold up, but more often than not, they didn’t really want to hear any opinions that don’t mirror their own :smirk: