A long, rambling rant written for my pleasure. You are
free to skip it.
Every Blade of Grass has a post up about their car
The retired car sales manager/salesman in me became
irate. Not about the blogger; about the dealerships they visited. What a
pathetic pair of losers!
During a severe downturn in construction circa 1986 I
started selling Suzuki Samurais while waiting for the construction industry to
recover. Ended up spending 30 years, with occasional gaps, in the retail car
biz. Why? Money! I started mid March and
made just short of $50,000 that year. Plus, I was home every night.
Getting hired in the biz is easy. One cynic said, “It is
a job that hires people no one else will hire, to do a job no one wants to do”.
lot of truth there.
My good fortune was starting out working for a hardcore
son of a bitch. You performed, or you were out. He taught me the ways of the “deal”
and to park my ego and personal problems in the employee lot before walking in
People come to a car lot to buy a car/truck. Let them! Spare me
your, “Yah, buts”. Your job is to find a way to make that happen! Store is
closing in ten minutes? Bullshit, the store closes when the last customer
Indulge me in a personal story. I worked for Steve Lance,
aka Little Hitler, in a used pickup and stock or utility trailer lot. A repeat
customer of mine was a young professional bullrider from Wyoming. He traveled
with his wife and children (damn, they seemed set on repopulating the earth) in
an extra cab pickup (I had sold him) with a large slide in truck camper. They
pulled in one night around 7:30 pm and left just short of midnight in a crew
cab dually. We opened the shop, used a hoist to transfer the camper to the new
purchase, and they went down the road to some rodeo in Texas.
This type of a sale wasn’t uncommon. We did, in the words
of the immortal late Jackie B. Cooper (see him on YouTube), “Winners do what
Over the years I made it a point to attend at least two
or more sales seminars put on by Jackie Cooper, Grant Cardone (again, on
YouTube) or others, shelling out greenbacks from my own pocket. Shocking, to
those who know how tight (or cheap, your choice) I am with my money. Why? To
get, “A checkup from the neck up”.
From where I sit, there are few professional salespeople
in new car dealerships. The hardcore mutts are at independent used lots. Why?
Money, of course. I blame the “bean counters”. When you examined a 1990’s era
balance sheet, a number that jumped out was 25%-35% sales commission payout. Oh
boy, we can do some trimming here! What escaped, and continues to escape, these
narrow minded accountants is the word, “commission”. Commission, as in if you
don’t sell anything, you don’t get anything.
Perhaps the worst example of this thinking was Robert
Strange McNamara, Ford Motor Company and LBJ’s Secretary of Defense.
At Ford, the number crunchers determined it was cheaper
to pay out the occasional successful law suit than fix the problem with the
Pinto gas tanks. At the Defense Department, they decided to go with a different
grade of ammo for the M-16 than what it was designed to use (powder
formulation, I believe) to save money. We can only speculate how many soldiers/marines/sailors
died because of that decision.
So, Frank the Tank, in your infinite wisdom, how do you
sell a car?
First contact, meet and greet. “Hello, welcome to DowntheRoad
Motors. Thank you for coming in. I’m the Tank, and you are?”
Now, shut the fuck up and let them talk. They want to
say, “We’re just looking”. Don’t make it easy – puts you way behind the power
Next up, don’t start asking questions. You haven’t earned
that position, yet. No, don’t let them walk the lot on their own. Have
practiced verbiage. “Folks, we have $6,000,000 in unlocked inventory and the
owner doesn’t want people just wandering around. I will follow along, not
bothering you, but available to answer any of YOUR questions”.
(Yeah mutt, are you here to buy a truck, or to snag a
control knob missing from your ride?)
Find, land them on a vehicle. Get them to drive the
vehicle (on your preselected route – not theirs.) During the drive, keep your fucking mouth
shut! That vehicle is a far better salesperson than you. On the way back ask
them if they like the vehicle. With an affirmative response, ask them this. “If
we can make you a great deal on this car, will you drive it home today?’ “Well, we are still shopping”. “I understand,
but you haven’t finished shopping until you see the price, have you?” You may
need to ask this three times a little different each time. Practice!
Get them inside and get it on paper. From that point your
“desk” (sales manager) will work the deal.
Here comes the Yah, but choir. “But, I don’t want to waste my time.
What if they can’t buy?” At this point, and only at this point, do you have a
customer who has decided to buy and doesn’t want to start the process over at
some other lot. Now, you take control and find them a car, with the advice of
the “desk”, that they can buy.
The average sales person will sell one out of six to
eight people they talk to. The best I ever knew was Dirty Al Imhoff, who did
one in three. My records (you do keep records, don’t you?) show I averaged one
I’m glad to be out of the biz, and I’ve enjoyed the other
stuff I’ve done since “retiring”.
In appreciation of those who bothered to read this far,
here are a few tips. The best time to buy a car is the first three business day
of the month (some weekends overlap into the next month). The best time is
right after opening hours. Try to find out who their top salesperson is, and
make an appointment.
OK, why? In the biz, if you are going to have a great
month, you need to jump start it. Most car sales are made in the last week of
the month. The top salespeople know this, and will bust their butts to get
their month started (as in, working the “desk). The sales manager (“desk”)
wants to, “get the store open”. The desk will take any damn deal that isn’t a
loser to, “get one on the board”.
Now, consumer, it won’t be a cakewalk. One hard case
manager put it this way, “I will take any deal that makes us $300, but before I
take it, I will grind the tits off the customer. It is all iron; I can get more
iron. I can’t always get another customer”.
Yes, I know, consumer, YOU DON”T LIKE IT. Tough shit. If
you fight the fight for three hours, and save $800, what does that come out as
an hourly wage?
So, back to unicorns and butterflies. Have a wonderful