Has Car Shopping Changed Since "Confessions of a Car Salesman"?



  • lasrenolasreno Member Posts: 3
    After all is said and done, "Ghost of a Car Salesman" is the most comprehensive book ever written on the retail auto level. Unabridged and unedited, it reveals the true vernacular, and mind set of car salesmen.

    Although a bit embellished, it takes the reader behind the scene, like never before told. The read covers a time period from 1956, thru 2005, as it reveals how all consumer laws were violated. This is not a text, but a true account of how dealers rape their customers! You've never read anything like it before.
  • lasrenolasreno Member Posts: 3
    The cover of "Ghost of a Car Salesman" sez it all!!
  • lasrenolasreno Member Posts: 3
    "Ghost of a Car Salesman"

    The most shocking book ever written on the retail car business.

    It will literally blow the reader away!

    by, Louis Newcomb
  • joeverde1joeverde1 Member Posts: 1
    There will always be tricks to the game that the buyer will never know.Being around the business all my life as you go up the ladder in the business you find out more and more.There are only certain things salesmen know about the profit side of the business managers are the ones who control the money on the deals.As for people with bad credit.What the banks are starting to do to the dealers are charging them fees depending on how bad the individuals credit is and they cant be passed on to the customer.So therefore the dealer has to sell the car at the highest amount possible in order to turn a profit.Bank fees can range anywhere from $95-$4000.In the car business its known as a CHOP.Why people cringe about profit being made off of them when buying cars ill never know.Every other business has to make a profit to survive also.Its always been a business where the buyer tries to be smarter than the salesman.Only problem is we talk to hundreds of people a month which makes you gain tons of experience with different kinds of buyers.The best customers that love you and will buy from you everytime are the ones that pay profit.The worst ones are the ones that wanna argue over a set of cheap floor mats just to say at the end of the sale that they won and beat the dealer out of something.Not knowing that later on most will pay premium for parts and services needed later on.
  • richiesantorichiesanto Member Posts: 1
    I worked at a dealership for about a month but not as a salesman. I kind of just told the customers briefly about the cars and then they were passed on to the salesmen.
    Everything you read here is true and maybe a bit too mild. These guys would laugh when they screwed people and thought it was a game.
    An old trick I thought of when I read the balloon thing: when someone came in with their kid (s) and the staff found out their credit sucked, they would give the kids a black balloon. This way, when they went to another dealership, the staff there would get a heads up: "here comes somebody we can really, really screw!"
  • ford_toughford_tough Member Posts: 1
    It kills me that "Wortman" sold three to four cars a month. He was taking up space at a desk, he was not a salesman. I've been selling for years. My number one goal is to do a good enough job to get a permanent customer, and referrals. I never concern myself with how much gross profit there is on any one car deal. The biggest and costliest mistake a consumer can make, is to buy the wrong car. Buying a midsize SUV for example when you've got three young children who will outgrow it in several years can cost you $10,000 dollars. A good salesman presents you with good alternatives, and earns his or her commission. This profession is in no danger of going away, except for individuals and dealerships who don't adapt.
  • kfraser1kfraser1 Member Posts: 1
    This is for the "thatlaoguy" type buyers or want to be buyers. Your lack of knowledge is amazing. You say that you spend hours researching makes, models and pricing but you still have not come up with a way to buy a car. You are so caught up in the "shadyness" of the dealership and the salesperson that you loose sight of what you are trying to accomplish. The salesperson is there for YOU to help you select the right type of vehicle and to have the product knowledge to explain the features and benefits of the vehicle. I am sure that you do not question what you pay for a product at Walmart. You kindly just hand over your hard earned money and leave with a smile all the while Walmart is making 100% profit on you but you fill jilted if the dealership makes a 3% profit (about average per unit). By the way, there is not a "fake" invoice but if you took the time to actually read the invoice in front of you, you will see that it clearly states what the dealer holdback is but instead you have a conspiracy theory about the validity of what you are looking at. The real savy buyers already know what the invoice amount is on a new vehicle and spend very little time negotiating and are probably the happiest customers and will most likely come back to the same dealership and same salesperson when they are ready to make another purchase. Those are the best customers. (repeat customers)
  • trying2help70trying2help70 Member Posts: 2
    I love it when people complain about interest rates of 18 to 24% and they have a credit score of 500. Do they realize that it really isn't the dealership assigning the Apr? It's the bank. When you ask for a loan it's really like this "Mister Banker, I know I've never really paid for anything on time in my whole life but if you'll loan me $30,000 dollars so I can buy a Charger and then promptly go put 24's on it and screw up the transmission before you can repo it I promise you I'll think about paying you a couple payments." If you want lower interest rates, pay your bills and live within your means. It's not a conspiracy by the sales person or the dealership to screw you over.
  • aelfwyneaelfwyne Member Posts: 0
    I did a 3-month stint at a "small town" dealership in 2012. After the "we don't pressure anyone" spiel, they launched us into a training program that was almost exactly like the one described here. Nothing has changed, except the buyers are sometimes better educated about price.

    Seriously, I could sell CARS.. What I could not sell was the dealership and the process. I had more people wringing their hands about how badly they wanted the car I had shown them, but walk when I pulled out the Four Square, or the sales manager would start high balling them on the price and low balling the trade.

    Despite that, I was getting better until they hired 10 new salespeople and threw them on point. This was a dealership with an entire sales staff of 15. One week where almost every sale fell apart based on bad credit scores, where I'd managed to get the buyer to COMMIT but it turned out they couldn't pass finance, and I was let go.

    I talked to salespeople who talked like the previous commenter who says he didn't worry about profit, he just made sure people got the right car. That's a sign of someone who has bought their own sales pitch. A salesperson might be good enough to convince people without a lot of effort, and thus be able to focus his efforts differently than a green pea. However, the moment he stops bringing in the profit is the moment he'll have a lot of free time on his hands.

    Neither this nor the original Confessions article really touches on the REAL reason dealers and salespeople apply so much pressure. The author states that he consoled himself that if he didn't overcharge someone, that someone else would. The real problem is how competitive it is between dealers. If you are honest, you will not eat.

    The guy down the road CAN and WILL do everything in his power to take your customer, including lying, cheating and stealing. Dealers that open up and are REALLY no-haggle/no-hassle rather than just paying lip service, tend to close up rather quickly. If you tell someone their trade is worth $4000, and the guy down the street tells them $6000, then he has the sale. Period. Regardless of the fact that his F&I office turns around and bumps his monthly payment $60 a month to make up for it.

    The only way it will ever get fixed is for people to become properly educated and only do business with those who provide and stick by an honest price for an honest product. That time hasn't come yet, from my experience. There are still plenty of folks who wander onto the lot with no clue to put the cheats out of business yet.
  • phill1phill1 Member Posts: 319
    At 68, I`ve bought (18) "New" Vehicles and and (7) "Used Cars over my Lifetime to Date. Over the past few decades, the phenomenon of "Dealer Prep" "Dealer Fee`s, Addendum Window Stickers, Market Price Adjustment Add-Ons, etc have been pretty well excepted by Consumers in States that allow this practice to continue. It was an slight annoyance when it was a $75 to $125 add on. Now they range from $500 to almost $1000 for what? The Vehicle gets a "Wash Job" and the Buyer gets a "Hose Job". I have never paid a penny, period. When the "Fee" is on the Invoice and due to alleged Legal Claims of Discrimination they say it can`t be waived for one customer and charger for another, I always agree. Fine, just add the amount of the Dealer Fee to the Discount Allowance or Increase the amount of the Trade In to compensate for the (Fee). Can`t be done....simply walk. Another Dealership will gladly take the Sale!
  • streetplayerstreetplayer Member Posts: 1
    After reading the article and several comments, I am obliged to chime in. I've been in the car business for nerly 8 years now, and can confirm some of the article, but contest alot, too.

    First off, one of the commenters mentioned buyers with bad credit and called the car people vultures. Although some people have just fallen into hard times, most of the bad credit people I've encountered are lowlifes who've never paid much of anything in their lives. In that situation, you get the interest rate you've earned. You should also realize that part of the "inflated" pricing is the upfront interest or fee the lender requires because they know there's a strong possibility they'll have to repo the car. Those people also require alot more work on the part of the finance manager as well as after sales work by the salesman.

    Most salespeople are just trying to make a buck. Selling 8-10 cars is average and although payplans vary from dealership to dealership, that might get you $2500-$3000 per month. A real vulture could sit at home and get that from Barack & Co., as opposed to sitting at the lot waiting for an inexperienced snot nosed kid to come in with a stack of papers telling the dealership what they should sell their car for.

    Are there questionable practices used? Sometimes. That's a good reason to find a salesman like "bickatbyers" who you like, trust and can go to if you have a problem. Often times people will buy with a "carbuying" service then show up at a dealership with a car needing service, but not much more. Need a loaner? Sure, if you bought your car here. Oh, you bought from USAA? Maybe they'll provide a loaner...right?

    One last thought: If you're dumb enough to get a key in the mail and go to the dealership expecting to win a car, then end up with a $500 monthly payment on an ovewrpriced used POS, well think of yourself as Forrest Gump...stupid is as stupid does.
  • tgorhamtgorham Member Posts: 1
    This piece was rather amusing to me. Two guys who spent a very short time in the car business. The one being interviewed even stated the dealership he worked at was, "... as old school as you could get."

    So, he chose an "old school" dealer to work for and wants to advise everyone about today's dealers. And he worked there for a short time.... a few weeks.... a few months? Excuse me if I have to smile.

    Mr. Jacobs, it's been a while since your short stint as well. Your playing off (preying off?) a stereotype that is out of date. (You mentioned that, thank you)

    Yes, there are some dealers who still organize their sales in the manner you mentioned. But you fail to acknowledge the transparency and great customer service that has resulted from the Internet. It's these great changes that brought me from the sales floor to the Internet side of this business 13 years ago. I wanted to see them happen, and I have seen them happen.

    Salespeople and the franchise laws are not going to go away. Nobody is interested in buying cars online without touching, feeling, smelling, and driving a very expensive machine.

    As you said, "a good salesman is valuable" and so is a good dealership. Yes it's a for profit business. So is every other business. As someone who actually writes about integrity and customer service within this business myself, I think your line of thought is self motivated and sensationalism. It's certainly in your interests on this blog to perpetuated outdated stereotypes.
  • rustyinvarustyinva Member Posts: 1
    The last 5 vehicles that I have purchased have been with the help of the internet. The worst part of buying any car is the dealer--but they own the state legislature, so the manufacturer have to use them. This won't change until we fire the politicians who protect these dogs.
  • carsalessuckscarsalessucks Member Posts: 1
    A good car salesman sells them what they want. Period. Buying a car is such an emotional event.
  • katie_nkatie_n Member Posts: 11
    As a result of my 75-year-old mom being recently taken for $3,400 over MSRP; $4,000 over dealer's advertised sales price (plus TTL, which the dealership keeps trying use to explain away at least part of the difference), I found both your original piece, and this followup.

    Gotta go, but a guick note first: The original article is True, Current, Timely, and consumers can Still Learn from it. I did.

    Too bad my naive, innocent, ignorant, widowed, 75-yr-old mother didn't get a chance to read it first. Too bad I'm out of pocket too much of the time (like now). But bickatbyers, below, as so many car salesmen are, is full of baloney. Consumers, watch your wallets (and purses).
  • ed108ed108 Member Posts: 39
    I bought a used car last month. It was a late model SUV, the price advertized was $17,000. I went in, test drove it, did a pretty thorough inspection of it, I even got up up on a hoist in their service department. It looked good and I decided to buy. The very first thing I was asked was what I wanted my monthly payment to be. I said let's not worry about payments, let's worry about the price of the car. I offered $14K and went back and forth a little until we agreed on $15,800, which is around what I expected to pay given KBB and NADA values I found online. All fine and good...so I thought. Another sales manager came offer and told me how they have fantastic rates as low as 2.99% and am I sure I don't want to finance? I said no, I don't want to finance, I carry no debt and I don't intend to start today.

    But of course I still had to do the song and dance with the finance guy...even though I paid cash. I was offered extended warranties, pre-paid oil changes, gap insurance, pre-paid car washes, and a hundred other overpriced items I had no intention of buying. And finally I get to the actual invoice and that $15,800 had magically turned into $16,200. The extra $400 was documentation fee and some other BS dealer fees. I told the finance guy you have 3 minutes to remove that $400 or I am walking out the door. He said, well you see state law requires that we charge these fees. I said you have 2 minutes and 30 seconds and the clock is ticking. And magically the sleazebag remembered that it's actually not a state law at all and just pure $400 profit. He removed the $400. But I will bet 95 out of 100 customers just hand over that $400 without blinking an eye.

    Car salesmen commenting on this story keep asking, what other industry do customers expect to pay invoice? Well my reply to them is in what other industry does a $400 "documentation fee" stealthily is added to the final price of a transaction? None. I don't go to the grocery store, but $100 of food and then at checkout pay a $12 documentation fee. Nor does the cashier try to upsell me $500 worth of useless junk. I don't go to the doctor's office and then when leaving, a nurse doesn't keep me in the waiting room for an hour trying to sell me on getting some surgery I don't need.

    Car sales are still by and large performed by sleazy people with no morals. I'm all for everyone in business making a profit. But making a profit is not synonymous with scamming customers.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Come to think of it, the dentist I recently fired tried to upsell me some "fluoride" treatment. (I've also dickered for a bulk order or two at grocery stores....).
  • breeze7breeze7 Member Posts: 12
    I find it amazing as I am sitting at the dealer the mangers and the sales people act like they are the only dealership in town. LOL! like I can't get a better deal some where else. When I hear I have to take your offer to my boss. I just say there is another dealership I have plans to see so I have to leave soon.So please tell your boss I want the out the door price when you come back When the sales person comes back and the price is not what I want I get up and walk out the door. Because there's no way I will sit a dealership for hours going back and forth over deals that don't work for me.
Sign In or Register to comment.