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Stories from the Sales Frontlines



  • My brother and his wife wanted an 06 Odyssey Touring in Black (very hard to find in Calif.) I told him I'd do all the research for him... he's in Northern Calif. and I'm in Southern Calif.

    This car is selling for $3-4K OVER sticker.. yep.. over sticker because of the black.

    I sent out emails to about 25 Honda dealers all over Calif. with a canned mail... listed the specs and said if you have the car, email me and I'll give you my phone number and if you don't don't bother.

    Of course I got several of the "how about white" or "do you really want Touring" emails ... I deleted those.

    One dealer said he didn't have any but located 3 in the state and sent me those dealer names.

    I got a great deal from one of them (was in Southern Calif. by me) and my brother did the deal by phone / fax / wire transfer and they released the car to me and I drove it up.
  • Thats a good story. One thing that you might be aware of or might not...for future Honda reference; we can physically change the color of a similar car in "Build status" I just did this for a Touring RES/NAV in Nighthawk Black. We changed it from Ocean Mist to Nighthawk BK and the customer is totally thrilled...and at $300 under invoice.

    The canned email/fax approach is so old. You might want to change that for next time. Ugh...

    Dear Mr Sales Manager,

    I have never shopped at your dealership and have not made any contact with any salesman...blah blah.

    A personal email approach is far better. Glad it worked out for them.
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    here is a prime example!

    a dealer emailed her with a list of dealerships with a certain trim and color and she bought it from somewhere else.

    the dealership gave you the locations of the van you wanted and you wouldnt even buy it from them and have them locate it for you!

    Did you call that dealership after the sale and say something like: "Oh thanks for the info. I took it and went somewhere else and gave them my business."

    I doubt it.
  • biancarbiancar Mid-AtlanticPosts: 918 sounded to me like the dealer expected her to buy her car from one of the other dealerships. He TOLD her where the van was located; he didn't offer to do a dealer trade.

    Although I agree, it would certainly have been a courtesy to say "Thank you for the information; I bought my car from XYZ Honda as you said they had what I wanted, and I will be glad to recommend both your shop and XYZ to any of my friends and family."
  • exb0exb0 Posts: 539
    Are you really selling Odysseys for $300 under invoice? Where in MD are you? How much under invoice for EX RES/NAV? I’ll make sure I’d include you in my spam list a year from now when my wife’s Odyssey lease expires. I live in NOVA.
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    Invoice or close to it, don't forget the rebate.
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    there are no rebates on Hondas.
  • You need to re-phrase that. There are no rebates to customers directly from Honda. Honda does have dealer cash, which we can pass on to the customer.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,830
    " Honda does have dealer cash"

    Why would you say this? This does happen from time to time on certain models but not very often!
  • Isell

    To make a definative staement like "Honda does not have rebates" would be incorrect. Dealer cash isn't a secret as you well know. Here on the East coast things are very competitive and Dealer cash gets thrown into the mix quickly. You ra right about it not being often and I am glad that it isn't an advertised rebate, as this would effect the trade values.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,830
    It's competitive here too.

    It's just that you have to pick your words carefully in these forums or people may come to the conclusion that there is always dealer cash on Hondas which is FAR from reality.
  • Certainly you're not saying that some of the folks here on the world wide web, can take things out of context or make assumptions?

    Say it isn't so Isell! :)
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194

    Oooh. 500 dealer cash. Not like a 5000 rebate and 0% for 72 like GM is running.

    I just had a customer choose a 05 Demo Trailblazer over a 06 Pilot.

  • Hope they never plan to sell it.
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194

    forget selling it....hope they dont try to trade until its paid off. They could probably flip onto a new lease in about 4 years, but they are done for a long time.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,585
    I recently bought, fixed up, and then sold an 91 Civic Si w/ 210k miles; I'm sure I've crowed about it enough in these parts to give many details.

    But selling it was kinda funny, so here goes.
    I put an ad in the paper that conveniently left out the miles -- something I always thought was sissy -- on the advice of a friend of mine who should know. So of course the phone rings off the hook, and then 2/3 of the people aren't interested because of the miles. Then there was the guy who didn't want it because the AC didn't work... the gentleman may have been new to 15-year-old cars, I dunno.

    On the day before I left for 10 days of vacation, I get a call from a guy who wants to check the car out... he lives 10 minutes from where i work, he knows where it is, and he'll meet me in the parking lot at ten after four... so like an idiot I head out there at 16:10, sit around for ten minutes, then go back inside. Another day selling used cars, I thought.

    Well, when I come back out an hour later, there he sits in a tricked-out and elderly Eclipse, which turns out to be borrowed. Can he look at the car? He cannot; I gotta run home. Can he follow me home and check it out there? He cannot; I've got another gentleman coming to look at it in a few minutes. By this time he started to annoy me, seeing as how he wasn't on time, so I tell him to step closer, and fire up the engine and rev it a few times... sounds really good, and I can tell he REALLY wants the car. In fact, he tells me he's got the money on him, he doesn't have a car (that runs), and he wants to buy the Civic if drives 1/2way decent. I say, call me at six; the other guy may not show.

    Well, he calls at six -- the other guy DID show but didn't offer enough money -- and he finally comes by at six thirty. In a 20-year-old Camry rustbucket, also borrowed. He does not even bring a flash light, so I let him use mine. We drive, he likes, and he really wants it... I get the feeling he'll pay the full asking price, but I do have a heart, even if it's a small one...

    He asks me, what's the least I'll take? I tell him make me an offer and you'll find out. $1,600 he says. Great I think, this car is sold and now let's see if he'll go another $100... so I tell him I need $1,750, which is a good price in this market, no?
    Instead of countering, he says kinda sheepishly, I only brought hundreds... I came this close to telling him OK, $1,800 even... but instead I told him gimme eighteen hundred, I'll give you sixty, and no harm done...

    It is amazing the people you meet when selling old jalopies.

  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    Rebate - dealer cash. Not much diff if the buyer knows about it.

    2006 Ridgeline. $1,500 'dealer cash'. Purchase price is about $1,750 UNDER INVOICE. I guess the dealer has some other source for the additional $250. And invoice price doesn't seem to bother him very much.
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    I was responding to a Subaru shopper.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    Folks, this discussion is for sales stories, please. We have these topics:
    Rebates, Incentives, APRs - Questions & Comments
    Dealer Holdback questions

    for the other questions. Thanks!


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    Consumers are strange, the day they buy a car they brag about how they got $5K off the $30K sticker but when they come to trade they tell you it was a $30K car just two years ago :confuse: :P
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    Q. What do car buyers and car sales people have in common?

    A. You should not believe a word either of them say.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Buyers are liars. :confuse:
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    No, Brit, not all buyers are liars.

    However, I believe there exists at least one buyer who might tell one lie to you.

    That buyer may be the one sitting in front of you right now, and what he is saying may be the one lie that he will tell. Therefore, you should not believe what your buyer says.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    Exactly now can I have some more sir my head is crooked.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    I sure hope you aren't selling cars in Florida. Just by that statement, my perception of car salesmen makes me feel more defensive about the whole car buying experience now. I think you are in the wrong business with that kind of attitude actually. Why would you work at a job with such a poor attitude towards your customers, which you are there for the purpose of making them see the value of your product. I seem to remember Mackabee saying that a salesman needs to hear and listen to the customer and their wants and needs and show them the product in such a way so they will recognize the value of their purchase for the intended purpose. Does this make sense at all?
    When we bought our last car this past July, our internet salesman was upfront and very straight with us. He knew from the get go what we wanted and as far as I can tell, we got the car for a fair price that we could all live with. If not, they would never have agreed to the deal. Was there money left on the table? Probaly, but we got what we considered a fair price and they got a fair profit. It was a very painless and short procedure. I would definitely go back to him, and I've even tried to steer business his way.
    I'm very sorry to hear that your attitude is so poor towards your "potential clients". What a way to go through the workday!!!

    The Sandman :confuse:
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,585
    Oh, I dunno...

    The mantra "buyers are liars" is heard throughout retail.

    It's true, too.
    It doesn't mean what it says, it means, "listen carefully to your customers, and try to find out what they REALLY want."

    It means, when someone says "I don't care about gas mileage", do they drive 4,000 miles a year and really don't care... or are they trying to justify buying the V10 when they might be happier with the V8?

    If they say "we don't have a trade", do they really not have a trade or are they just defensive? Or have they listened to Consumer Report's perfectly idiotic advice "don't mention your trade-in 'til the end".

    That sort of thing.

    I actually first heard the line in real estate.

    It's not that we were lying when we told our realtor we didn't want to spend more than 100k, maybe 110.... it's just that we bought a house for 135... that was a decade ago... we're glad we did...

  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Whew, thx stein13. I was about to jump in with sandman and sound off about the condescending tone.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    I figured someone would get all offended about that statement but it is a very common sentiment in retail as stated by stein13.

    Now not all buyers are flat out liars but everyone leaves out information or stretches the truth a little and you just have to work around that.

    I have delt with people before that just flat out lied to me and that just makes everything wondeful.

    For example was working with a father and daughter on a 2004 Lexus RX330 we had used for sale. Now the father had bought a lexus from us about 6 months previously which is why he brought his daughter in. Referals are always nice and things were going fine. We put a number on her trade a little A6 wagon with a ton of miles. Nice shape but just way too many miles. I think we put about $5,500. We were asking 37,xxx for the RX330. The father comes around and offers us 20,000 plus the trade OTD. I was offended we don't have that kind of mark up in any of our used cars no one does. I try to ask as polietly as possibly where they heck did that number come from.

    He goes well that is about what I paid for my RX six months ago. I am not gonna let you rob my daughter blind. Hmhh now I am confused I know there is no way he paid that little for the RX but I didn't work on his deal the sales guide that helped him is gone. So me and the Centre manager look up his deal in the computer system. He did pay about 25,500, was actually a little over 26,000, OTD for his Lexus. His lexus was a 2003 though and an RX300 with a lot more miles. A completly and totally different vehicle then the 2004 RX330 his daughter was looking at.

    Now did he lie or was he just confused and/or mistaken? I don't see how anyone could confuse a RX300 for a RX330 they don't look anything alike. Even if he did get confused and think they were the same model common sense tells you that a one year new model car with half the miles is not going to cost less then his car.
  • basscadetbasscadet Posts: 146
    I worked at a dealership that does not negotiate at all (Carmax). Therefore, there is no need to play sales games or get into sales pressuring. I never once called a customer at their home or harassed them when they didn't want me around.

    Yet I would still have customers flat out lie to me. At least a few big lies every week. To be perfectly honest, working in sales just reinforced my beliefs that a good chunk of human beings are miserable, unhappy people who will tread on others for their own gain.

    Go to your local grocery store...notice how rude people can be ahead of you in line. Some poor gal making $7 an hour as a checker and she can be bright and sunny yet the shopper will never say thank you or even look the cashier in the eyes as she rings up their groceries.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    " that a good chunk of human beings are miserable, unhappy people who will tread on others for their own gain. "

    Amen. I sold an item on ebay and the guy put in a dispute resolution and has lied through his teeth about the issues. Luckily, he's pretty stupid about computers and doesn't realize all email is tracked and saved.
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