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Stories from the Sales Frontlines



  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    I was soo impressed with this and then he told me to take her home overnight and try everything except the airbags.

    I did all of this and guess what I bought???

    Did the puppy dog close work?
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,480
    A friend of mine has left dealerships if the car had over "10" miles on it.

    Must be hard for him to buy a car. Just transporting it and checking it out after peeping it can eat up 10 miles easily.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    You should know this. A lot of dealerships work on an "up" system. The salespeople take turns waiting on the customers who come in. If it's a serious shopper or someone killing time with no intensions of buying anything, that salesperson has to wait on that "customer".

    Gone to same Honda dealer for many years to buy and service our various Hondas. When getting an oil-change, will wander from seating area in customer lounge (boredom) to sales room. Always interested in what is on floor. Will usually be approached and I will tell them "am having an oil change". Most sales people will talk a little bit to confirm that indeed I have absolutely no interest in a new car at this time and then they are very polite and say usual "If you have any questions....". Then they will leave me alone. Once on a low customer day apparently, struck up a conversation with salesperson on new Ridgeline, told him I absolutely do not want/need a pickup, but he offered a test drive anyway which I took.

    Wonder how rotation of sales people works when customers who are in for service are merely walking around aimlessly in sales rooom. Does salesperson who approaches and talks to oil-change customer then go to back of rotation or is there an agreement with dealer/staff that that salesperson still stays at front of rotation?
  • golicgolic Posts: 714
    I so agree, in fact when I took delivery of my last car it was the first time in my life I had a car "under 10".

    But this guy is one of those adamant "old school" people who has advice for everyone whether they need it or not. And one of his mantra's is a car over 10 is no longer new. Makes no sense, I just nod and say thank you.
  • au1994au1994 GAPosts: 1,685
    In my younger more baby faced days, I was looking at Toyota trucks and had to go to the show room and ask to be helped after crawling all over a truck for 10-15 min untouched.

    I think they were hung up on my apperance. Like I said, I was young (24) and looked younger and being that it was a nice spring day,had on shorts, t shirt and baseball hat. So maybe I did not have a serious buyers look.

    Who knows, maybe it was just this dealers style. It was kinda nice actually to get a few moments of peace to look the vehicle over and collect my thoughts.

    Solo test drives are great as well. Nothing annoys me more than the "feeling out" talk on a test drive: "where do you work?" "For how long?" "any family?" "Live around here?" "Own a house?" I like to concentrate on other things on the test drive.

    I'm sure it would tick the sales guy off, but just once, I'd love to say "Well, I just got layed off last month, lost the house so me, the wife and 6 kids are living with mom" just to see what the reaction would be.

    I know there is a method to the madness to see if you are a real buyer, but let me drive in peace!

    2008 Toyota Land Cruiser White over Tan
    2017 BMW X1 Jet Black over Mocha

  • pmerk28pmerk28 Posts: 121
    "His lexus was a 2003 though and an RX300 with a lot more miles. A completely and totally different vehicle then the 2004 RX330 his daughter was looking at."

    Come on. Salesperson speak at it's finest. The RX 330 looks a little different from the RX300. The RX 330 replaced the RX 300. Perhaps to Lexus and yourself it's "Completely and totally different" but to most of us out here it's the same thing with cosmetic updates and a better motor. It's not the like the guy had an ES 300 and was trying to make the comparison.

    Just like my Mercury salesperson kept telling me the Mountaineer is totally different than an Explorer. If I went back today he'd tell me a Milan is completely different than a Fusion and the Montego is a totally different car than the 500.
  • golicgolic Posts: 714
    I use the test drive as my way to "interview" the saleman.

    So, in the car I turn around all the questions without answering and find out about there family, how long at "this" dealership, how long selling cars. What car do they drive how is the month going, the quarter etc.

    This gives me a feel for when we get back. I know the less experience the "longer" the haul I am in for, since the SM will want the newby to gain experience.

    The professional, well I will keep my antenna's up and try a more direct approach.

    Some people don't like asking questions and this is just another tactic by the salesman to put you at ease. But just about everyone loves to talk about themselves, and if you turn your answers into questions you can change the conversation flow very easily.

    Example: Last test drive-

    First Question was: So Golic what kind of work are you in.

    Answer: I am Killer, how many bodies do you think I can get back there with the seats down? Well seriously, how much cargo is back there?

    How does that compare with competition car?

    Based on answer - you follow up with you are knoweldgable have you been at this dealership long? How long you been selling cars? What does your wife think of the late hours?....
  • au1994au1994 GAPosts: 1,685
    Great answer to question one Golic!

    Question to all the salesmen out there:

    I would like to get rid of my 4Runner for something more fuel efficient. I'm very interested in the Subaru Outback, maybe even the Forester. However, financially, I can't pull the trigger until the end of the year.

    Knowing this, how would you feel if I came onto your lot this weekend for a test drive/tire kicking session. For me, I just want to kill some time, satisfy my curiosity and just generally get a feel for the vehicles to see if I'm barking up the right tree.

    At the same time, I want to be respectful to the dealership and the salesman and not waste their time. Afterall, this is potentially a dealer I'll be doing business with in the future.

    So whats the verdict? Ok with this? Tick you off?

    2008 Toyota Land Cruiser White over Tan
    2017 BMW X1 Jet Black over Mocha

  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    Wait. Unless you are prepared to try to be sold.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    Many Land Rovers come in with over 15 miles on them anyway. So people like that are never going to buy a Land Rover.

    Between 30 and 45 miles is pretty standard on a Range Rover. LR3's and sports will have less.

    We don't charge anything for it but if the car had a full tank to begin with we ask that it be returned with a full tank. We get overnights more often for used cars then new so the mileage is not much of an issue. Also keep in mind we have 10 service loaners cars that are all LR3's of various option levels to loan out for overnights.

    I think I have mentioned the story about the couple that test drove and bought a Range Rover with 189 miles on it. They knew it had 189 miles on it and after having gas put in it and being test driven a second time by a tech to confirm everything was ok on it the miles at deliver was 214 or so. They freaked out right in the middle of delivery yelling in the dealership about bait and switch and trying to sell them a USED car. How they could never buy a USED car. Luckily we had a similar car on the lot, same color combination with an extra option I think, that we switched them into. I don't know if this was their negotiation tactic to get that extra option without paying for it or what. They really just make themselves look like fools.
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 878
    a little bit of car consulting [mostly for friends] on the side. I have also held various sales jobs. The biggest turn off for me, as well as the biggest sales killer is judging by looks as far as who and will not be a buyer. The best and most successful sales people IMO are those who treat everyone as a potential customer for life, and get to know people and potential customers with that in mind. I'm 35 years old but look a little younger. I'm not interested in dressing to impress. It's also a little tiring to have a car salesman that knows less about what he's selling than I do. I agree with you Golic. I like to ask a lot of the same questions to the salesperson. Asking questions puts you in control of the situation.
    I have to think that selling American brands right now has got to be a downer for most salespeople. The prices are so diluted that there is barely any room for profit for anyone. You are selling a product based mostly on price rather than engineering, or reliability. [Please no tired responses about how lack of American Quality is a conspiracy perpetrated by the liberal media.] It seems that very little is required to sell American autos as well as a lot of those price driven brands [Suzuki, Kia, etc]
    I once had a Ford salesman tell me that I needed to take control of my relationship with my wife so that I could buy a new Mustang :confuse: He wasn't kidding. The quality of service at German manufacturers has been much higher in my experience due to the fact that "most" of their customers tend to be driving enthusiasts, or very interested in engineering.
    Just my two cents.......D
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    The opposite always baffles me. The other night I spent a good 10-15 minutes examining an F150 on the floor in a mid-size Ford showroom. I'm 50 years old and was, if not well dressed, at least not wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Although plenty of sales personnel were around, none approached me. The vehicle was a new 2005 that had been fitted with a custom leather interior (apparently for a specific customer and the deal fell through). I would have thought that they really, really would want that unit gone but apparently not.

    I then walked all the way through the showroom and out to puruse other F150s in a long line. Then walked clear back across the lot and departed. No one ever approached me.
  • thebillthebill Posts: 194
    It was unfortunate that no one atleast asked if how they could assist you, however, one quick question: Would you have bought it if everything had worked out to your satisfaction?
  • mphinesmphines Posts: 2
    no matter what brought you in to the dealership you are still a potential sale. normally you are considered a"up"even though you say you do not want a truck at all.
  • cluedweaselcluedweasel Posts: 150
    At my place talking to service customers never counted. The "up" system there always did cause a little consternation though. Who wanted to be stuck at the up desk on a bell day? Once I was stuck from 8:30am through to 6:00pm and then got stuck with a stroker. Of course the next guy in at 6:20 or so buys a fully loaded G35 Coupe at full sticker. Whoever got in first was first on the up list so during the week it was a battle to see who could come in late enough not to be first up but not late enough to get fined. At the weekend it was the opposite.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    You can choose to argue if the RX300 and 330 are different vehicles if you want but they are totally differant and anyone who has driven the two back to back will tell you that. The RX330 is a improvment over the RX300 in everyway except for rear visibility. The Rear visiblity in the RX330 is worse then in the RX300.

    Even if you want to claim that they aren't really different vehicles I think you can agree that a vehicle that has half the miles and is one model year newer then another identical vehicle will not sell for the same price. You have to pay for those 9500 little miles and you have to pay for that one newer model year not matter what vehicle it is.
  • pmerk28pmerk28 Posts: 121
    I agree with you on everything you said I just thought you embellished a bit, but you did acknowledge that the guy may have not realized it. Certainly when a vehicle does "enter the next generation" the previous model year of the last usually 3 or 4 year cycle isn't going to be worth as much as it normally would be unless the redesign is extremely unpopular. In the RX 330's case it obviously was not an unpopular redesign.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    Hey may have not realized it but common sense still tells you one model year newer and half the mileage is not going to be the same price.
  • golicgolic Posts: 714
    This is why I caution people from buying the last of the prior year model. IE, I bought the 2005, the 2006 is no different and it was $500 cheaper.

    Yes, but next October you have a "two" year old car, not a one year car. If you are someone who is going to trade that car in, in 2-4 years, you are going to loose alot more than $500 on the depreciation.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    Yeah it is only a good idea to buy the left over of a previous model year if you are going to lease and the residuals have held up or if they are supporting the lease enough that it is not cheaper to lease the current model year.

    If there is significant marketing support behind the left over models then it would be ok, we have 5000 dollars of rebates for left over 2005 LR3's for example, or if you are going to keep the car for a long time like over 5 years.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,480
    Oh I don't know if that would hold true for everyone. I for one typically drive cars until they fall apart. I have bought three cars that were from the previous model year and saved a ton of money on each (more than $500). Sure they were "two" years old (by model years) after a year. But since I keep cars for 6 or 7 or 8 or more years and put 150+ miles on them it really doesn't matter.

    Sure if your going to turn it around in a few years it hurts you, but there are plenty of us that drive cars into the grave.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • au1994,
    If you came to our dealership and you told us up front that you were just looking and gathering information we would treat you as if you has said you were there to buy. Now I can't tell you that every single sales person would be happy that you are there to just look but I can tell you that if you came across as an honest potential future customer then there shouldn't be any problem at all. I find it funny that so many people automatically assume that "ALL" car sales people have the attitude of "Oh boy, I'm gonna take this person to the bank". It's not true, in fact it's far from the truth. As in any sales position, it is hard work, long hours and very few pats on the back. People will complain that cars cost to much and that car salesmen are thieves, yet they'll go to McDonalds and pay a 400% mark up for a big mac meal. Car's and Big Mac's both depreciating items, yet if I remember correctly I have never gotten any money back on a used Big Mac.
  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    If you're upfront and honest about it, and it isn't busy, sure, let's take one for a ride!
  • jmurman42jmurman42 Posts: 675
    Is it acceptable to lie during any part of the the car deal?

    We get alot of Internet inquiries and quite a few that we receive have bogus names. Although we treat these people the same as someone who is upfront with us, we very rarely have any one with one of these googy named leads come into the dealership.

    So, is that acceptable?
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ... **alot of Internet inquiries and quite a few that we receive have bogus names. Although we treat these people the same as someone who is upfront ... **

    Your making a good point ..... the internet is a wonderful thing ... but what most "real" buyers don't understand is (their email might be very legit and they are real deal buyers.!) .. but they are also being scrutinized because the last 80 out of the last 100 were bogus ...

    In just the last 2 or 3 years you have salespeople that wanted the internet job so bad they couldn't see straight .. now, your lucky to keep one on for 2 months, maybe ..... when this started a few years back dealers thought they hit the lottery .. now it's almost a curse .... the good majority of buyers pay for the bad minority -- but, isn't that the way it always goes ....?

  • raybearraybear Posts: 1,795
    I tried lowballing what I thought was a fake one time...he turned out to be real! Lucky for me he switched cars.
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    I use this approach, after having consulted with Terry, the Car G-d, and it's worked like a charm. I only e-mail when we've decided on a particular car and we've been pretty lucky, they have all agreed to my offers. Terry's been dead on with the trade and the # on the new car to do the deal. Have had 3 great car buying experiences. The problems seem to occur with the warranty work however. Nissan is playing hardball right now with 10 weeks left on my 3/36.
    I sure do hope that the internet salesman don't assume that we're all goofballs when we e-mail. And now that I'm partially handicapped, e-mails keep me more comfortable longer, which means less trips to the dealers, as walking is sometimes very difficult for me. Works for me!

    The Sandman :)
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    I am working on developing a packet that I will send to the local real estate offices. We have a ton of real estate agencies in our little valley here and I have several as customers already.

    After talking with them and doing some research of my own I have concluded that the LR3 is the perfect vehicle for a real estate agent. It is the smallest SUV, in terms of length and width, that can seat seven 6 foot 1 adults. You can save 106 addresses into the navigation system that can be selected via voice only. It has heated front and rear seats and will get through any weather condition.

    So my question is have any of you done something similar to this? Have you identified a vehicle that fits well with a certain demographic and/or proffesion and actively tried to seek these people out?

    If so do you have any tips and what was your sucess level?

    Question for the non-sales people. If you recivied a packet like this that was tastefuly and proffesionaly done what would you think of it?
  • black_tulipblack_tulip Posts: 438
    Question for the non-sales people. If you recivied a packet like this that was tastefuly and proffesionaly done what would you think of it?

    Nothing, I would just throw it in the trash.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    Fine that is one opinion.

    But I am not sending this to someones home address I am sending this to a business and a specific type of business. Real Estate agents are sales agents too and will appreciate things a little differently then the average person.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ... **I am working on developing a packet that I will send to the local real estate offices. We have a ton of real estate agencies in our little valley here and I have several as customers already.**

    It's a very good idea ... but you need to make sure there is follow-up via phone and/or a second packet in 30 days ....

    We've done this now for the last 10 years and have had very good results ... we not only cover the real estate sector, but the marine manufacturers, big air conditioning companies (heating companies in your area .l.o.l.) and the large roof and plumbing business for cargo vans ...

    Usually I send out 10,000 packets all in color and pictures of their "actual" company with the vehicle cut and pasted in their parking lot - which really gets their attention .....

    The return has been just shy of 11%, and that doesn't include the sister we sold the van to, the guy who needed a convertible, the owner who wanted a sports type, etc, etc ...... I really don't have a firm grip on that particular figure, but the Ad agency thinks it's been good for another 5% .. I think it's more like 2/3% ... but I'll take it ...

    It only works if there is follow-up .... if not, it's a waste of $$ ....

    Terry ;)
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    Yeah follow up is always the key I know and I also know I do not follow up as well as I should sometimes.

    Our store is kind of at a turning point. We have two sales guides but our handling enough traffic that we almost need a third. If we had a third now one of us would starve just no way around it. If we could bring in someone part time untill we build up a little more traffic that would be ok but for a full time position we don't have the volume yet.

    When Land Rover launches the replacment for the Freelander in the fall then we will defnietly need a third sales guide. Untill that time we are just going to have to pick and choose the follow up or hire a third person and one guy will starve.
  • cluedweaselcluedweasel Posts: 150
    I did something very similar for both the FX45 and QX56 a while back. It did generate a lot of interest, a good many test drives and 11 sales on the FX and 6 sales on the QX. Not huge but they were sales I wouldn't have made otherwise.
    Now, as a business owner myself, if I was to receive a similar packet I would definitely look at it. If it was targeted at my needs I would probably follow up. One thing I'm short of, and the same goes for many self-employed people, is time. Target the car at me, offer to bring it to my offices for a test drive and offer good pricing with a minimum of drama and I would probably buy.
    One last tip on the packet. Make sure they ask for you if they come in. Despite having my name and photo on the info, folks would still wander in and talk to whoever was up and there went half a deal :(
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    Thanks for the tip. I am considering including some multi media aspect to it as well. I have a little bit of video editing skills, access to a huge library of cool Land Rover footage and a DVD burner.

    I am going to start with real estate offices in our little valley area that are 15-20 min drive away from our dealership and then work my way out as time goes by.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    In addition to the main packet, try to do some drip marketing. Little e-mails, postcards, etc. with current information on models and promotions.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    The Style section of the Washington Post had a very interesting article about a guy who sells Hondas in Bethesda MD. He sells over 300 cars a year. He is from South America and has only been selling cars for about 5 years. In the article it seems like he specializes in selling to people of Latin American heritage. He treats his customers very nicely and they keep buying cars from him.

    Supposedly he makes between $150K and $250K a year.

    I'm not sure what to think about this. Is he a great guy because he makes his customers so happy? Or is he not so great because he uses their ignorance to get them to pay more than they should? Anyway, it is a very good article.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    Or is he not so great because he uses their ignorance to get them to pay more than they should?

    Did the article say he does this or is it a presumption on your part?

    Plenty of dealerships have salespeople who specialize in certain languages/ethnicities. It makes recent immigrants comfortable to do the deal with someone they can relate to. As for paying too much, word gets around in communities of new immigrants quickly. He wouldn't be doing so well if he were doing anything shady.
  • bobstbobst Posts: 1,783
    It was a presumption on my part.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... Speaking of Washington (huh.?) .......

    It's really more common than you would think .... being in a "Área de habla Hispana del país" it can be a great benefit ....

    About 9 years ago I had hired a young lady that was of Middle East decent and she did famously ... she's now gone on to DC and she's the 3rd highest producer with Met Life ...

  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    *** It's really more common than you would think .... being in a "Área de habla Hispana del país" it can be a great benefit .... ****

    People buy from people that they are COMFORTABLE with ... Comfort may include language, common beliefs, membership in the same church. etc.

    When I was living in Mexico a decade ago, I usually hunted down the waiters and salesman who could speak English (or could understand my butchery of the Spanish language.
  • golicgolic Posts: 714

    I would go to a local real estate office and introduce yourself. Real Estate agenst are a very strange bread, and they often will assemble together.

    Often an agent when initially listing a house will do an AGENT showing. Where during a 2-3 hour window they open the house only two agents. Sometimes, they serve lunch at this things, but if a real estate agent REALLY wants to draw a crowd, they will do a "door prize" By giving $50 away every 1 hour by drawing an agents card out of a "fish bowl"

    Introduce yourself to the agent and ask if you can attend the next agent showing so you can pass out your packets and answer any questions individualy. Then as a gesture of thanks Your Dealership will Sponsor the Door Prize.

    So rather than gamble on $100 of postage you get face to face time with real agents. Also, if you can bring a nice shiny LRS for others to see that would help.

    I have marketed to agents before and found the "best in" is to get to know someone at an office, and offer to come buy at the next "office" meeting, etc.

    Agents to me are a different bread and like the personal touch. If you can add this element to your direct marketing I think it would work well.

    Good luck..
  • black_tulipblack_tulip Posts: 438
    Question for the non-sales people. If you recivied a packet like this that was tastefuly and proffesionaly done what would you think of it?

    But I am not sending this to someones home address I am sending this to a business and a specific type of business.

    Then you should not have invited opinions from "non sales people", but only from people belonging to a specific business.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    I am not in the business, but love to read this board to get some insight as to how things work.

    After reading your post, the first thing that popped into my mind was what if your dealer hired a part time "customer service" type person? This way, you could have a person (that was trained in the products), to do follow up type calls, and they could then weed out who is and isn't serious and then forward those that are to you or the other sales guy.

    If this person were hired as a customer service person, and paid by ther hour, they could be viewed more as teammate of the sales team as opposed to someone ealse competing for sales. In addition to the hourly wage, maybe this person bould receive a semi-annual bonus depending upon how they/sales team do over a 6 month period. This way, there would still be some incentive on their part to want to increase sales - instead of just coming in to earn a paycheck. I am sure your dealership could also find other things for a customer service person to do...such as to notify a customer when parts or accessories have arrived that they ordered, deliver cars/pick-up service loaners from clients, etc...

    Might not be feasable, but just a thought.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 16,480
    Question for the non-sales people. If you recivied a packet like this that was tastefuly and proffesionaly done what would you think of it?

    I would think of it the same way I think on any unsolicitated sales literature that comes to my door. It most likely would go directly from the mail box to the trash can.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,297
    I just wouldn't have the time for that. My follow up is lacking as it is.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    That is a very good but if you had any idea how cheap our autogroup was you would know how impossible it would be to implement. I had to fight for months to get some blinds for my office so I could actually use it in the afternoon. I finaly lucked out and had someone in the building when I had customers in my office and showed them how my customers had to wear sunglasses cause the glare was so bad. That and even though it was 20 degres outside it was about 90 degrees in my office.

    We have a receptionist who is fairly good at doing stuff kind of like that. Her desk is pretty full though because she is also our title clerk, does billing and registration for deals, warranty claims, follow up calls for service customers plus a bunch of other things.

    I like your idea Golic once this month is over I will have to talk it over with some people. We are right on the edge of shattering Land Rovers objectives for this month so nothing long term like my idea is going to get traction till after the month is over.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... **I had to fight for months to get some blinds for my office so I could actually use it in the afternoon...**

    Now that's CHEAP.! ...l.o.l......

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    Oh you have no idea. I mean the 50 bucks or whatever it cost them to have blinds installed was probably less then a quarter of what the added cost for cooling my part of the building per month was.

    The UV radiation was so bad that the back of on of my polo Land Rover shirts was bleached from dark blue sky blue.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ... **The UV radiation was so bad that the back of on of my polo Land Rover shirts was bleached from dark blue sky blue**

    GET outta here ..l.o.l.......

    Terry :P
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,457
    I think I threw that shirt away but if I did not I will take a picture of it for you. :)
This discussion has been closed.