Skip to comments.Sunday Stories: “99 Red Balloons” [aka life as a car salesman]
Posted on 03/09/2014 5:43:23 PM PDT by nascarnation
That Saturday was my first at Wayne Nelson Automotive. I was fresh out of collegeand when I say fresh out of college, I dont mean I was a college graduate. I mean that I was fresh out of money. My parents hadnt been able to give me much help for college, so I had been forced to take a break, as I called it, just after my twentieth birthday. The job market for under-experienced kids wasnt so hot, so I answered an ad on a jobs board for a New Car Consultant at Wayne Nelson, which was the biggest dealer in town. We had eleven rooftops, all in one big row just outside of the outer belt. I had seen more Wayne Nelson commercials growing up than I could remember. He was known throughout the city as being a drunk and a philanderer, but he was also a big supporter of local college athletics, which forgave a lot of sins in the South. Nobody in the city knew it, but Wayne was just the face of the dealership. His older brother, David, was the brains of the operation. He gave Wayne enough money to be dangerous and to deflect the attention of the public while he did the day-to-day operations.
(Excerpt) Read more at thetruthaboutcars.com ...
Nena video coming up.
Count on it.
Ha! Local Furd deer hired only kids. Who knew nothing about cars.
How they found so many boys so ignorant about cars ???!! Ask them if Shelby Cobra engine is regular or aluminum block. Get shown instead all 69 buttons that you need to push to actuate the “stereo sound system,” aka radio. Had to go out of state to find a salesman who could answer simple car questions.
a very good read...
My (adult) daughter had a good friend who did the car sales gig at a local Toyota dealer with the same depressing results.
He said there was a huge number of prospective buyers and a trivial number who could qualify for financing. Basically his day consisted of shattering people’s dreams. After about 18 months he couldn’t take it anymore.
Perhaps it is churlish to say this so soon after the announcement of that old man’s death, but I have found Ford salespeople to be universally dreadful. I thought it might be a Jersey thing, but the guy in Virginia was just as bad.
One guy (Jersey) refused to give us prices on two used cars we test drove, he’d only give us a price on one. So, obviously no sale there.
The guy in VA wanted hubby to sign a napkin (literally a napkin, not even a page from a notepad) with a number on it, and then he’d try and get the manager to agree to the sale. Hubby was like: I’m not signing a napkin.
Their cars might be great, and I suppose these techniques work with many (most?) people, but I’ll never set foot in a Ford dealership again.
After a dozen attempts to get my very simple engine question answered by our Furd dealer’s stable of cute but amazingly ignorant little salesboys, I finally located and asked the adult sales manager. His answer was why didn’t I go home and look up the info on the internet instead of bothering him.
Thank goodness she’s finally shaving.
She’s not doin’ bad for 54
“His answer was why didnt I go home and look up the info on
the internet instead of bothering him.”
That’s sadly typical today.
The same thing happened to me at a Toyota dealership. Weird. It must be in the Universal Salesman's Handbook.
And like your husband, I told the salesman that I'm not signing a napkin. I'm not signing anything at all.
Three tips for buying a new car:
Never finance through the dealership. Not even the 1.9% or 0% scams. Get your financing done ahead of time with your bank or credit union.
Don't take your trade-in to the dealership while negotiating for they will definitely find reasons to low ball you on the trade-in. Borrow your uncle's BMW or something. Or better yet, sell your old car on your own and use the proceeds to go towards your down payment.
Never negotiate on the monthly payment, or the down payment or the trade-in. Always focus on the price of the car.
Always be prepared to walk away. Never fall for the "what will it take for you to drive the car off the lot today" ploy.
Lastly, 99 Luftaballoons is a great slice of 1980s pop.
i did go home and look up the info on the internet, like he told me to do
while on the internet, i came across a Furd salesman in another state who knew everything about the cars.... and who spent the time to answer my questions.
within 3 months, I was on the airplane to buy a car from him. ring up one $73,000 sale that did NOT go to my local Furd dealership, since they would not spend the few minutes required to answer my (simple) questions about the cars.
I love the car.
(PS: I am given to understand that Furd has since found a new local proprietor for the unhelpful dealership...so there is hope...)
We called the credit challenged, slugs. They moved slow to make payments and left slimy trails behind them.
I always hated sales like he spoke of. Worked for a dealer that would have them every few months and the hot dogs we didn’t give away he would refreeze for the next sale. No one who worked there ever ate them.
When I started in the business my first month I was the number salesman. My first year I earned car and truck salesman of the year from Chevy for my dealership. You either got it or you don’t.
Selling cars is really all about learning to deal with rejection. Being born not good looking was an advantage for me, I had previous experience in overcoming objections.
This may not seem possible to people who have never sold cars but some of the most honest people I have ever met were car people. The most dishonest people I have ever met were the public. The old saying in the car biz is how do you tell a customer is lying? Their lips are moving.
It seems your customers are getting the politicians they deserve then
It remains one of the more astonishing experiences I’ve had.
I have to say the guy at the Mazda dealership on that same trip (we were shopping for our daughter) was great. We didn’t buy a car from him, but I’d definitely check them out in the future.
It must be a really nice car. I’m glad you found a good salesperson, because their price is above rubies!
That made me laugh, Sam.
My trade-in has a blue book value of $580.
Thanks for the info, though.
not all ford dealerships are equal.
we only go to the ones that don’t jerk us around, and there are some that are fine - as fine as you’d expect for any car dealership.
Thanks. A lot of amazingly good short stories.
Frankly I think it is a pack of lies from a disgruntled loser.
YEAH, PUSH THEM INTO 25% APR!!
No dealership will survive legally if 1/10 of what this supposed “insider” blog says.
I know there is a lot of push-push-push but even an elementary school child can think to come back the day after a “free car for the right key” promotion to ensure the car was given away.
If dealers are that clueless about the law and how to sell, then we would all be driving Fords.
Great story! I hit bottom in the early 90s and got a job selling cars. I sold a car the first week and quit. It was a T&C van. I’m serious.
I may have posted this before. If any of you have heard it, sorry. A friend of mine named Ray told me about the time in the early 80s, during his drinking days, that he was broke and on foot. He said he walked by a used car lot and noticed a nice red Ford pick-up truck. The sign said “Owner Financing”. He went into the office and told the only salesman there that he wanted to test drive it. The salesman was also the owner. Ray drove the truck then they went back into the office and sat down. “I’m interested in owner financing. Can we work something out?” Ray asked?
Ray said when the man told him “I need to call some of your credit references”, he knew it was all over. “But,” he thought, “why not take a shot.”
The owner called a few numbers Ray had given him. After finishing the second call he hung up the phone and said “Fellow, you oughta’ be able to pay cash for that truck. You ain’t never paid for anything else.?
I did a few months stint working on a used car lot for a friend of mine who had been one of the top salesmen at several of the local dealerships for years. He opened a small used car lot and I went to work for him.
One of the first things he told me to remember was “buyers are liars”. Explained about the “be back bus” as in “we’ll be back”. Then pointed out that one of the first lies out of the buyer’s mouth would be “this is the first place we’ve looked at”. Amazing how he predicted exactly how my first customers acted. LOL
He also told me that I could bodily throw anyone off the lot that I wanted to and he’d back me up. Said he’d done that at one lot. Almost felt like doing it many times.
Then there was the classic “Yeah but I can get it for X$ down at *dealer name*”. He gave me the response and I used it once. “Hey, go ahead and buy one for me too at that price”. Then I turned and walked away. The “customer” called after me, “Don’t you want to sell it?” I turned and said, “Yeah, but not to you” and walked off.
Believe me, as bad as people think car salesmen are - and there are definitely some that are totally sleazebags - the buyers are worse. I found out quickly that a lot of it is just a defensive reaction to the “buyers are liars” that they end up with every day, all day.
Reminds me of a story about an old codger who owned a small lumber company. A guy came in and asked him how much he was charging for 2X4 studs. The old man said “89 cents each.”
The customer said “The lumber company down the street has them for 69 cents.”
The old man said “Then I’d go buy a truck load of them if I was you.”
“They’re out of them.” replied the customer.
The old man said “Hell, I can give ‘em away when I’m out of ‘em.”
Actually this is pretty much how a basic car dealership works. The sales reps learn the "four-square" approach and quickly determine what motivates this particular buyer. In most cases, it's the monthly payment as that is what most naive buyers focus on (and many buyers are naive). So if you fall into the trap of saying you want to pay no more than $400 a month, you WILL pay $400 a month and the other numbers (down payment, trade-in, car price) will be manipulated to get to that monthly payment. Only you might be making that monthly payment for 60 months instead of 48 if you had only negotiated a better deal.
You also have the manager "in the tower" making the real decisions. The rep on the floor is just playing a classic "good cop/bad cop" scenario. The old "Well we've never done anything like this before so I'll have to run this by my manager" routine is played out over and over again every single day.
Towards the end of the deal, the sale rep is sure to mention how he's "getting killed" on this deal because you, the customer, "really drove a hard bargain." Sadly, that is partly true because the rep on the floor will be lucky to make $300 commission on a $20,000 car sale.
It's a nasty business but a great experience for a young buck who wants to get a crash course in the wonderful world of sales before moving on to something more lucrative. If you are over 30 and still selling cars, well I feel your pain.
By the way, some of the buyers are no picnic either. Many of them strut in there thinking they are going to "wheel and deal" because they looked at a few internet sites. These types can be insufferable to deal with. They always think they know everything and that you (the rep) are trying to pull a fast on on them. They end up making ridiculous claims about what they feel the price should be.
In those cases, I like the comeback line mentioned earlier in which a sales rep told a customer "If you can get it at that price down the street, go ahead and buy one for me too while you're over there."
Great story, LMAO
>>Actually this is pretty much how a basic car dealership works. <<
I stand corrected then. It is one thing to read an article by a 3rd person with whom I have no connection. But you are well-known as a straight shooter so I will reread the article with a different perspective.
I certainly can see how doing this would teach tons of lessons on life, career and people. I owned my own business in my 20s and man, did I learn quickly!
I'm on the service management side of the fence now but when I was on the sales side, I learned quite a bit about people, how to satisfy and retain customers, and most of all, developed a very thick skin!