Edmunds.com’s Undercover Car Salesman

It’s a few years old, but I hadn’t seen it before: Confessions of a car salesman. Interesting.

9 Responses to “Edmunds.com’s Undercover Car Salesman”

  1. hossman Says:

    whoa … this sucker is long.

    so far i’ve only read through part 5 (i’ll come back for hte rest tomorow), but it’s a very interesting read. I highly recommend people stick with it.

  2. Remington Says:

    Yeah, it’s long, and reasonably interesting. I took interest in it because I’m going to try selling cars myself, as there is money to be made doing it.

    It seems to me, however, that this article is written as an advertisement for services and products provided by Edmonds.Com, specifically, new car pricing information (for a fee) etc. I suspect the issues and situations depicted in the article are, in the least, exagerated, at most, made up.

    -Rem

  3. kim Says:

    I have got to the third episode if that is the right word. And am VERY interested in the rest. I worked as credit manager at a car dealership and repair shop. It’s not just buying cars it is getting them fixed that what he said sounded very familiar.

    kim

  4. Juanita Schwartau Says:

    I have read Confessions of a Car Salesman and can

    relate. I experienced most of their deceptive

    tactics mentioned and was taken for thousands of

    dollars. The dealership was Greenway Mercedes, Houston, Texas. I have written the Attorney General, Houston District Attorney, my senator

    and anyone who will listen. This is not right.

    I am planning on starting a defense fund to help

    people with similar problems. I will keep you informed. Thank you.

    js

  5. Cars Says:

    If you enjoy Edmunds.com, you would certainly like the information and features at Car Guide Automotive.com

  6. Jules Says:

    FYI. Edmonds.com information on new and used cars is available at no cost to the consumers, just to clear up an earlier post.

  7. Jules Says:

    FYI. Edmunds.com information on new and used cars is available at no cost to the consumers, just to clear up an earlier post.

  8. April Says:

    The edmunds article is a good insight to what the beginner in car sales will experience.

    Sold Audi and VW for 5 years. Tough job. It has it’s rewards though.

    As in most sales, knowledge of the product is about 30% of the job, and people management is 70%. You really sell yourself in the car business, since you need to differeniate yourself from the many disreputable people in it.

    I sold the brand because I loved it, and believed in it. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have inventory sometimes, or that the customer was just kicking tires, we’d go for a ride in whtever we had, and have a good time. That brought back people in months or years later. I loved helping first time buyers, setting them up to be in a good position for their next purchase. But my favourite thing was the cars and technology. My life was consumed with knowing my brand, the competition, and anything and everything else related.

    If you work your tail off and follow up like crazy (referrals are much less work on average), you can hit 6 figures in several years. The trick is to have a reasonably honest dealership to work for. I believe you can always tell the truth to a customer, but whether I make the sale or not, depends on my ability to couch the truth in the right way.

    Here are the problems:

    Old school managers who want you to sell cars the old fashioned way – you know the sleazy llines about IF I could make the numbers work, would you buy today? You’ve got to play their way, since you are an independent contractor that can be fired on the spot – and you can leave on the spot.

    Co-workers only one step up the evolutionary scale from pond scum. Lots of deal snatching and back stabbing.

    Amazing number of scammer “customers.” Guess they think it’s OK to scam a car dealership – but most dealerships have seen it all. You learn to pay very close attention to your BS meter. Amazing and sad to say that on average, customers are no better than the dealerships. Dealerships/salespeople don’t usually get sneaky on their own – they learn from customers! Thing is, salespeople from different dealers get together and learn each other’s tricks.

    The hours in urban areas are insane. You work every holiday, weekend, and evening, since that is when the cusotmers have time to shop. You can’t go out with friends to do normal things, because you’re always working. Most salesfolk work 6 days a week, anywhere from 5 to 12 hours. You can never make plans, since a customer may walk through the door at any time, and keep you there for hours – sometimes buying nothing.

    Pay is 100% commission for full fledged sales. You might see base + commission at a store with a lot of green peas (new salespeople). Those stores don’t pay much, and like most dealers tend to try and keep changing the pay schedule.

    If your customer has been shopping other dealerships, your profit margin is often determined by the weakest salesperson, who will “drop their pants” or lowball the customer, so that the customer will come back to them. A salesperson cannot set pricing – only the sales manager has the authority to do that.

  9. sharercs Says:

    My husband has been in the car business for decades, as F&I Sales Manager and salesperson. What many people do not know is that car people work a ton of hours for the money they make, and many sales people make less than minimum wage after all is said and done. The press has a field day with huge profits of 16%, but those are rare if at all possible in todays internet world. I don’t think 1500 is much to make in selling a 30,000. dollar items, and if it is then tell me what percentage makes sense to you? How much is the mark up on most items, homes, airplanes, vacations, clothing, furniture or how about jewelry? Dealerships have to pay the sales person and the cost of having them as an employee even when some are not producing. They also have to floor the cars and sit on them until they do sell. How much profit does the manufacturer makes, does anyone ever ask that? In fact, how much profit does Consumer reports make, 1% or 2% and then pay their staff? I think not. The car business has been beat up for a long time, and the little guys out in the weather having been taking the beating, not the dealerships or the manufacturers for years. Dealerships keep their doors open by service profits, sales makes very little but does of course provide the customers to come in for factory paid warranty and general repairs. When is someone going to realize that the lot closes at 7PM, the sales people have been there since 8AM and you pull in just before 7, or your deal runs into overtime on someone who I bet did not even get a lunch hour. Most saturdays car people are munching on cold pizza between customers and trying to stay alive. And the meetings this guy was talking about, you have to be there, so basically you work your 5 days with overtime, and then get to stop buy for a meeting every week on you day off too. Next time your in the bank or at the mall, try staying after 9PM say until midnight and see what happens. Or, how about if someone stops by your job and keeps you over for 2 hours and then decides they don’t really want to buy right now? It is a tough job!

    The business is hard, but yes after years you can build a customer base if your honest. But you can also starve to death building that base and you can not work a part-time job to fill in because you don’t know when you will have to stay over. In the car business if your customer comes in on your day off you split the deal with whoever takes care of the final sale even if it takes them 15 minutes to deliver the deal.

    Of all the jobs on the lot my husband has a ton of respect for the sales people, they work long hours and are promised fantastic wages that is most cases don’t happen. If you have 10 guys and 60 deals you will have one guy with 12, another guy with 10 could be they have a base or it could be they are buddies with the staff and are “spoonfed” as they say. So now you have 22 cars, and of the next 18, 11 of them are internet sales and 2 are house deals no one makes anything off of those. So at 35 now and you still have 8 people to make money off of the remaining cars. Someone will sell 8 some will only sell 1 or 2. At 100.00 for a new car, and maybe you will get a factory spin or make something like 5.00 or 20 dollars off of selling a warranty or a mop and glow…wow are you in the money. It use to be selling 8-10 cars you did pretty good, now days 8-10 and your staying alive but most are not selling enough and now you have a turn over and new personalities to deal with every month. The business if tough, and the high pressure dealers advertise all the time for BIG BUCKS for sales staff. If there is such big bucks there how come they have a huge turnover. We had a friend in GA that worked for a dealership thru the winter the dead time. The told them they would not flood the floors with staff if the 8 guys would stay. They did, and come May they hired 6 more sales people and flooded the floors. They did not care about their employees anymore than they care about their customers. So next time your out their buying a new car suppor the sales person, they are the one taking the beating between you and management. And think about what is a fair profit on a 30,000 investment, what kind of mark up is in the product you make or sell or service? Remember you may sell several pairs of shoes on a weekend, but a lot does not sell that many cars to make their profits to keep their doors open. We are all so busy picking on the working stiffs, the owners and manufactures are the ones making all the money on cars.

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