Thursday, April 23, 2009

Death of a Car Salesman

After graduating from Centre, I remember toiling over the classifieds in a last ditch effort to find a job in New Jersey. Personal connections didn’t come through, and my interests didn’t match any jobs that were available. I committed myself to life in New Jersey for one year, and became desperate to find a job.

I ended up working for a car dealership for three months. I sold 34 cars.

At the end of the three month training, the company would pay the difference between what an employee on training pay would have made if on straight commission, and the base training pay. My buddy got a check for six grand. I technically owed the company a couple hundred dollars.

I attributed the difference to my inability to be deceiving.

After the three month mark, I received a company car, health benefits, and began working for commission, at 30%. I put my two weeks notice in two days later. The general manager suggested leaving two days later - he wanted people who wanted to be there, which is understandable.

Looking back on it, the 60 hour work weeks, loud rap music playing in the showroom, and working with 14 very, very interesting salespeople was a whole lot of fun.

I’ll probably blog about some of the stories at some point, but will end this entry with some tips about buying a car…


- Wait until the absolute last day of the month. Managers could care less about commission at this point, and would rather meet their quota of ‘vehicles moved.’ I saw some crazy deals go down at the end of the month where the company lost
some money.

- Always talk with manager near the end of negotiations. Half the time, the salesmen know little behind the numbers they show you.

- Never buy a car at a lot the first time you visit. Their goal is to sell a car every time a person walks through the door. Wait until after your first visit, then you will be in the driver seat during negotiations.

- Pay with cash. A lot of dealerships hate this. They rather finance cars, and like to hide things in the numbers and make customers focus on the payment figure.

- If you have a trade-in, don't bring it up until after you have worked out the numbers. Some dealerships try to 'raise the price of the car' and end up giving you less money for your car, even though on the money line, it looks like they are giving you blue-book value.

- Obviously, do your research before hand. Research your car, prices, and info/dirt about a specific dealership.

4 comments:

The Skirted Wordsmith said...

These are good tips!!

I also worked at a dealership for a while (Land Rover/Jaguar Lousville), although I was just the receptionist, and, boy were those dudes some interesting people. And not always in a good way...

I, too, would have trouble selling cars. I have a condition called truth-vomit, where I ALWAYS tell it like it is, no matter what.

Nate said...

make it a book

Rockwell said...

Last Tip;

Buy American!

Patrick Noltemeyer said...

I echo Nate's sentiment - make it a book!