Niagara Gazette

Columns

May 10, 2013

TOM’S CORNER: Quiet, it’s a secret ... I’m buying a car

Why it is that car sales people experience what seems to be the worse treatment of professional sales people in the world of business? 

The other day a friend of mine who is a salesman at a long established car dealership locally, walked across his lot inspecting the vehicles that were for sale to make sure they were clean, “ballooned up” (a term used to describe vehicles that have colorful, helium-filled balloons attached to them to bring attention to the car lot) pristine and ready for presentation to prospective buyers.

This salesman noted a customer driving back and forth in the car lot perusing the vehicle inventory. With a friendly gesture my friend flagged the customer down to ask him what he was looking for in an effort to make his vehicular shopping experience easier. The customer bellowed a warning that if he was a car salesman he was not going to put up with that kind of pressure !!$$##! … Well, ahem, you get the gist.

The question that came to mind was,  “Why such an aggressive attitude?” Possibly this customer had a bad experience with a car salesman at one time (or someone he knew did). My friend immediately gave the customer a business card and told him that, when he was ready to buy, let him work with this customer because he enjoyed working with people like him who know exactly what they want! This completely disarmed the aggressive, secretive gentleman who didn’t want anyone to know he was in the market to buy a vehicle even though he was driving back and forth in the car lot.

What’s the big secret? Why so hush-hush and defensive? Historically, some people have classified all car salesmen in the category  “All Car Salesmen Are Pressure-Applying Thieves.” And while this might be true for a very small percentage of people in the business (as is true in any profession) it is not the rule. This attitude is probably the result of the way cars were priced years ago when there was much more wiggle-room in pricing and hiding incentives simply because there was no way for the consumer to gain access to the pricing information on vehicles. Hence, some dealers would confuse pricing in order to muddle negotiations and gain unfair advantage. However, with the dawn of the Internet there is so much accurate information available on pricing, as well as comparative pricing and incentive programs made available by the carmakers.  Because carmakers make such info available to the public, there is no reason you should worry about being taken advantage of and fear overpaying for a vehicle.

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