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CARBIZ

LET'S BASH CAR SALESPEOPLE

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So, a '03 Tahoe pulls onto the lot yesterday. A nice couple gets out, wanders around the show room. I greet them. They've had the truck for a year, they say, and their salesperson (whom they readily admit they don't like) told them that after a year or so they should be able to trade the truck in. (Oh, oh, I am thinking. Get out the backhoe.)

So, I do a little more investigating. Mr. Customer's credit wasn't great a year ago, so Mrs. Customer had to co-sign. (Better make sure there is lots of gas in the backhoe.) Did you have a trade, or put any money down when you got it, I ask. No. (I'm going to need a special city permit for the size of this hole.) How many months did you finance over? Sixty. (Oivay, I'm going to need to borrow one of the diggers from Syncrude.)

Straight away, I know that with a year or less, on a vehicle they conservatively paid $25k+k for (plus another $4-$5k in taxes and fees) they are hopeless buried. I tell them the good news up front: If you have $7k or so, we may be able to make this truck go away, but their payment will still go way up. They want a new Avalanche. (I am now wondering what they were smoking before they came onto the lot.) Mr. Customer goes out to the truck and gets his paperwork.

Knowing that any hope of a commission today has flown the coup, my only hope is to win their trust and their future business. When I look at the paperwork, I realize they have only made 10 payments. Ouch. They are also paying 9.99%. Not bad for iffy credit. Mrs. Customer explains that her credit is very good. Hmm. I notice that she is #1 on the bill of sale. I want to figure out what they owe now, which is easily done on my financial planner calculator, but when I take the amount of the loan ($35k, I think) and punch it in, I am getting a payment of something around $720 a month, not the $630 or so on the bill of sale. Alarm bells go off. Who takes the money from your account, I ask. GMAC, I am told. I don't think so, I reply. We never use GMAC for used because their rates are higher. Mr. Customer goes back to the truck and gets more paperwork. I see the bank contact. Ouch: a subprime lender. So, 9.99 is pretty good, but I am puzzled why they are using a subprime lender if her credit is really good and she is #1.

Still, I am more worried about why I am getting a payment of $720. I also notice a $520 lien registration fee, which should be around $75 in this Province. They were also charged $420 in 'admin' fees, $500 for tinting and $2,300 for a warranty. Mr. Customer (whom I am starting to think needs some sort of IQ test at this point) doesn't remember any of those charges - only the $630 or so that he agreed to. The first thing I notice on the bank contract is that it is a 60 month plan, amortized over 72 months. Oh, oh, BALLOON PAYMENT. I pointed to the line on the bank contract that states a near $8k balloon payment after 5 years. $11,000 in interest and he will still owe almost $8k at the end.

At this point, I shove the paperwork across my desk to him and say I have to stay out of this. My license restricts what I am allowed to say to him about a deal he has done at another dealer. Another GM dealer, I might add. He has been screwed up the ass, without a condom or a 'reach-around,' but I have to coach my language carefully. He was never told about the balloon payment.

Legally, he is screwed. They signed everything. They are adults. I told him to go back to the dealer he bought it from in June and see if they can help, but I know they will just tell him to jump in the lake. He is going to end up paying $53,000 for a $25k truck. I told him to ask the 'bank' if they can pay out the loan now. They would be better to get a consolidation loan form a reputable bank at a lower rate, but I know this insitution won't let them out of the contract. What really irks me is that if her credit is good, why did the dealer not resubmit their deal to a good bank, once they put Mrs. Customer as #1? Probably because the sub par lender was giving the dealer a huge kickback.

These people were bewildered and visibly upset when they left. My boss asked me what was going on, and I told him. I would never, ever agree to such a loan for my customers. Sure, Mr. Customer's credit probably needed rebuilding, but paying $53k for that truck is not the answer. Take a Cavalier for 3 years to rebuild.

I am pissed at my fellow dealer for ripping these people off, but sadly, it happens a lot. It makes my job so much harder. One of my former managers said I was too honest for this business; that I lose a lot of sales because I don't just slam them into a car and move onto the next deal. I don't think like that. I try to educate my customers and do what is good for them, even if that means going to Ford or somewhere else. I don't know if my current bosses would want to hear that, but that is how I think. I hope they report this salesperson to OMVIC (that governs dealers in Ontario)

But what really burns my ass, is I will bet this assclown is making double what I do. <_<

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i can say that my dealership was extremely reputable, we wouldnt give out bad loans, we rarely did loans, and ive never seen balloon payments in all the deals that we ever did. never even a loan that consumers got punished or penaltys for paying early. but that doesnt mean that we didnt put people in those situations. i know that we've convince many people to trade in cars that were not even a month old, instead of rewritting a deal or unwinding the deal. these customers i felt bad for, i saw one, lady traded in 2 vehicles in 1 month, and each time they had to get a bigger vehicle to hold the negative equity.

i think from your story canada doesnt have as many rules when it comes to lending as usa does.

but i mean, i remember the worst deal i did, i felt bad... gave a guy i think 13% intrest rate, on his new vehicle, not because he had bad credit(he asked to look at it, but my boss pursuaded him that it wasnt worth looking at.) 710 score, but because he had a bankrupsy 3 years ago, we made him feel that his credit was still bad and that he deserved the rate that we told him about. the worst thing was, this guy was like 35 and it was his first vehicle. got a stripped single cab silverado with like 400$ payments. felt kinda bad, but he was sooo happy

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CARBIZ, if we had some decent education classes that were mandatory in elementary school about finances people might not fall into this situation. Also, a lot of people say they have good credit, but I suspect if she doesn't take the effort to read the details of the loan then her credit probably isn't that good.

Also, they may be in a very difficult situation right now, but if they recognize this as a learning lesson and avoid doing this again in the future, then it may be worth the $25k extra they paid for this car.

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CARBIZ, if we had some decent education classes that were mandatory in elementary school about finances people might not fall into this situation. Also, a lot of people say they have good credit, but I suspect if she doesn't take the effort to read the details of the loan then her credit probably isn't that good.

Also, they may be in a very difficult situation right now, but if they recognize this as a learning lesson and avoid doing this again in the future, then it may be worth the $25k extra they paid for this car.

the problem isnt people having good credit or bad credit.

people who have good credit, pay the bill, doesnt mean they read the contract before they sign

people who have bad credit, dont pay the bill, whether by choice, or because they didnt read the contract and someone screwed them over.

the worse thing about cars and carsalesman. is we are the man standing in the way of someones dream vehicle... and a lot of times people through emotions in the way of common sense after a test drive. this is why i applaud people that i've sold to as well as my father who refuse to go on test drives, because as long as its got a warrenty, it'll go from a to b... but i cant fathom seeing a car, as a vehicle of transportation, its more then that....

but being a salesperson, i see the showroom floor as a game, to see how much they want to sell... lol

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Well, it is a game. Cat and mouse? Chess? If both sides would just be honest, everything would go smoother. I cringe when I hear people say, 'We're not going to buy today,' as an opening statement. Now that is a real ice breaker! :lol: Just what a commissioned salesperson wants to hear!

People with bad credit could have gotten there through unforseen or unfortunate circumstances. It's just sad that once a person's credit gets bad, it can often get worse real fast. As my mother used to say (a retired accountant), the first rule of getting a loan is first you have to prove you don't need the loan, then the bank will give it to you. When you really need the money (or a break), none of the reputable lenders will touch you, and those who will take you to the cleaners with userous interest rates: just what someone who is trying to climb out of a hole needs!

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It is very sad. I've seen it done to a few people around here, usually old ladies.... :nono:

I would agree with biz though-I'm too honest to be a salesguy....

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It is very sad. I've seen it done to a few people around here, usually old ladies.... :nono:

I would agree with biz though-I'm too honest to be a salesguy....

i was too honest... i knew almost every knowable stat about every vehicle on our lot, i knew all the promotions, and i knew that even though people didnt want to buy, they really did. but the thing was, im not a pushy person, im not a liar, and i'm not a con artist. i told people about the vehicle, did my best to accuratly give the vehicle value, and that was it. i taught each customer the unique advantage the certian vehicle had over the others on the lot, why they should honnestly buy from our dealership, and what our vehicles offered over the competition. in some instances it was more fuel ecconomy, in some it was more power, some it was an extra star on safety ratings, but they all had the warranty feature and almost always it had more options for the dollar. what else do consumers want? they want reassurance, price, and last but not least accessories.

but i always let my closer do all the finance talk, cause he was a sure swindler, but i didnt have to worry about the deal because we didnt offer bad banks or loans, maybe some were a litte high on intrest (14 max i think) but nothing unusual... only worked with the big banks.

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The sub-prime market is big business in Toronto: a lot of 'new Canadians' who get credit for the first time, go crazy, max everything and then get into trouble. I've seen a lot of 16% and higher car loans. Hell, I just had a guy last week who leased an Aveo from me 6 months ago and dropped by to upgrade it. I was surprised to see him on a weekday and he said that he wasn't working any more. The factory he worked for had closed up. I am thinking, then why the hell are you thinking about your payment going UP $100 a month???

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Sometimes it is bad to be a messenger. I think you did a right thing. :thumbsup:

Many people do not read any documents. I was aghast how people blindly sign when the person on the other side says, "Oh yeah on this form we mention, blah, blah, blah and that is it, it is not important." If it is not important then why should I sign it?

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Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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My salesman and I are friends, he has sold me about 17 cars in about 10 years. our birthdays are the same day but different years, and he is on my MSN Messenger should I need him for something car related.

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A terrible deal...but at the same time, NO one in that kind of situation should be stupid enough to even be shopping for a Tahoe, a few years old or not, and then signing on a paper full of high interest, balloon payments, etc.

Yes, I know people don't understand terms and get taken advantage of...but there's a line to be drawn at the level of stupidity, and they pole-vaulted over it.

Yet another one of those situations that really makes you respect what a salesperson has to deal with daily, even if you think they're slimy (some are...but still).

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So, a '03 Tahoe pulls onto the lot yesterday. A nice couple gets out, wanders around the show room. I greet them. They've had the truck for a year, they say, and their salesperson (whom they readily admit they don't like) told them that after a year or so they should be able to trade the truck in. (Oh, oh, I am thinking. Get out the backhoe.)

So, I do a little more investigating. Mr. Customer's credit wasn't great a year ago, so Mrs. Customer had to co-sign. (Better make sure there is lots of gas in the backhoe.) Did you have a trade, or put any money down when you got it, I ask. No. (I'm going to need a special city permit for the size of this hole.) How many months did you finance over? Sixty. (Oivay, I'm going to need to borrow one of the diggers from Syncrude.)

Straight away, I know that with a year or less, on a vehicle they conservatively paid $25k+k for (plus another $4-$5k in taxes and fees) they are hopeless buried. I tell them the good news up front: If you have $7k or so, we may be able to make this truck go away, but their payment will still go way up. They want a new Avalanche. (I am now wondering what they were smoking before they came onto the lot.) Mr. Customer goes out to the truck and gets his paperwork.

Knowing that any hope of a commission today has flown the coup, my only hope is to win their trust and their future business. When I look at the paperwork, I realize they have only made 10 payments. Ouch. They are also paying 9.99%. Not bad for iffy credit. Mrs. Customer explains that her credit is very good. Hmm. I notice that she is #1 on the bill of sale. I want to figure out what they owe now, which is easily done on my financial planner calculator, but when I take the amount of the loan ($35k, I think) and punch it in, I am getting a payment of something around $720 a month, not the $630 or so on the bill of sale. Alarm bells go off. Who takes the money from your account, I ask. GMAC, I am told. I don't think so, I reply. We never use GMAC for used because their rates are higher. Mr. Customer goes back to the truck and gets more paperwork. I see the bank contact. Ouch: a subprime lender. So, 9.99 is pretty good, but I am puzzled why they are using a subprime lender if her credit is really good and she is #1.

Still, I am more worried about why I am getting a payment of $720. I also notice a $520 lien registration fee, which should be around $75 in this Province. They were also charged $420 in 'admin' fees, $500 for tinting and $2,300 for a warranty. Mr. Customer (whom I am starting to think needs some sort of IQ test at this point) doesn't remember any of those charges - only the $630 or so that he agreed to. The first thing I notice on the bank contract is that it is a 60 month plan, amortized over 72 months. Oh, oh, BALLOON PAYMENT. I pointed to the line on the bank contract that states a near $8k balloon payment after 5 years. $11,000 in interest and he will still owe almost $8k at the end.

At this point, I shove the paperwork across my desk to him and say I have to stay out of this. My license restricts what I am allowed to say to him about a deal he has done at another dealer. Another GM dealer, I might add. He has been screwed up the ass, without a condom or a 'reach-around,' but I have to coach my language carefully. He was never told about the balloon payment.

Legally, he is screwed. They signed everything. They are adults. I told him to go back to the dealer he bought it from in June and see if they can help, but I know they will just tell him to jump in the lake. He is going to end up paying $53,000 for a $25k truck. I told him to ask the 'bank' if they can pay out the loan now. They would be better to get a consolidation loan form a reputable bank at a lower rate, but I know this insitution won't let them out of the contract. What really irks me is that if her credit is good, why did the dealer not resubmit their deal to a good bank, once they put Mrs. Customer as #1? Probably because the sub par lender was giving the dealer a huge kickback.

These people were bewildered and visibly upset when they left. My boss asked me what was going on, and I told him. I would never, ever agree to such a loan for my customers. Sure, Mr. Customer's credit probably needed rebuilding, but paying $53k for that truck is not the answer. Take a Cavalier for 3 years to rebuild.

I am pissed at my fellow dealer for ripping these people off, but sadly, it happens a lot. It makes my job so much harder. One of my former managers said I was too honest for this business; that I lose a lot of sales because I don't just slam them into a car and move onto the next deal. I don't think like that. I try to educate my customers and do what is good for them, even if that means going to Ford or somewhere else. I don't know if my current bosses would want to hear that, but that is how I think. I hope they report this salesperson to OMVIC (that governs dealers in Ontario)

But what really burns my ass, is I will bet this assclown is making double what I do. <_<

i am glad you are being an advocate for the customer. it's unfortunate they felt they needed so much truck.

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We've been with the same salesman for going on 19 Years, he sold us all our vehicles from our 1989 Grand Am to our new Impala, he's now a friend of the family. He sold my grandparents their new car too. We Financed the Cavalier, and leased the three Ventures but other than that we've just bought outright with a cash purchase. We've never really got a bad deal when we deal with him. When We Buy/Lease New we pay about 5000$ Under MSRP on average, and when we buy used, he's good about getting 1500 to 2000 knocked off the advertised price.

We Almost strayed from him twice, and we came back. Twice we almost bought a van from a man named Peter Curran at Shaganappi Chevrolet Oldsmobile in Calgary. First time was in 1994 when we almost bought a new Lumina APV LS 3.8L from him but he lied to us about when a 'financing deal' was going to end to seal up the deal ASAP. We found out from a friend who we bought our Grand Am from that the deal was citywide and was in fact, not over till the end of the month. Suffice to say my dad was very angry and we bought the Trans Sport from our friend instead. He left a phone message on my dad's voicemail at his office at the RCMP every five minutes desperately trying to salvage the deal. We gave him a second chance in 1999 on a white Venture LS... but again he lied about when the financing deal ended. This time we found out on the radio from a Country 105 remote at the dealer. We went with our friend on the Fernmist Green Venture and never looked back. This time Petie boy wasn't frantic, but rather, quite angry. He saw us in our new Venture and left an angry, tirade of an answering machine message at our house. I ran into him at the food court (figures) at Northland mall with my mom the other month, and he glared at us as he still is holding a grudge. Crooked as they come, our friend who sold us the 1989 Grand Am and all subsequent autos, refers to him as 'infamous'.

His anger issues apparently are not just limited to vonVeezelsnider & family either... I was reading a blog entry about the dealer paying you for the advertising sticker space on your decklid... Low, here was an email to the blogger, from none other than our good friend, Peter Curran:

How the heck does that guy still have a job?

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Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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For his behavior, Peter Curran was not reprimanded but promoted. He's now the Sales Manager at Shaganappi Chev Olds, instead of the salesman we knew him as.

That can't be good...

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For his behavior, Peter Curran was not reprimanded but promoted. He's now the Sales Manager at Shaganappi Chev Olds, instead of the salesman we knew him as.

You'd be surprised at how much bad behavior is rewarded in dealerships. In the dealership I left, the number 1 guy was involved in kickbacks through the business office, got caught using the company gas card in his own personal car, and I personally witnessed him threatening a Philipino customer because the guy hadn't call him back - now this guy is the #1 guy at another GM dealer in town. If someone puts stickers on the board (regardless how they get there), the Salesmanager of the Month (because they do come and go like revolving doors) are terrified of the guy and the owner/dealer kisses his ass, not realizing that he is the cancer on the floor, because the owner/dealer never actually knows what the hell is going on the floor.

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You'd be surprised at how much bad behavior is rewarded in dealerships. In the dealership I left, the number 1 guy was involved in kickbacks through the business office, got caught using the company gas card in his own personal car, and I personally witnessed him threatening a Philipino customer because the guy hadn't call him back - now this guy is the #1 guy at another GM dealer in town. If someone puts stickers on the board (regardless how they get there), the Salesmanager of the Month (because they do come and go like revolving doors) are terrified of the guy and the owner/dealer kisses his ass, not realizing that he is the cancer on the floor, because the owner/dealer never actually knows what the hell is going on the floor.

100% truth.

Extraordinarily sad, but true.

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You'd be surprised at how much bad behavior is rewarded in dealerships. In the dealership I left, the number 1 guy was involved in kickbacks through the business office, got caught using the company gas card in his own personal car, and I personally witnessed him threatening a Philipino customer because the guy hadn't call him back - now this guy is the #1 guy at another GM dealer in town. If someone puts stickers on the board (regardless how they get there), the Salesmanager of the Month (because they do come and go like revolving doors) are terrified of the guy and the owner/dealer kisses his ass, not realizing that he is the cancer on the floor, because the owner/dealer never actually knows what the hell is going on the floor.

100% truth.

Extraordinarily sad, but true.

Well the Fundamental idea in Capitalism is to make more money. It does not say anything about ethics.

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Well the Fundamental idea in Capitalism is to make more money. It does not say anything about ethics.

There's a vast difference between aggressive & effective vs. a cheat & liar...I would argue the capitalism has developed to a sophisticated enough point that we can all agree that the former is fine and the latter is a problem.

I've consulted for dealers that have massive issues with employee honesty, be it stolen cash deposits or 'ghost' contracts, employees that will steal from your customers will steal from you as well.

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There's a vast difference between aggressive & effective vs. a cheat & liar...I would argue the capitalism has developed to a sophisticated enough point that we can all agree that the former is fine and the latter is a problem.

I've consulted for dealers that have massive issues with employee honesty, be it stolen cash deposits or 'ghost' contracts, employees that will steal from your customers will steal from you as well.

Where shall you draw line in Employee honesty? I mean cheating the customers and yet being "honest" to the dealer, is that an act of honesty? It is the dealer's duty to let the employee know and be known what his job and his duties as a part of the dealership are, who inturn should be advised and taught by the parent company about the same, then only the problem will fade.

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Random thoughts...

Actually, I've had a few good deals with car salespeople, but what burns my ass is that you get an 18 year old kid with no product info and about no people skills when you walk into most dealerships around here.

It also burns my ass when people lie about things. My sister bought a Honda minivan and was shown a clean carfax by the Honda dealer. Told by the dealer that it had never been in an accident. After they had it six months they found issues relating to a previous accident.

The people that fixed it...the body shop at the Honda dealership they bought it at.

I do kind of like the Saturn approach, more of an educational approach.

Worst dealer treatment I've gotten-being asked "what the hell are you doing here?" as a customer greeting in a local dealership. (not kidding about this one. I was wearing work boots and and work clothes, but they were clean.) When I told them I wanted to look at a car for my wife they replied that they were too busy to deal with me.

Other funny thing happened when we went to our local MINI dealer to look at a MINI. I asked the salesperson if he owned one, salesperson said "NO" Sales person then told my wife that his own MINI had been so poor in reliability that his wife had never forgiven him for buying it. Way to sell my wife on a car, eh.

My local Chevrolet dealer "lost" my work truck for three days and couldn't find it until I drove over there and showed them where it was sitting on the lot. (right in front of the showroom). They then lost the key, and I had to drive over yet again with another key when they locked my keys in the truck and they couldn't get them out. As I was leaving, I got a hard sell from a salesman about how I really needed to buy a new truck and how I really needed to trust their first rate serivce department. (not making this one up)

That being said, there are only 2-3 dealers here in the Columbus Metro Area that I would do business with, and none of them are GM dealers.

Every time I think about buying a GM car I get halfway serious about driving to Toronto to buy it from CARBIZ or going to the GM dealership near my parents in North Carolina.

Yes, my local GM dealerships are that bad.

I enjoy going to look at cars with my family, and I am honest with the salesman when I am "not in the market." Sometimes I just like to browse.

However, between the hard sell buy a car today and the being treated rudely I almost dread walking into a dealer showroom anymore.

Sorry about the rambling rant.

Chris

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Great post, CARBIZ.

I always like to hear about salesmen doing things the right way, especially automotive sales, which gets quite a bad rap.

I for one, just quit my job from a large B2B sales company, and this quote drove it home:

"I was too honest for this business"

Frankly, I took the job because of the opportunity to analyze & consult businesses on improving certain systems in order to help them become more efficient. But while I found this to be intriguing, selling consistent numbers involved a lot more manipulation and "flexible" ethics, demonstrated by top sellers in the region. I'm not incapable of selling, closing, or getting my foot in the door...I simply didn't want to start lying and screwing business owners over to appease management. For this very reason, this is why you see alot of salespeople who just don't care about the customer...they've got to meet their number.

So it's not just car sales...it's most sales. To do the job right, the commitment to the customer has to come from the top down. While I tried to do things the right way and put up great numbers from time to time, I didn't have the support from management to do so. And that's the trap a lot of salespeople fall into...

Edited by red
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But what really burns my ass, is I will bet this assclown is making double what I do. <_<

Exactly.

And now maybe you understand a little better why I got out of the car business....?

Rememver my rants about ignorant customers who think the salesman who is trying

to help is the a$$hole while they eat of of the Praynig Manthis' hand, get screwed

hardcore and then come back to YOU in the end hoping you can help?

Yeah, all set. thins kind of thing happens ALL the time here in Mass.

Even though I know 85% of the tricks and I know better than to ever get screwed

on a payment/loan, I avoid making payments on a car like the plague.

The only car I've ever financed was my 5-year old used 1997 Cadillac STS, which

I only bouhgt cause it was my Ex's DREAM car. She was in love with it as much as

I was in love with the '68 Camaro that I had at the time for a summer-daily.

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Where shall you draw line in Employee honesty? I mean cheating the customers and yet being "honest" to the dealer, is that an act of honesty? It is the dealer's duty to let the employee know and be known what his job and his duties as a part of the dealership are, who inturn should be advised and taught by the parent company about the same, then only the problem will fade.

It's the dichotomy of the sales psyche: Many in management assume that if you are that 'aggressive' and 'creative' by ripping off and cheating the managment, that you are dynamite with the customers. It goes back to the notion that the only good salespeople are the alpha-type personalities that can persuade people into making a decision.

But its absolutely right, the point about management. Poor management don't see the real problems on the floor.

For example: who is a better salesperson, one who talks to 100 people a month and sells 12 vehicles, or one who talks to 20 and sells 6? The trouble is, all that management will see is the 12 and the 6, not the 88 customers blown out the door, versus 14.

When I was new in the business, I had a manager (who has been to about 8 dealers since) tell me to deliberately piss off the next 5 people who walked in the door. Seriously. He wanted me to prove I had the balls to badger these people to the point of them storming out. What I truly cannot believe is that this manager is still in the business!

More and more, sales involves 'managing' your customers, managing databases, being computer literate, etc. Unfortunately, the assertive, killer type personality that should be good at closing is not necessarily good with a keyboard or in getting good CSI scores.

Some stores get it and realize that a good sales force has to be nurtured and that a team has to be created. However, some still flounder around with 30 year old notions of what this business is, like working 12 hour days, endless paperwork and reports, irrelevant meetings on your own personal time, etc.

I look around at many of my friends who are in different fields and it is slowly dawning on me that pressures to perform and always go faster, further, higher are creating massive stresses in people's lives. I doubt that is going to get any better soon.

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