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Car salesmen? do they know the product?

The last time you went to the dealer was the salesperson able to answer your questions?  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. The last time you went to the dealer was the salesperson able to answer your questions?

    • 100% of my questions were answered correctly
      1
    • 90% of my questions were answered correctly
      0
    • 80% of my questions were answered correctly
      1
    • 70% of my questions were answered correctly
      2
    • 60% of my questions were answered correctly
      0
    • 50% of my questions were answered correctly
      6
    • 40% of my questions were answered correctly
      4
    • 30% of my questions were answered correctly
      3
    • 20% of my questions were answered correctly
      0
    • 10% of my questions were answered correctly
      4
    • none of my questions were answered correctly
      1


26 posts in this topic

Sadly, I'm not sure tons of product knowledge means a damn. Our two top salespeople don't know squat - they come to me for info! They can assess people quickly, build bridges and close the deal.

A perfect case in point is our #1 used car guy who can sell Nissan, Ford, Chrylser - anything. It is impossible to keep track of all those makes and models, but he does very well.

It disturbs me that a lot of salespeople don't try and keep abreast of at least their own products, let alone the competition. I believe things are getting better. I know GM certainly puts on a lot of training seminars, not to mention live satellite feeds to the dealers.

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Sadly, I'm not sure tons of product knowledge means a damn.  Our two top salespeople don't know squat - they come to me for info!  They can assess people quickly, build bridges and close the deal.

  A perfect case in point is our #1 used car guy who can sell Nissan, Ford, Chrylser - anything.  It is impossible to keep track of all those makes and models, but he does very well.

  It disturbs me that a lot of salespeople don't try and keep abreast of at least their own products, let alone the competition.    I believe things are getting better.  I know GM certainly puts on a lot of training seminars, not to mention live satellite feeds to the dealers.

yea i only know GM stuff... i know a bit here or there about all other makes, but not a full knowledge...

and i know how our stuff kind of stacks up... but i remember one of the most difficult questions for me was whats the difference between Duramax and Powerstroke... i was like :blink: well... powerstroke is ford and duramax is GM :duh:

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Sadly, I'm not sure tons of product knowledge means a damn.  Our two top salespeople don't know squat - they come to me for info!  They can assess people quickly, build bridges and close the deal.

  A perfect case in point is our #1 used car guy who can sell Nissan, Ford, Chrylser - anything.  It is impossible to keep track of all those makes and models, but he does very well.

  It disturbs me that a lot of salespeople don't try and keep abreast of at least their own products, let alone the competition.    I believe things are getting better.  I know GM certainly puts on a lot of training seminars, not to mention live satellite feeds to the dealers.

also to add to that... our dealership tells us from the start, most customers will know more about the product then you do, because they know whats important to them. on the other hand, if you dont know the product... its sometimes hard for a customer to rational paying 50k for a new tahoe, if they dont know what kind of goodies it has

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There is no easy answer, based on the way the poll is structured.

I always walk into the showroom when I take our cars for an oil change. At our Caddy dealer, someone always walks up to me and asks if he/she can help. Some sales people are very knowledgeable. Some are not.

I can almost always count on the knowledgeable salesman being there each time I visit. The others come and go.

Is the best salesman accurate 100% of the time, yes ....... but if someone is only 50% accurate and willing to listen to my point of view, I consider them to be a good salesman.

If a salesman is 100% correct and arrogant about it, I probably wouldn't buy a car from that person.

When I bought the Trailblazer in December of 04, the salesman took me out to the vehicle and explained the controls. When I asked a question he couldn't answer, he excused himself and came back with someone that had the answer. Now that's a good salesman. He's still at that dealership. so I assume he's well liked by the dealer and the customers.

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The key thing is that the salesperson should know where to GET the information and be happy to do so.

Even with GM products, there are so many models, engines, wheelbases...impossible to know it all. Concentrate on what the dealership sells the most of (we've only sold 1 2007 Tahoe so far, but dozens of Aveos!) and know them well.

And yeah, most Corvette buyers will know more than I EVER could about their machines....

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Personally I've had pretty good sucess with salesman, but one of my dad's friends who is considering a G6 convert went to the dealer and asked if they had one. They didn't (but the salesman had to check to make sure), so he asked to see a non-convert. So the salesman took them over to a G6 and they looked around it. Next my dad's friend asked if they had any with the panoramic roof. The salesman didn't know so he went to check... they were standing right next to one with the panoramic roof.

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Guest YellowJacket894

Well, I haven't been to a dealer since my parent bought a new Dodge Dakota (not the one I've mentioned that I borrow from my dad; their first), and that was in 1998. I remember having to go out and check for the salesman if the Sport package (what we optioned for) had a body colored grille or a gray plastic one. In case you didn't know, all Sport model Dakotas for '98 had body colored grilles. Add to that, I remember that there was a Sport model Dakota looking straight at the idiot through the window at his cubicle (although it was yellow or maybe white, and the Dakota we picked up was black).

And some local dealers here usually have half-hour to hour long infomericals that features the used cars on the lot (and sometimes new ones). And there's a local dealer who thinks that the Flex-Fuel system means that a car's engine can run on different grades of gasoline instead of either gasoline or ethanol. And that Lee Icocca still runs Chrysler Group.

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Originally the lady I was working with didn't know much. I forgive her because she looked like she's very new to the business. But then for some mysterious reason she left the dealership, so I dealt with the manager. And HE knows sh*t. Now THAT's unforgivable.

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Well, I think most of you know my experience at Michael Cadillac in Fresno. He was an idiot.... didn't even think that loose carpet and fit and finish pieces would hurt the sale of the car.

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I think I usually know more than they do when it comes to cars I like. Still, that's sad. They are the salespeople.

With anything in life, I never give a commission to someone who is pushy. If they sell in a helpful, courteous and informative way, that's who I want to get my commission money. I stick to that conviction.

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lol i'm just trying to see how effective salespeople are out there... i know that about 95% of my sales staff asks me for any info on GM... soo...?

Every dealership I ever worked at I was the resident

nerd & car guy. Saddly most car salesman are in it for

the money not for the love of cars. GM esp. seems to

have a high percentage of dealerships that just want

to f#% people out of money and move on to the next

guy and repeat. This is a sad state of affairs.

I've heard things come out of my colegue's mouths

that made me disgusted. A good portion of salesman

are ignorant, a small portion are just stupid and a

small portion of both are jerks. The ones I really

learned to hate were the ones who hated GM product

sold it anyway becuase they had no priunciple or

decency to stand by their beleifs. It's all $$$$. <_<

Stuff like

"Yes the Catera is FWD"

"No, Chevy does not make a 5-speed Cavalier anymore... sorry"

"The Silverado comes in AWD"

"The Pontiac Vibe is just a Toyota Matrix with crappier GM mechanicals"

"I just work here cause the pay is good I think GM cars suck"

:angry: x 1,000,000,000

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For the most part...no. The ones I have dealt with have been pretty good. I do all my own research before going to the dealership so I generally don't ask questions. If a salesperson says something that isn't correct I generally don't correct them because I think its a bit embarassing.

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The key thing is that the salesperson should know where to GET the information and be happy to do so. 

  Even with GM products, there are so many models, engines, wheelbases...impossible to know it all.  Concentrate on what the dealership sells the most of (we've only sold 1 2007 Tahoe so far, but dozens of Aveos!) and know them well.

  And yeah, most Corvette buyers will know more than I EVER could about their machines....

lol we're the opposite, we have sold maybe 5 aveo's this year, and maybe 200 2007 tahoes

we've just got in the avalanche and suburbans... very nice

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Never have I encountered an educating experience with a dealer salesman. Often, I walk into the place knowing more about the cars on the floor than they would even care to understand.

Example: The fiasco of having the dealer replace the head-unit of my wife's car because the salesman was 'certain' it was an MP3 player; which it wasn't, even though she'd pointed that out during the test drive and he seemed to dismiss the question with a completely confident, "Oh yes."

Would that kind of information and attention to detail help them sell more? I couldn't tell you; however, would it hurt?

Edited by ShadowDog

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Never have I encountered an educating experience with a dealer salesman.  Often, I walk into the place knowing more about the cars on the floor than they would even care to understand.

Example:  The fiasco of having the dealer replace the head-unit of my wife's car because the salesman was 'certain' it was an MP3 player; which it wasn't, even though she'd pointed that out during the test drive and he seemed to dismiss the question with a completely confident, "Oh yes."

Would that kind of information and attention to detail help them sell more?  I couldn't tell you; however, would it hurt?

i had a deal go sour because my parter said that someone could after production change their avalanche to include the side claddling... he also included that it would cost around 1000$... not only is it almost impossable, its also around 4500$

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I've encountered just about every level of knowlege in car salesmen. My experiences are not the norm though because I already know precisely what I want before I go to the dealer. I also walk in with a printout of the vehicle specs and invoice pricing in my hand. What I have done is develop a relationship with the dealer so we both know how the deal is going to go before it happens. They know me by name and know that I'm going to bring them more sales because they treat me right and don't play games with me. I always know more about current and future product than they do, but they know the nuts and bolts of the transaction and that makes for an easy process. The poll would have to be worded differently for my vote to be of value.

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I can walk into nearly any car dealership in the US (as can most people on this site) and be guarranteed to know more about the cars (new or used) on lot than the salespeople there. I've known this since I was a kid. I took a buddy to a car dealership years ago and as we were leaving, my buddy was laughing. I asked why and he said that it was because I corrected the salesperson, three times, on their own product.

But I'm not a salesperson, and that takes a special kind of person...one who doesn't necessarily need to know more about the product than the people he/she is selling to. I've tried to sell cars and I'm not good at it. I'm among the best at TALKING about cars, but I am among the WORST at selling them.

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And experienced salesmen can usually sniff out a smartass and walk away from them. We see those two: people who are only on the lot to discover reasons NOT to buy the product, or who are showing off to their girlfriend/parents, whatever.

The real trouble is there is a high wash out rate in this business. It is expensive to properly train someone and many dealers won't do it if they know it won't work out.

Think about this: if you work at Blockbuster or anywhere else, you must be paid during training. You also must be paid for every staff meeting (minimum 3 hours here in Ontario). Not so in the car business. It is common practice to hire 3 recruits with full intentions of firing two before their 3 month probation period is up.

Frankly, I am amazed that car salesmen never organized a union!

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Carbiz:

But see, that's what breeds money-driven assholes

in the business. Most salesman would rather exhaust

their efforts trying to screw some old lady on a used

Park Ave then actually know that it has a transverse

mounted 3800 under the hood with a belt driven

supercharger.

I've met salesman who knew less about cars than

my G/F. It makes me sick to hear some dumb kid

with a A&F shirt and no-wrinkle Khakis tell customers

blatantly erroneous info. about the basics. I can

honestly say that more than half the car salesman I

have known/run into do not know the basics.

DOHC versus Pushrod, whishbone versus MacPherson

Strut, transverse mounted motor as opposed to one

that's longitudinally mounted, they are usless as a

$#it sandwich.

The ones who are assholes to boot? Well, they make

my blood boil.

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But you are forgetting one important fact: YOU ARE AN ENTHUSIAST, MOST PEOPLE DON'T GIVE A &#036;h&#33;, NOR WOULD THEY KNOW.

There is an old joke in the biz

Customer asks how big is the engine?

Salesman hold his hands out about 4 feet apart and replies: "About this big."

In fact, it is sometimes fun to mess with the customer who thinks they know everything.

I suspect you have had many bad experiences with salespeople because they detect you are not buying, that you maybe just love cars and are kicking tires.

I applaud that. When I was a kid, I used to bug all the Ford, Chrysler and GM dealers in North York where I grew up. I used to write to Oshawa and Windsor every year and get tons of brochures.

However, because salesmen are paid a COMMISSION for selling something and NOTHING if they don't (which I personally don't agree with - I believe salespeople should be salaried and paid consultants, but that is my opinion) When you are kicking tires and showing off how much you know, that salesperson probably just lost his "up" in sequence and now has to wait an hour for the next one. My store isn't set up that way, but I know many that are.

As to the old lady, let me tell you a story when I was new to the biz:

A 70 year old lady from a monied address spent 90 minutes of my time, driving a new Intrigue, pouring over it. I was new and eager and just gushed enthusiasm and love for the Intrigue. It was 4:00 on a Friday and she said she wanted to drive it on the highway, which being Toronto and rush hour, we both know would be a waste of time. We sat down, worked some honest numbers and set an appointment for 10 a.m. on MOnday to drive it on the highway.

Monday came. 11:00 came. noon came. I finally got hold of her at 1:00 on MOnday. Oh, she said, I already bought an Intrigue on Saturday from another dealer

I learned a hard lesson that day. The next guy probably spent 20 minutes with her, knocked off a $100 and she bought it there. She had no intention of coming back Monday.

So don't tell me about little old ladies. I assume nothing any more.

And as to lying sacks of &#036;h&#33; salesmen: I have wondered which came first, the chicken or the egg? Many salesmen start out honest, eager and psyched, but get beaten down by the lies, deceit and games customers can play. That is why so many of them flush out after 6 months.

It is difficult to stay in this business and keep your integrity intact. You either learn how to play the customer's game or get out.

I am not cynical. Most days I love this business and am proud of what I do, but it has taken me a long time to build up a customer base and I am proud of having the highest CSI in my dealership.

But it has been a long, hard haul.

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Yeah, I tend to be that guy (know all) at the dealership....

The dealership where I bought my cars...is very cool with me. 8)

My family has bought there for many years.

I got my wife's side of the family to start buying there. (two so far)

I've had a few isues there, but for the most part, I'm quite happy with the dealership...

They are very good listeners, which is why I think they are so popular...

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Every dealership I ever worked at I was the resident

nerd & car guy. Saddly most car salesman are in it for

the money not for the love of cars. GM esp. seems to

have a high percentage of dealerships that just want

to f#% people out of money and move on to the next

guy and repeat. This is a sad state of affairs.

I've heard things come out of my colegue's mouths

that made me disgusted. A good portion of salesman

are ignorant, a small portion are just stupid and a

small portion of both are jerks. The ones I really

learned to hate were the ones who hated GM product

sold it anyway becuase they had no priunciple or

decency to stand by their beleifs. It's all $$$$. <_<

Stuff like

"Yes the Catera is FWD"

"No, Chevy does not make a 5-speed Cavalier anymore... sorry"

"The Silverado comes in AWD"

"The Pontiac Vibe is just a Toyota Matrix with crappier GM mechanicals"

"I just work here cause the pay is good I think GM cars suck"

:angry: x 1,000,000,000

Reminds me of someone. Read: Wagoner (Not Rick himself, but related.)

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Well my dealer at Saturn of Hempstead(his name is kevin) was completely knowledgable.

I dont remember much about Town and Country where I bought the Breeze...All I know is that I had a choice of a Red expresso and a silver base and I chose the silver one....and then while I was there, a trailer went on fire and about 20 Chryslers where blown up...it was kind of fun to here a car blowing up every 10 min.!

I went with my aunt the first time when she went to look at the PT's...the guy was kind of rushy but told us that we were sitting in a Touring model...she didnt ask too many questions..I kept my mouth shut(for observation of knowledge)...anyway she ended up buy a Linen Gold touring model that next month...for $17k I believe.

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The salesman that sold my mom her Venture told us that only FWD Ventures had a little "Versetrak AWD" badge on the liftgate...

I also had a Honda salesman tell me that an Odyssey EX came standard with a V8 after he asked if I liked V8s over V6s.

I think I could sell cars better than half the salespeople I've delt with.

Although the guy that sold me my Sonoma was very knowledgable about it, and he wasn't even a GMC salesguy, and the guy that sell my dad cargo vans is pretty good, too. Mixed bag, if you ask me.

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