Used car sales 101

Having just been car shopping on the weekend, I found the experience quite unpleasant. It seems to me that used car salesmen nowadays just have no idea about customer service! So here's Pete's guide to being a used car salesman.

Clean your stock
The worst: A place in Fyshwick. The guy actually tried to get me to sit in a car that was absolutely filthy. Food crumbs all over the upholstery and dashboard, the exterior was covered in a nice shade of "mud brown", and the car smelled like smoke.

The best: Mitsubishi in Braddon. Every car but one I looked at was clean. They smelled fresh, there weren't food crumbs everywhere, and the cars looked like they had been cleaned in the last week. The one exception was a car they had received delivery of the previous day, and hadn't had the time to clean yet.

Let the customer browse
Don't pounce on the customer as soon as he enters your yard! Firstly, you will very likely get a response of "I'm just browsing" as an instant reaction. Secondly, you won't get the opportunity to observe what they're interested in.

Pay attention to the customer
Following on from the previous point, observe what the customer is looking at before you offer to help.

The worst:
Ford in Braddon. Having been looking at Focuses and Astras, the guy offered to show me a Falcon Ute. Are you serious???


Submitted by QueenBee on Mon 04/12/2006 - 17:03

oh really? you didn't want to look at utes? your such the ute person!!!!

and yes but used car salesmen have a reputation to keep up, you can't have them polite and helpful otherwise who's going to be rude and sleezy?

Submitted by Joelith on Mon 04/12/2006 - 18:48

Your 2nd and 3rd points contradict. You can't pay attention to the customer if you haven't acknowledged them! But I understand what you mean sometimes sales people come over to strong and that scares people.. But having worked in sales if you don't acknowledge the customer quickly they walk off and think that you aren't interested in taking their money.

Submitted by nemesis on Tue 05/12/2006 - 10:46

There's a difference between acknowledging a customer and pouncing on them. Acknowledging could simply be in the form of making eye contact and a a smile.

Submitted by bartondunn on Sat 05/04/2008 - 00:39

For those who do not know how cars sales work, allow me to explain. we don't sell we don't eat! we can not afford to wait to speak to a customer, if we do some other sales person will get the customer first. we are commission pay only! no hourly wage, no salary... further more, if someone walks on to a lot and doesn't know what they are looking for, it is my job to find out what there wants and needs are, and pair them with a car that is close to what i have in my inventory. if your walk onto a lot and are just looking for the eye candy, it may not meet your needs. if i sell the eye candy to you... lets say it a red 2 seater convertabile, but you have 3 kids, how are you gonna feel about me the next day? you'll hate me and never come and buy a car from me again. a good sales person is all about customer service. we live off of repeat and refferal business. you should not paint all car salesman with a broad brush. if you goto buy a car with the attitude that every car sales man is out to get me, then of course you will have a bad buying experiance. one other thing i wanted to say... holding back information from a car sales man is a waist of your time and theirs. if he asked you what payment range are you looking for tell him... it makes no since for him to show you a $40,000 car if your looking for a $300 payment. the $40,000 car may be eye candy, but damn it, you can't afford it. so don't waist my time and yours. keep in mind we are not paid by the hour. i know someday we will find a way to bill for our waisted time on customers who are there to do nothing but waist our time. most car salesmen are friendly, it's our job to be likable. perhaps you should turn the lense into a mirror and see if it is you who are causing yourself to have a bad car buying experience.