Buyers may sometimes be liars but transparency is the key

Whilst traditionally there has always been a kind of mutual disrespect, mistrust and sometimes dislike between some car sales people and their potential customers, this current car crisis has bought home the need to improve standards and offer more transparency between both parties. There is an old saying within showrooms up and down the country which hopefully is not so prelevant at present because it can’t be allowed to be. ‘Buyers are liars’ is a phrase that has been used by sales managers over the years when a customer has the audacity to inform them that they have received a better trade-in price or another dealer will cut them a better deal!

This is often a defence mechanism as all car dealer sales staff assume they are the best and have the greatest cars at the best prices which will make them the best commission. Obviously they can’t be all these things but who can blame some clever customers who attempt to bend the truth when seeking to gain a suitable deal? Ask yourself will they get a great deal if they don’t work for it? No way, so where is the common ground? The honest hardworking sales team who spend hours with their customers trying their best to match them with a car that suits them for a fair price are rightly devastated when the customer thanks them for their time and effort, but has decided to go with a competitor because it is a couple of hundred pounds cheaper. By the same token the customer who plays it fair and makes the job simple and enjoyable will feel bitter when he is told that’s the best deal on offer and signs up only to find he could have got the car a £1,000 cheaper somewhere else!

There are many examples of skulduggery from all sides but perhaps it would be better in the current climate for everyone to put their cards on the table and try their utmost to get the car done and stop playing games. For instance if a car is as rare as hens teeth and a dealer is sure he won’t readily replace it, why not tell the customer that this is the price and if they can find one elsewhere that’s cheaper they can maybe strike a better deal. Conversely if the car can be easily replaced then why not just do a great deal and spread the goodwill?

The following thoughts may help explain.

  • Selling cars for a loss is obviously bad for business but if the model is not selling a smaller loss is better than a bigger one down the line.
  • Sales people who work for commission are rightly trying their best to earn as much money as possible to support their families, but honesty and integrity are surely the best way of achieving repeat customers and referral business.
  • Getting upset will not help sell more cars when buyers want to go compare, there is a choice and sellers must realise this, good customers will usually stick with those that make most effort.
  • Introducing the trade-in at the last minute, sometimes when a deal has been struck is not going to help the customer get a better deal it will usually mean being offered less than they could have been, but if dealers offered a fair price up front instead of holding back the deal could get done quicker.
  • Being aggressive with each other and trying to ‘win’ will not solve the issue of negotiating the best price it just leads to bad feeling and won’t get the deal done.
  • When a dealer offers any extras or finance add-ons they can often be more profitable than the car itself but at the very least the sales person should only offer what the customer really needs and not what makes most money.
  • Once the sale is complete don’t stop returning calls from your customers and at least spend some time with a proper handover, after all the car purchase is quite a major one, the customer should not expect to get the whole thing over within minutes as questions will only need to be answered later.
  • By being honest and knowledgeable, helpful and professional sales people will always sell cars to more people eventually, it really is a numbers game. The more buyers you treat correctly the more likely it is that more sales will be completed.
  • These are just a few aspects of the sales process and if there was more transparency between all parties it may end up being a lot more enjoyable too.

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    5 Responses to Buyers may sometimes be liars but transparency is the key

    1. Mark Robbins March 3, 2009 at 10:11 am #

      True, both parties do and will lie occasionally, it depends on the degree of the lie, for example, if i am asked by the customer (as we all are from time to time) “Why did the last owner sell it?” I am not about to turn around and say “Because they really hated the way it drove / no boot space / uses to much fuel” etc, as for giving the best deal, I have said time and time again on this forum, sometimes a customer really is being offered the VERY BEST deal you can give without going backwards but its still not enough! no wonder salesman that know their job quantify a customers value, I for one will not spend an hour or more with someone that has no intention of buying, yes the customer is important, but so is my time, shoot me down here but more often than not nowadays it is the customer who continues to play games, the salesman i know just dont have the time or inclination for it, they want to sell cars, not talk about them!

    2. Sally Jackson March 4, 2009 at 10:37 am #

      If you don’t talk about the cars then you will not sell them! Maybe you are in the wrong game? You are right about one thing the very best salespeople can spot a time waster a mile off…but they still need to talk to them first. It is a “numbers game” after all the more people you speak with the more you will sell to. Your best deal is your best deal but why don’t your customers believe you? Maybe you need to look within rather than without. Just my humble opion. Sally

    3. Mark Robbins March 4, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

      Because they always think a “better deal” is just around the coner Sally, sometimes it isnt! after 26yrs of dealing with the public I think i can spot the timewasters pretty well, usually within the first few minutes you know! I have no problem with talking about cars to potential customers but I am certainly not going to discuss their life story with them first, many so called customers do anything but talk about the purchase! as for a numbers game, have never believed in the “Main Agent Attitude to selling” no point in being “a busy fool” but I will not suffer fools gladly, I am not here to waste mine or their time, simple as that really.

    4. Sally Jackson March 4, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

      No offence but are you sure you are in the right business? Just how many cars did you sell last month? Selling autos is a differnt ball game now. Customers today, especially in the US, expect the salesperson to work hard for the sale. I think your attitude may scare away the timewasters but how many potential buyers go away with them? Have you heard the phrase “adapt or die”? Sally

    5. Mark Robbins March 6, 2009 at 10:05 am #

      No offence taken Sally, but this is the UK not the US, I welcome buyers with open arms but not the timewasters, go waste someone else’s time, plus this is my business, if you use half a million pounds plus of your OWN money (not the banks) nor Main Agent selling (WHICH IS JUST A NUMBERS GAME) and again not your own money then its a whole different ball game. I hear the same argument time and time again, but believe me when every penny in that business is yours the last thing you want to do is waste time with certain people, as for your comments, “How many cars did you sell last month” ive been doing this job for nearly twenty seven years and have probably sold more cars than you have ever seen Sally. No offence !!

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