Analysing Dubious Selling Practices Within the Auto Industry

By: Scott James

OK it might be an idea to say right from the outset that this article is not purely an exercise in just bashing car salesmen. I have nothing against many car salesmen personally it's not my role to cast opinions on them for doing their job. I am merely just concerned that at certain times they tend to be slightly zealous possibly in some of the practices that they carry out.

Now we all think that it's important to say is that sales or the activity of selling is absolutely vital to the economy and society that we live within today. In fact there is certain validity in the argument that it is potentially the most important part of the business cycle.

To be honest, most people can design and make things most people with a bit of ingenuity can find money to fund things but the entire process falls flat on its face if you cannot find anybody to sell your product. More importantly life is a complete disaster if you cannot find anybody who can sell your product profitably.

I think one of the reasons that the automobile industry gets such a bad rap for want of a better expression is that it is possibly more high pressure and incentivized than the most industries and therein lies the problem.

As the great American showman PT Barnum would say "a fool and his money are soon parted"and never has this been better exemplified than in the car industry.

You see a the situation where you have a huge part of the economy developed to provide what has now almost become one of the basic necessities of life and by that I mean the ability to independently transport herself from A to B. Because this market is so huge and because there are so many competitors within the marketplace by and large the major retailers or Car Distributors are operating on wafer thin margins.

This means that they had to make sales and the achievement of their sales target is essential. It is absolutely critical to whether that business lives or dies. This means that quite often you have a situation in a car dealership or showroom where it is almost possible to feel an atmosphere that is a mixture of fear and desperation that resembles a fever pitch when a prospective customer walks into the sales room.

It is from this environment that some of the horror stories emerge. Details such as the couple who decided to look for a new car and drove to the nearest car dealership and upon their arrival the salesman takes the car keys from the ignition and throws them up onto the roof of the dealership announcing that they wouldn't be needing them anymore because they would be leaving with a brand-new car. This is fine and dandy if you do leave with a new car but not quite so funny if you don't as this particular couple found out to their cost.

Then there are the finance deals with people who think they are negotiating on finance only to find out when they manage to get round to signing the paperwork that the actual cost of the car sometimes can be twice the amount they were initially quoted.

Perhaps this short piece on dubious selling practices can be summed up by considering the following anecdote.

Three men were driving in a car to a meeting in a strange town when one of the tyres on the car blows. The three men were software manager, a hardware manager and a car sales manager.

The men get out of the car and look at the problem. First of all software manager looks at them and says, "I can't do anything about this it's a hardware problem".

A hardware manager looks at the problem and says "maybe if we turn the car off and on again in it might fix itself".

The car salesman looks of the situation and says "hey 75% of it is working, lets sell it!"

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