Automotive

What Happens When You Buy A Car: THE SALES MANAGER

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  • Jul 5th, 2019 6:22 am
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 25, 2019
25 posts
134 upvotes

What Happens When You Buy A Car: THE SALES MANAGER

'Hold on MR/MRS Customer, I need to go check with the manager!

* Customer rolls their eyes. I roll my eyes.

I HATE THIS AS MUCH AS YOU DO!

Let me explain. When I started 5 years ago, I had full access to pricing, payments, rates, interest and the dealership cost of each vehicle. I could and would work out pricing and give a certain amount of discount and close my own deals. I did need the Used car manager to appraise trade in values and that makes sense as it is not my money I am spending. What I loved is I could sit down and go from A-Z with a customer and not need to run to the manager every 5 minutes. If I sold 10 Corollas this month with an average of $900-$1200 discount, I could use this number when quoting customers. I could also use the Toyota.ca website when a client wasn't too sure about what vehicle suited their budget and cover more ground like comparing a lease on a Corolla vs Camry for example. Generally during this time having to visit the Sales Manager was few and far between and I really feel the customers liked this and it made us more professional in their eyes, I didn't need a manager 80% of the time and just sold the cars myself. I would even take the credit application if the customers didn't want to meet the 'Finance Guy' and have someone submit it to the bank later.

Then the changes started happening.

BIG SHOT MANAGERS with fancy suits and too large watches were hired by the dealer group to 'take us to the next level'. The first thing they did was strip away our pricing program and ability to view inventory. Now only a MANAGER could quote prices and let you know what we have in stock for inventory. Our titles were changed to Product Advisors and our only job now was to demonstrate the cars, sell the feature and then log their information so we could harass the shit out of people... sorry I mean follow up and thank them for coming in. Now the mangers do not want us to ask customers how they want to pay... this must come from them. They are the experts and will make suggestion based on us giving the managers a 'profile' of our client when we go into the sales office. For example if I go see my manager who has less experience in sales than me to get pricing for a customer that I have just spend an hour test driving and going over options and tell them that 'Mr/MRS customer wants to finance for 5 or 6 years' they get pissy and will start the interrogation with me... Did you discuss the interest rates (even though they are plastered all over the goddam showroom)? Are they buying now? What do they owe on their trade? Did they mention the pricing? and so on.

Then the manager will make a pricing proposal for the customer and no matter what I tell them it will contain a lease price if they want to finance. All customers must get a lease price, even if they specifically said 'I hate leasing and want to finance' they must be presented a lease. If they said they are paying cash, they must be presented a finance payment over multiple terms and down payments. Both these options are done to present a lower monthly payment (bi weekly) of course...not to save you money....but to make it easier to sell BACK END PRODUCTS like rustproofing and warranties later. (Separate thread on this). If you are looking at a $500 a month finance payment and you switch to a lease at $199 bi weekly, it's easier to sell a warranty at $220 bi weekly because it seems LESS than the $500. Everything is focused towards the BACK END of the deal and this whole structure is designed to make it easier for profit to be made there.

At this point the manager will 'coach' me on what to say... tell the customer this and that and try to close the sale. Now I flat out refuse to do this and I am not really a 'sales' type and many of my customers like my laid back approach. Sure I am missing a few sales here and there because I am not a 'go getter' but I have tons of repeat business so my numbers are good and repeat business is much more enjoyable that 1st time selling. I am not going to 'parrot' what someone sitting behind a glass wall is going to tell word for word to a customer, it is not natural and it makes me cringe. Now if the customer leaves without buying, I have to go in and explain why I didn't close the deal.

**I have always felt that most people are not buying first time around at the dealership, so my goal is to do a good enough job to get a follow up appointment and see what happens. Car shopping is a process for most people and we meet them at various stages of that process, only the ones in the final stage (vehicle selection, budget and desire to purchase) are really closable... meaning ready to buy or negotiate for the purchase of a new or used vehicle.

Now after your visit to the showroom, everything is logged... what car you look at, test drove, prices given, reaction and contact information. All of this is logged on our CRM and our Sales Statistics are created. Test drive percentage, 1st time close, be-backs (2nd or 3rd visits) and if the manager came out to meet you before you leave. Now during the sales meeting the Managers will furiously pound on the desk with their fist that EVERY customer must meet them before they go !! No exceptions, they are managers so customers maybe explain why they didn't buy to the manager instead of the sales person. Of course in practice getting a manger out of their office to meet a grump customer who is not buying is always fun :)

Now sometimes it does get busy in the sales office if only one manager is on shift so it does take a while to get a quote.

Many times I have sat in the office waiting 'my turn' while a customer is sitting at my desk probably wondering 'what the hell is he REALLY doing in there?... I hope this sheds some light
Last edited by CodyLun on Jan 29th, 2019 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
72 replies
Deal Addict
Apr 5, 2016
3733 posts
2367 upvotes
Calgary/Vancouver
The sales manager is there to make sure profit margins are met and the dealer's bottom line is maintained or increased. If too much discount was given in a period of time, it's the manager's job to make sure to balance it back with a few higher profit sales.

If all the sales staff had access to dealer cost, you'll literally just sell at a set margin. This may not work well with the dealership's bottom line especially if it's during a month of heavy advertising where they need to make a bit more to cover additional cost. There may be a manufacturer contest where they need a certain percentage.

Sadly, right now most people are shopping based on price. This whole entire forum is full of these people. A lot of people especially the younger ones don't care about customer service and will go to the one with the best price even if they delivered shitty experience. This is why many managers push for a buy today type sales tactics. It sucks even more because people will take your price, then go to another dealer and they will offer $100 off and sign with them.

The really good managers have a skype system set up where you can quickly send the manager a message, and he can get back to you with an offer. They can even do a skype call so they can listen in on the conversation and provide quotes or coaching on the spot.
Last edited by bomber17 on Jan 29th, 2019 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Current Fido customer.
Ex Koodo customer.
Newbie
Nov 18, 2017
65 posts
17 upvotes
Keep up these informative threads. I think most people into cars have a pretty good idea that this stuff is going on, but knowing this coming from a car sales guy is useful. I really effing hated how the salesguy who sold me my latest car had to leave the office probably 8-10 times to talk to the manager during our 2-hour negotiation. Super frustrating. Now I know why.
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
2230 posts
1156 upvotes
Interesting - thanks for sharing. I recently bought a Corolla from Kitchener Toyota. Question for you in case I'm in a similar situation in the future - I really liked the car and intended to buy it (I didn't let on) but disliked the sales guy - he was a sleezy, fear-mongering bully who I found disrespectful but I felt obligated to go with him. I initially emailed the dealership about the car after seeing the listing online and he's the one that responded via email/text, which was fine. I came in that day to see that car but when I met him, I was not impressed by him but it was towards the end of the day and apparently, he stayed past his shift when he knew I was coming - what's the etiquette on asking for a different sales person? No manager came out to meet me even though the sales guy came running out to him every 5mins which was annoying.

On top of that, they charged me for detailing/cleaning but the car wasn't cleaned . I got 2 stories from them 1) they're busy and understaffed so some of the work has been subpar 2) they're busy and didn't actually clean the car (but still charged me) - not sure which is worse. I contact to the used car sales manager, he was useless. Spoke to the owner and while he apologized he wasn't surprised or seem to really care. I got a refund for the cost of detailing at least. It was my first time buying from a dealership and it was a disappointing experience. Love my car though!
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Oct 13, 2008
3230 posts
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Oshawa
I love your threads. Very resourceful. Big insight.

Im starting to think of doing one for my former employer : the hated Rogers ... A call Centre retention department perspective.
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[OP]
Newbie
Jan 25, 2019
25 posts
134 upvotes
hierophant wrote:
Jan 29th, 2019 9:41 pm
Interesting - thanks for sharing. I recently bought a Corolla from Kitchener Toyota. Question for you in case I'm in a similar situation in the future - I really liked the car and intended to buy it (I didn't let on) but disliked the sales guy - he was a sleezy, fear-mongering bully who I found disrespectful but I felt obligated to go with him. I initially emailed the dealership about the car after seeing the listing online and he's the one that responded via email/text, which was fine. I came in that day to see that car but when I met him, I was not impressed by him but it was towards the end of the day and apparently, he stayed past his shift when he knew I was coming - what's the etiquette on asking for a different sales person? No manager came out to meet me even though the sales guy came running out to him every 5mins which was annoying.

On top of that, they charged me for detailing/cleaning but the car wasn't cleaned . I got 2 stories from them 1) they're busy and understaffed so some of the work has been subpar 2) they're busy and didn't actually clean the car (but still charged me) - not sure which is worse. I contact to the used car sales manager, he was useless. Spoke to the owner and while he apologized he wasn't surprised or seem to really care. I got a refund for the cost of detailing at least. It was my first time buying from a dealership and it was a disappointing experience. Love my car though!
This is a hard one. First, you should have asked to speak to the sales manager and requested another sales person. This happens often as sometimes personalities do not match and at the end of the day YOU are the customer and need to feel comfortable with the sales person. The manager will just be happy you didn't leave and go somewhere else. It has happened to me and life goes on. 2 hours too negotiate? Too long!! After the first offer-counter offer, tell the sales person you would like the manager to come out or sit with them directly. This is not an insult to the sales person... I feel if the manager has all the answers and the pricing...get your *** out there and deal with the customer! It will be appreciated all around.

The cleaning is a separate issue. We also suffer staffing issues and even today both clean up guys called in sick and I was going to have to wash another one of my deliveries. You should not be charged for the clean as far as I am concerned. I would write a google review about your experience with the cleaning.... this really seems to get the management moving. If someone reaches out to you and makes it write, offer to edit the review. I can tell you that many places under-staff the wash bays and the poor guys are worked to the bone... and do not have the right tools to detail properly. This of course is not an excuse for them, just what I see at my place... but we do not charge for cleaning EVER.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 25, 2019
25 posts
134 upvotes
Well said. The customers have changed so much over the years. I do believe that the dealerships did it do themselves when I hear about what use to happen in the industry, but now it has swung too far the other way with too many competing dealers and self absorbed ass**** customers... we have had people who have been to the dealership 5-7 times doing various test drives, keeping staff after close, tons of follow up only to buy at another dealership over $4.... yes $4

This is why its my last week in the car business.
Member
Feb 25, 2015
459 posts
190 upvotes
ON
I refuse to do the to do the whole back and forth dog and pony show. The last car I bought I reached out on unhaggle, dealer contacted me knowing I wanted a deal. I made it clear I was ready to buy and we worked out a price over a 5 minute phone call and made the deal based on his word I would never speak to a finance manager. A week later and a few emails for licensing and insurance I picked up the car signed the papers and drove off in about 40 minutes.

Do your homework and know exactly what you want and be prepared to walk if you enter a dealer.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 25, 2019
25 posts
134 upvotes
Invalid12 wrote:
Jan 29th, 2019 10:29 pm
I refuse to do the to do the whole back and forth dog and pony show. The last car I bought I reached out on unhaggle, dealer contacted me knowing I wanted a deal. I made it clear I was ready to buy and we worked out a price over a 5 minute phone call and made the deal based on his word I would never speak to a finance manager. A week later and a few emails for licensing and insurance I picked up the car signed the papers and drove off in about 40 minutes.

Do your homework and know exactly what you want and be prepared to walk if you enter a dealer.
Did you test drive the car at the local dealer?
Sr. Member
Mar 28, 2011
675 posts
468 upvotes
Toronto
I once bought off a fleet mgr at $300 over cost and no other fee. Everything done by email, then went in to sign a few documents and grabbed the keys same day.

Other times I tell the sales person this is the price, go only once to your mgr and if we negotiate any further I’m walking. Worked 2 out of 3 times only cause I did my research prior on what prices others paid. The other time took 2 visits to the mgr only cause I was a bit more aggressive on the deal and pushing my luck but I settled on my plan B price which the sales mgr accepted.

You have to be able to call your own bluff and walk out cause they will make sure they close an easy sale if you are confident in your offer price being fair for both yourself and the dealership.
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2007
2072 posts
614 upvotes
Yup, online and doing your own research is absolutely the way to go, especially after reading what OP confirmed.

Our last vehicle purchase (July 2018) was all done via email, including all the paper work for credit app, in surance etc. In fact we didn't even see the sales in person once!! On the day of delivery we dealt with a delivery specialist and that was it.... it was a beautiful experience.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jul 12, 2003
10477 posts
2748 upvotes
Markham
Haha, this sales tactic won't work for me then. I know exactly what I want and how I pay for it, I just need the Sales person to give me the interest rate and run the number for me as I requested to and I will chose my preferred way to get the car plus my ideal price to pay for it.

I worked in Sales, just not automotive. There is always a sales coach which think they are the expert and make formula for sales people to follow.
It may work for some customers but not all.
Retired Forum Moderator February 2009 - June 2015
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Feb 25, 2015
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CodyLun wrote:
Jan 29th, 2019 10:34 pm
Did you test drive the car at the local dealer?
I test drive dealers that are closest to where I work (for convenience) I'll call 30min before arriving talk to a random sales staff and let them know I'm doing my due dilligance and would like a test drive. When I arrive I make it clear I'm not buying at this point. This does two things, first I don't waste the sales staff time and second they usually won't take the time to go on the test drive with me.
Member
Feb 25, 2015
459 posts
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MP3_SKY wrote:
Jan 29th, 2019 10:48 pm
Haha, this sales tactic won't work for me then. I know exactly what I want and how I pay for it, I just need the Sales person to give me the interest rate and run the number for me as I requested to and I will chose my preferred way to get the car plus my ideal price to pay for it.

I worked in Sales, just not automotive. There is always a sales coach which think they are the expert and make formula for sales people to follow.
It may work for some customers but not all.
You are fortunate to have the sales experience. I don't have that so right away I feel like sharks are circling on the sales floor. Thankfully RFD has taught me a lot about the process especially insiders like OP.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 31, 2006
4545 posts
789 upvotes
Toronto
most people here won't be wasting their time going to dealership to sit there wait for hours for you to go back and forth for a price. most of us just get a price from unhaggle, send out some emails to the sales manager, agree on a price and go sign the papers and you are done.

use this method for my last car, saved so much time. send out maybe 5 emails, 3 got back to me, 2 with the exact same lowest price, went to the one my friend got his car from. Probably took me a few hours to get in done in the comfort of my own home.
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