What Happens When You Buy A Car: THE SALES 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