• Learn To Be Even More Successful When You Know What People Don’t Like About Your Industry

    Unlike a lot of my friends and peers, I want to know my shortcomings. I want to know what people think about me and my reputation. While it may be scary, and whether the perception is right or wrong, my only chance of changing it is by understanding or knowing what other people think or feel.

    Being in sales my entire adult life I have learned that the only thing people hate worse than a salesperson is an attorney. Okay, and a politician. Okay, even worse… a used car salesman. We’ve all heard it, we all know it. Now what can we do to overcome it!

    Before we try to put the carriage before the horseless carriage we should look at what people dislike most (or what they think they dislike the most) about auto dealers, especially used auto dealers. Only then can we change that perception.

  • 1. Pushy Salesperson Syndrome

    People hate to be pushed and especially when we know its happening. We want to make a decision in our own timeframe and at our own comfort level. The problems: First, most car salespeople need the sale, so they push. Second, most car salespeople either are not trained in the art of persuasion or they just are not that smart and can’t grasp what it takes to make buyers comfortable. This creates a stigma that not only makes buyers uncomfortable, but it makes them wish there was another way to buy cars. This is bad for you and bad for the industry.

  • 2. Ripoff Rumor (or Truth)

    Next time you're out with friends, share the story about the nightmare you had when you purchased your last used car, and everyone at the table will have a story to match it or beat it. While many of these stories may be made up or exaggerated, the perception remains. Auto dealers (especially used auto dealers) should attempt to create stories of exceptional experiences (watch for how to do that in an upcoming tips article).

  • 3. The Lemon “Aid”

    You’re selling a 2 ton piece of used machinery that has sat outdoors in sub-zero temperatures and been exposed to other wonderful elements. It may have been owned by someone who didn’t exactly keep it in the best of shape or care for it in accordance with the “Loving Owners Car Manual”. Not every car you sell is going to perform the way you hope it will. In addition to that, it’s a machine! Things are going to go wrong. Furthermore, buyers are often overzealous. Their expectations may be slightly (or more than slightly) higher than what you know the reality to be. Every person that sets out to purchase a car has at one time or another wondered, "Is this a huge mistake? Am I going to end up with someone else’s nightmare?" Unfortunately, sometimes they do, but sometimes it’s due to their faulty expectations that they are so angry and dissatisfied. There are ways to change their expectations and make them a “happy customer” who will eternally sing your praises.

  • 4. People Hate (Car) Surprises

    Most people would say that surprises are good. I prefer not to have surprises. Unfortunately, it is after the sale that most used car buyers get the biggest surprises. The car breaks down on the way home, the brakes go out within a couple of months (which seems like a couple of days), something goes wrong and the “bumper to bumper" warranty isn’t exactly what they thought you said it is. The best thing you can do to improve your reputation is to make sure that there are no surprises, unless you do what I did for years: every time I sold something I sent the buyer a big (unexpected) bouquet of flowers.

    Eliminate the surprises… make new friends.

  • 5. They’re Crooks!

    If there were 3 words that people use to describe used car salespeople what would they be? Don’t know? I do. Crooks. Liars. Shysters. Okay, there are plenty more, but I guarantee you that if you start up a used car conversation with a small group of people (that don’t know you’re in the business) these words will come up 90% of the time. Look, this industry has its share of crooks, liars and shysters, but it also has its share of good, honest, hard-working professionals that care about their business, their reputation and their community… and yes, even their customers. The best way we can combat this stigma is to change the minds of our customers, one by one. You can’t do it yourself but you can certainly have a huge impact on the perception that your customers have about you.

    Watch GMAA Tips for the things a Used Car Professional can do to change perceptions and make more sales.