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Baldric’s Tips for Used Car Salesmen June 18, 2009

Posted by baldricman in Baldric-Man, General.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Well about 2 weeks ago the time came, at last, to start looking for a new car. My old faithful Kadett has done me well. Exceptionally well, in fact, but the old gal is getting old, so I think its time to give her a rest, and trade her in for something a little younger.

So I started browsing around at some second hand dealers, and so far the experience has been both exciting, and, unfortunately, extremely frustrating. I won’t make this a rant about the car industry in general (although I really could quite easily). No, for now, I’ll just share some of my favourite quotes from some of the salespeople I have had the, er, pleasure, of dealing with so far.

  • Hyundai salesman, on the towing capabilities of the 2-litre Hyundai Tucson “Well I’m not sure exactly, but that 1-litre Atos prime over there easily pulls a small caravan, no problem, so the Tucson, with an engine double the size, should tow anything” (Holy cow, seriously? You’re telling me that that 1-litre Atos putting out 45kW and 87Nm, and that probably weighs as much as the caravan, can “easily” tow a caravan, of ANY size???)
  • Opel salesman, after I told him my trade-in’s aircon isn’t working: “Wow, thank-you for being honest. I respect that in a man. Just like me. That’s why I’m the most successful salesman here, because I’m honest with my customers” (etc) – I was most thrilled to experience this first hand; a used-car salesman assuring me of his honesty. It was quite special.
  • Nissan salesman laughing when I tell him I only want to spend R120K on a car, at most: “Listen, what you need to do is set yourself a goal, and work really hard to be able to afford a decent car, at around R150K or so. “(etc) – Seriously? Not to sound arrogant or anything, but I most likely earn a lot more than you do buddy, so don’t tell me I need to “set goals” and “work hard”. That’s insulting. More importantly, I could easily be yet another idiot who spends the bulk of his salary on an expensive flashy car. (Just so you know dude, I *could* afford the 350Z, and that’s without any of that residual crap, if I wanted…) But I CHOOSE to only want to spend a certain amount.

I guess I’m just tired, already, of salesman making crazy assumptions about me.

So, as a service to all car salesmen out there, new or used, here are Baldric’s Top Tips for Selling Baldric a Car:

  • Don’t ever, ever make assumptions about my career or earnings, based on the price range I *choose* to look in. You only make a fool of yourself.
  • Don’t ever dare make assumptions about my family priorities (“if you’re worried about your family’s safety, which I’m sure you are, like any good husband, you’ll buy this car”), or about my “green-ness” (“this car is better for the environment”)
  • Please, don’t try convince me that that entry-level Chev Spark over there is quicker than my 2-litre Opel. I’m begging you. It’s sort of embarassing for both of us, don’t you think?
  • Please keep your opinions of how good a car looks to yourself. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and all that. Did you see me walking in with a white cane?
  • Don’t try sell every little aspect of the car as unique to that car. (Just in case you didn’t know, fog-lights, heated side mirrors, climate-control, side-impact bars, adjustable steering columns and folding rear-seats, have actually been around for well over 10 years. My 14-year old Opel has most of that stuff)
  • Put the damn prices on the cars. Its polite. Sometimes I’m in a hurry and just want to know how much something costs, and don’t feel like talking to you about my 10-year family plans and life goals first.
  • Finally, on a similar note, if I ask you what price range car X is going for, just tell me. Don’t spend the next 20 minutes trying to ask me what I want to spend each month. Strange as it may seem to you, MY monthly repayments are actually irrelevant to you. I’m smart enough to have worked out what I can afford beforehand.

Please study these carefully, and check back regularly for updates.



1. Deems - June 18, 2009

Brilliantly put mate, you’ve jotted down some good points there, most of which everyone has to deal with when looking to buy a new/used car.

I had to re-read the opening paragraph just to be sure you were talking about your car, not your wife 😉

It still amazes me that a lot of car salespeople seem to think they’re so much smarter than the average Joe walking in to ask about a new/used car. They also, as you’ve found and mentioned, don’t listen to the questions you ask instead run through their little “script” in their head.

Vehicle sales might actually increase (even in a weaker economy) if they just adhered to some of the points you’ve mentioned above.

Anyway, good luck with the car hunt.

baldricman - June 18, 2009

thanks man. Yeah you’re totally right. I really hate that when I ask a specific question about, say, the engine size (that’s a really simple question right?) they will tell me its a 1600, but then quickly squeeze in a lesson on fuel economy…which is probably incorrect. Lucky me. (It’s like the tyre salesman telling me putting nitrogen in my tyres will save me money. Bah!)

2. Juffs - June 18, 2009

Not that I’ve been in a position to a buy a car yet or anything – but what you’re saying makes total and utter sense. Sadly, it may be wishful thinking to believe that the “average” car salesmen will adhere to these requests.

Nice post, and good luck in your further dealings with them.

3. Ryan - June 18, 2009

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! “Set yourself a goal”… Of COURSE!!!! That guy is BRILLIANT! Why didn’t you think of that BEFORE you went in? “Set yourself a goal!” Pure genius.

4. Cath - June 18, 2009

heh… That’s my favorite trick of theirs… the firm hand-shake, looking you straight in the eye and then assuring you that the tiny, 1Ltr girlie car in the corner is the car for you… The sad thing is, most of them don’t get paid very well, and don’t know all that much about cars 😦

5. SSS - June 18, 2009

Rex.. just buy the 350/370z

baldricman - June 18, 2009

Haha, I thought you might say something like that SSS…. which is why I used the 350Z as an example 🙂 How is yours going by the way?

6. SSS - June 19, 2009

Once you have one, you wonder how other people enjoy their lives. However If i was you I wouldn’t even look at a new car, they just such rip offs, the best deals I can see are on used approved BMW’s, things with 3 years motorplan left, safe care free motoring for 3 years, good deals from bmw fianance , prime -5. Much better than buying a brand new car with 3 year warranty and crap non bmw service.

7. Andrew - June 23, 2009

I just wanted to give a tip to buyers out there. If you’re buying second hand. Please, for heavens sakes, check the battery. You won’t believe how many customers come in wanting the crappiest battery we’ve got, because they’re planning on selling the car anyways. Or the ones’ who just bought a second hand car, only to find that the battery was on its last legs. So, for the sake of saving five to six hundred rand, CHECK THE BATTERY.

8. Baldric Can Haz New Wheelz « Baldric’s Blog - June 24, 2009

[…] congratulations to the car salesman who clearly read my post, Baldrics Tips  for Used Car Salesmen, and applied each rule diligently and correctly. Even when he came with for the test drive (which, […]

Stroker - July 27, 2009

Complain all you want about Car Salesman I’ve been doing this since I retired. Try being a Salesman for just a month & I’m sure you’d realize as I have that sometimes the general public are far worse than 99% of the salesmen & women I work 60 hours a week with. Just tell me what you want how much you’d like to pay & I’ll try to get you there. There are no hidden agendas, just understand that you can’t buy a 50,000 (usdollars) car for 300 a month….It is a fun job & mostly you meet very nice people & get to ride around in beautiful cars. Just drink the KoolAide & walk into the light

baldricman - July 27, 2009

Hi Stroker, thanks for stopping by. (You remind me of a few salesmen I met while looking for a car – I’d have thought maybe we’d met, but you’re in the US….)
I’m not quite sure you’ve fully understood my post above, could you perhaps elaborate on “…sometimes the general public are far worse than 99% of the salesmen…”?

9. Stroker - July 27, 2009

Trying to explain without triggering Total Blog Wrath on me just let me explain. I work mostly 11 hours a day talking & trying to help customers buy a car. I get paid 100% comission, if I don’t sell a car I don’t eat, drive my car or read by electric light. I got a customer the other day who took up an hour of my day I could of been helping a “buying” customer to show him how to operate the features of a car that was in our showroom. How to work the seats, navigation, & engine specs only to find out he’d purchased on ebay & just wanted to know the features benefits of the one he bought. One thing I will tell you is that after reading & seeing your blog I set up a blog myself. I’ve just started it but I’m walking through how I started & the ins & outs of buying a car…It’s neat as hell & kinda therapudic….lol…I’m sure I spelled something wrong….

baldricman - July 27, 2009

hehe, thanks again Stroker. Sadly, I’ve heard similar stories to yours from other salesmen, and it’s unacceptable. But, we obviously all want to avoid an “us versus them” mentality… my post was really a rant, albeit a light-hearted one, based on actual experiences I had with some less-than-pleasant salesmen. In the few weeks I spent looking for cars, however, I met and dealt with several great salesmen, and unfortunately could only give my business to one of them (and in fact, I wrote another post about it at https://baldrics.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/baldric-can-haz-new-wheelz/ 🙂 )
All the best with your sales Stroker (and feel free to send the link to your blog)

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