Disclosure: This piece is soley intended as humor and any similarities to real world events are (probably...well, possibly) coincidental. Also, this is my article, damnit, so I can be as biased as I want.
1. Nobody Trusts Us, and Deservedly So.
My industry hasn't exactly built the most pristine reputation. We've become known for slick-talking, too-smooth pitches and we're expected to constantly spit out cheesy one-liners as sleight-of-hand to cover our fudged numbers and rusty bumpers. I've seen these kind of salespeople and managers. They usually go by nicknames like the "Hammer" and the "Crusher" and wander from dealership to dealership like vampire gypsies. I've also seen typically honest men and women catch the scent of blood at the first whiff of a "lay down," or easy close. And who could resist being able to tell your significant other that the budget is going to be fine this month thanks to that one car deal? Truth is, I want to be honest and straight-forward with people, but how do I answer the question, "What's your best price?" when we haven't even picked out a car yet? How do I know you got an offer for $53 less at Big Bob's Auto Emporium three months ago? At what point am I no longer responsible for the issues on the preowned vehicle you purchased - the one you put 60,000 miles on per year with mismatched tires and wrecked twice?
2. Buyers are Liars
"I'll be back. I swear on my dead mother." These words mean nothing to me anymore, even coming from the most laid back, honest people in the world. I have been completely desensitized. You could be a priest or the president of the United States. I won't believe you. Also, I'm fairly suspicious of the phrase, "I'm just looking." While some people just want to ogle the new Bindersnatch XLX, most just throw it up as a reactionary, defensive response. What customers usually mean is, "My car just shit the bed, and I'd really like to buy a new Bindersnatch if everything works out." Or maybe I'm just brainwashed by my sales managers.
Honorable mention: "I know someone in the business, so you're not going to pull anything over on me, asshole," which translates to, "I read some terrible car-buying article written by 'experts' on the internet and will end up making this process painfully over-complicated."
3. We Make It Hard On Ourselves.
A fellow salesman recently pulled a preowned truck up in front of the showroom to show a customer and there was a fairly sizable dent in front of the rear wheel, not enough to replace the whole panel, but definitely noticeable. When it was pointed out to him by the rest of us, he panicked. Comically bad advice ensued. "Pull it around the other way so he doesn't see it!" "Stand in front of it when he comes out!" Finally, someone with common sense pointed out that he should just tell the customer about it and explain that the truck is indeed preowned and the price will reflect the condition.
And our advertising! Do any dealership managers think the tiny "up to" in front of whatever imaginary discount or ridiculous trade value claim fools anyone? Or the crazy, sleazy catchphrases yelled with false enthusiasm in radio and tv advertisements by "Crazy Mac" and "Dr. Credit." That just screams respectable establishment.