Thursday, February 23, 2012
9 to 5: Brenna, Car Salesman
9 to 5 is an every-so-often kind of feature that showcases women in the workplace. We get to see what their typical day is like and learn a bit more about what other women do for a living. It's pretty interesting stuff! Today I am featuring the always-fabulous, perpetually-funny Brenna. She wrote a LOT, and although I cut it down a bit, I wanted to leave the bulk of it. It's just that good! Enjoy...and when you're done head over to her blog too, it's really great and I know you will all love it (and her!).
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, my name is Brenna from the wonderbrenna.blogspot.com. I'm 28, been married to the same dude (whaaat?) for nearly a decade and am now a stay at home mom to our baby boy, Milo. I was in the US Coast Guard for 6 years as a telecommunications specialist but then I went to the dark side when I got (honorably) discharged and started selling cars. I have 5 years experience wheeling and dealing automobiles. I have sold cars in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Texas. The brands I have sold are Chevrolet, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes & my favorite- USED!
Describe a typical day at work.
A typical day would include standing in the lot waiting for customers to drive in, waiting for appointments, and getting sold cars ready for delivery. But more than all that theres a lot of trash-talking, coffee-drinking, cigarette-smoking, food-eating, and prank-playing.
We used to play this game that is similar to "pin the tail on the donkey" but it’s "hook the tail on the salespersons pants without them knowing" instead using office supplies and peoples butts. What you would do is fashion a long tail- as long as you'd like!- with paper towels. Bend a paper clip and attach to one end of the tail as your hook and then when someone has their back to you attach the tail to their belt loop. People can go HOURS with a tail on. It’s especially fun when the salesperson takes a customer with the tail on.
There was also a lot of eating that went on. If you're at work for 12 hours then feasibly you could eat all 3 meals at work. When you're bored waiting for customers your hunger can turn into an angry, growly monster so you must FEED! Sometimes happy customers would bring us food. When salespeople are in their cubicles and have that first sniff of something homemade being dropped off they descend like vultures; it will usually be torn apart within minutes leaving behind nothing but an empty carcass of a container.
We would find animals in cars a lot, too. Once a customer came in and traded her old vehicle for a new Toyota. She mentioned to the salesman that she hadn't seen her cat in a few weeks. Sadly, we found her cat hours later when the trade-in went into stock..... It was under the hood, dead. The cat had obviously climbed into this engine 8 times too many. In happier news, I found a giant frog - ALIVE!- and we released him into the wild.
We also played games rolling around in chairs, wrestling, and texting people who weren't there. Most salespeople will hide at some point during the day. You can hide behind the building or you can grab the keys to a car on the lot and jump in for some Air conditioning and radio-listening. This makes a good spot to surprise customers, too... they don't know you're there and feel at ease browsing around since they don't see any salespeople around and then BAM! You jump out and scream "HI HELLO I'M SO-AND-SO AND YOU ARE? WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SHIRT YOU HAVE ON! I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH YOUR SISTER! YOU LOOK 45 YEARS YOUNGER NEXT TO THIS CAR! SLATE GREY REALLY IS YOUR COLOR. DO YOU WANT TO BUY THIS CAR? I KNOW YOUR MOM." Just kidding. Kind of.
Ok Seriously. A day for a car salesman.
2. Call and confirm all appointments for that day. If you've set up 5, I guarantee that only one will show. Maybe 2. Don't set an appointment and then flake. This sucks - It ruins a working persons day and usually gets the yelled at.
3. When your appointments arrive (or you take an new customer on the lot) you'll sit with them for a little bit and do some fact finding. This is NOT TO HURT YOU, DEAR CUSTOMER. THIS IS TO HELP YOU. This will help the salesperson know what car to show you- what your needs are, what your budget is and if there are any special circumstances that we need to know about (ie: bankruptcies, need lumbar support due to back injury, would like roof rack for kayaks, need a payment under 200 bucks).
4. The salesperson will pick out a car for you (with your needs/wants and budget range) and let you take it for a ride.
5. If you don't like it... we'll try again. And again. and again. Until we find a car that you like or you say "you have to go home and wash your hair." (That just hurts....we know you're rejecting us.)
6. We will start talking numbers with you. Here's the deal- some cars have more mark up than others. For example- you can take a few thousand dollars off a Chevy but you can only take a couple hundred bucks off a Toyota. Don't expect to sit down and have the car salesman knock off 6k on a 2011 Camry just because you saw they could do that on a Chevy Silverado. Ain’t gonna happen. Just can't.
7. Please don't be a jerk to the car salesmen. Some deserve it, most don't. They are trying to support their families just like you do at work. Don't keep your down payment a secret, don't keep your monthly payment goal-range a secret, don't keep anything secret- IT DOES NOT HELP THE SALESPERSON FIND YOU THE BEST CAR AND GET YOU THE BEST DEAL. I PROMISE. I had so many people that just lied and lied and lied.....and wondered why I couldn't help them. I was up front about everything but my customers would just lie to my face. They all say that car salesman are dirty scum but let me tell you something... we have a saying too, "BUYERS ARE LIARS." Because they are.
8. The best way to by a car is to negotiate a little (be nice) and make an OFFER. If the car is 20k then write down your offer. Say "I'll buy it today for 18k." and if they come back at 19.5k.... say "I'll buy it for 19k RIGHT NOW IF you guys pay the taxes." And if they say... no we can't pay the taxes but we'll give you free oil changes for a year or throw in the rims for free...maybe you should go for it. Just negotiate. But don't expect them to GIVE YOU THE CAR FOR FREE. PEOPLE ARE WORKING THERE FOR A REASON- TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE.
9. Once you've come to an agreement- Congrats on your new car! The car salesman will start getting it ready by having it detailed, inspected, gassed up and all ready for you.
1. You'll get the best deal on cars that the dealers have on the lot RIGHT THEN. If the dealer has to GET the car from somewhere else say another dealership you are NOT GOING TO GET THE BEST DEAL BECAUSE THERE ARE COSTS INVOLVED. If you reaaaaallly wanted a black car but all they have is charcoal but they're giving you an awesome deal on the charcoal- GO FOR IT. YOU WON'T EVEN SEE THE COLOR OF THE CAR WHEN YOU'RE DRIVING IT. PROMISE!
2. You'll also get the best deal at the end of the month. We gotta sell sell sell at the end of the month but do not expect FREE CARS. Also, do not expect the super special edition Ferrari to be super cheap just because it's the 31st. Unless you've seen that yellow Ferrari sitting on the lot for 6 months....then you might just be able to get it for a steal.
3. If you're trading in your car, clean it before you bring it in. Just take the trash out, wipe it down a little, run it through the car wash.... it'll bring up the value. If it’s filled with dirty diapers (seen it), porno mags (seen it) and McDonalds bags (seen it) it'll make it seem like your car is a piece of crap- because you're treating it like crap.
4. Also, about your trade, when you look it up on Kelly Blue Book....thats just an estimate. In reality, your car is not in the less than 5% that qualify as "excellent condition" (only new cars do) and dealers have to go by what your specific car is going for at auction these days. So back in '08 when gas was all crazy any small, gas saving car was high in value at the auctions and those super expensive, fancy, gas-chomping Escalades weren't worth jack.
5. You can negotiate on your trade amount but keep in mind that we will have to do some maintenance to your car before we can resell it, ok? We have to buff out scratches, replace windshields, do engine repairs, replace tires sometimes, etc etc etc.
6. ONE LAST THING ABOUT YOUR TRADE- DO NOT SMOKE IN YOUR CAR. IT DROPS ITS VALUE LIKE A HOT ROCK IN A BABYS HANDS. It is SO hard to re-sell a smokers car, it's really hard to remove the smell completely and nobody wants burn holes in their "new car." Ok? Don't smoke.
7. If you got awesome service from your salesperson- WRITE THEM A LETTER. Send them a card they can show to other customers to earn business, send their boss a letter too so if they're late one day the boss will be like "well, I got that card about you being awesome so I'll let this slide."
8. If you don't buy a car from a salesperson and they keep calling you- DON'T DUCK THEIR CALLS. Just pick up the phone and say "hey dude, I'm not interested anymore." They will stop calling you. Its easier for everybody. It won't hurt the salespersons feelings, promise.
9. When you drive past a dealership, many times you'll see guys just standing around outside. I know it can be intimidating to drive up and BAM there’s somebody waiting to SUCK YOUR BLOOD (not) but the salesperson just wants to help you find a new car that makes you happy. Seriously.
10. DON'T BE A PUNK AND COME IN 10 MINUTES BEFORE CLOSING AND WANT TO DRIVE A CAR THATS IN THE SHOWROOM BEHIND 4 OTHER CARS (it's happened to me). DON'T BE A JERK AND TAKE A SALESPERSON ON A TEST DRIVE 10 MINUTES AFTER CLOSING IN A CONVERTIBLE AND OPEN THE TOP AND ITS 20 DEGREES OUTSIDE (it's happened to me). DON'T BE A NASTY NELLY AND COME IN 2 MINUTES BEFORE CLOSING TO KEEP A SALESPERSON THERE FOR AN EXTRA HOUR JUST TO LEAVE AND NEVER ANSWER A PHONE CALL EVER AGAIN (it's happened to me) . AND DO NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT SPEND 5 HOURS WITH A SALESPERSON ONLY TO BUY A CAR THE NEXT DAY FROM SOME OTHER PERSON SOMEWHERE ELSE (it's happened to me). THAT IS PERSONAL- SALESPEOPLE DO NOT GET PAID BY THE HOUR AND YOU JUST WASTED 5 HOURS OF THEIR TIME. HOW DARE YOU. (I'm still mad)
1. I see commercials that say "get into a new 2011 bla-bla-bla for only 329 a month with nothing down!" Here's the secret- that's with perfect credit (which most people don't have) and with TAXES UP FRONT (a few thou' $$$).
2. Keep in mind that if you want a 200 dollar payment then you need to be looking for a car thats roughly about 10k dollars.
3. Buy used. If possible, certified used. It'll save you money. And yes, look at the carfax. No big deal.
Also, some sales guys are dirt bags. ONLY SOME. 99% are trying to feed families, ok?
Here are a couple things that I learned as a car salesman:
1. The world is cold- just because you're honest and kind and go above and beyond, some people will just step on you, stab you & spit on you. STAND YOUR GROUND, DON'T LET PEOPLE RULE YOU.
2. Fake it till you make it- I'm talking about confidence. If you don't have it- just pretend that you do. You'll see that people respond to you differently and you'll start to gain real confidence. CONFIDENCE IS KEY IN SALES.
3. Its still a mans world- DO NOT LET MEN TREAT YOU LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT. Take harassment seriously. & You will have to work harder as a woman- plain and simple.
4. Advice from my husband- "Its better to go in with your balls dropped than to grow them later." Be tough, be confident on that first day. Let them think that they can't mess with you. THIS is something I wish I had mastered when I was younger. Its like a prison-mantra for everyday life! Love it, learn it, live it!