Thursday, February 23, 2012

9 to 5: Brenna, Car Salesman

new feature!

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.

1. Coffee.

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.


Tips:

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)


Secrets:

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!

43 comments:

  1. I loved this! She is such a funny lady, and I just learned so much info on car sales! win and win!
    Amy xo
    amyandthecity3.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Amy! I'm glad you learned something. I wanted to do a power point but Dani said no.

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  2. Hahaha. This is so funny! I love how she explains the day in the life of a car salesman! I too work 12 hour shifts and can totally relate to eating all three meals at work. Off to check out her blog next! xo, rv

    http://aneclecticheap.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I used to work 12 hour shifts in the US Coast Guard too and Since I had a microwave back then I ate a ton of macaroni & cheese, corndogs and pot pies. How about you?

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  3. Ok, this was hilarious, and also totally useful because I'm looking into getting a new car this summer and I've been soooo intimidated by the whole thing! Thanks for this post, ladies!

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    1. I'm glad you liked it! Don't be intimidated by the car buying process- just know how much you can afford and what you really really want before you go out to buy. And don't feel obligated to buy from someone if you feel skeeved out by them or if they are treating you bad.

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    2. I'm currently in the market for a used car also, you've helped make it less scary as it is the first time I've bought through a yard. Thanks for the timely and hilarious piece :)

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  4. Hahaha Great post! If I could drive (and lived in the States) I'd buy a car from Brenna without a second thought. Fantastic stuff, thanks so much for sharing :-)

    K x

    http://tokyolazydays.tumblr.com

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    1. Thanks Kate! If you could drive, lived in the states and I was still selling cars, I would totally love to sell you one at sticker price. haha. Jk. :)

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  5. Tee hee love that balls quote {and the nifty advice}

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  6. Oh my gosh I loved this!! Honest & hilarious!! X

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you loved it Dani! Thank you!


      But how do you know it was honest? I was a car salesman, afterall. hahaha.

      Delete
  7. loved this so much! it is a profession that people generally think is made up of mostly males. it is super neat to see a cool and funny woman selling cars!

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    1. You are 100% right. Most people were shocked to have me as their salesperson. Women bring a special je ne sais quoi to the job... ANY job :)

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  8. hahaha love this picture.

    http://dandelionsandkisses.blogspot.com/

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    1. What picture?!? Do you mean post?!? Then, thank you :)

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  9. This was awesome. I'm terrified of car salesmen because I am notoriously easy to screw money out of (whoops, that sounded dirtier than I thought it would, haha). The car salesmen that I bought my Toyota from were trying to sell me a wack-ass extended warranty that I probably would've gone for if my husband wasn't like noooo, ignore it. And then they got really pushy. It's nice to hear some secrets, and that not all of them are pushy and mean :) I lived in Maine so I wish I could've bought a car from this awesome lady!

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    1. Aw, Caitlin, don't be scared- you can scare a salesman if you want....just tell them you already have a deposit on a car somewhere else!

      PS Super glad you bought a Toyota- great choice! I wish I could've sold it to you when I was selling out on the east coast!

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  10. Crazy, but I vaguely remember Brenna from livejournal a million years ago! Some community or another. But I'm going to keep her tips in mind when my lease is up.

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    Replies
    1. SHHHHHHHHH we don't talk about Livejournal or any communities we may or may not have been a part of. Ever.

      Good call on leasing, BTW. Not a lot of people like to do it because of the horror stories of the olden days- but it's a great option for a lot of people.

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  11. Thank you for posting Breanna's job! I'm currently looking to either trade in my car or sell my car for a new or certified use card. Her tips gave me more time on hopefully making my final decision in the future. Yes those commercials gets everyone excited until they read either the fine print or listen to the fast pace voice.

    After reading her job, and her relationship with her customer, I can tell that my parents have had some great salesmen that have been kind and worked with us. I'm hoping to building a good relationship and hopefully long with my future salesmen.

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    1. That's so awesome that your parents have had some great salesmen. I would encourage you to build a relationship with a salesperson that's already been at a dealership for 5+ years (and someone that you like) because you know they'll always be there if you need them or have a question. Most people don't stick around at dealerships long enough to be a long term salesperson.

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  12. I love love love this! Keep em coming!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mariascreek?ref=ss_profile

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  13. I thought this was really interesting because I work in the car business too. I'm a customer relations manager at Toyota :)

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    1. I love Toyota! Sounds like you have a sweet job. KINDA jealous.

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  14. YES!! I sell cars as well. This is 100% accurate. From the pranks and constant food intake, to people keeping you here hours after closing well aware they are just wasting your time. &Yes, people. Not all sales people are scummy!! Thank you for this, I wish I could show it to all of my potential customers. :)

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    1. This is the validation I needed- someone in the business telling me that this is accurate, haha. Also, very cool that you are another woman in the business- How long have you been doing it?

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  15. Thank you for letting me be a part of this, Dani! It was so much fun to write it out and reminisce. Even though you are psychotic to deal with thru email, it all came together :) (TOTALLY JOKING.) But next time lets correspond thru a mediator, ok?

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  16. I truly enjoyed reading this post, as I do all of your 9 to 5 posts. I work a 9 to 5 job as a legal secretary and it’s hard to find other bloggers that work a full time job. I follow many blogs and each inspire me with different aspects of my life. None, however, zero in on having a full time job.

    I also enjoyed this post by Brenna because I just recently bought my first new car and I thought "Man, I wish I could talk to someone that works in car sales so I could know how this works". Although a few weeks late, I still enjoyed reading this post and am happy to know that I had a wonderful car salesman and don't think he took advantage of me at all.

    Thank you Dani for your wonderful posts and Breanna for sharing these secrets that all car shoppers need to know!!

    Here’s a link to my post about my recent car shopping experience, if you’d like to take a look.

    http://ralizabeth.blogspot.com/2012/03/update-of-sorts-new-car.html

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  17. As someone who will be buying a car in the next few months, I am SO pumped to read this post -- THANK YOU!!

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  18. This post came at a perfect time! We are looking for new cars now. Thank you for all the tips!

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  19. I legitimately reveled in perusing this post, as I do the sum of your 9 to 5 posts. I work a 9 to 5 work as a legitimate secretary and its tricky to find different bloggers that work a full time work. I accompany numerous web journals and every propel me with distinctive parts of my reality. None, nonetheless, zero in on having a full time work.

    ReplyDelete
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  23. Being a top car salesman means more than selling Fresh Ups when
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    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for posting this fascinating blog story, Danielle. I really enjoyed reading it! @Brenna - You really are one tough sexy lady! Being a salesperson is a difficult and challenging job. It requires traits like competitiveness, confidence, and patience. But upon reading your story, I'm rest assured that you do have what it takes to become one successful car saleswoman.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Let me say that now is the worst possible time to go into car sales and that car sales is a tough business even during good economic time periods. Thanks for sharing this article.

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