Along with occupations such as estate agency and hairdressing, being a car dealer is one of the most cliched jobs around – and that’s even before we narrow it down to being a used car dealer.
Back in the day, the life of a dealer who shifts used metal was immortalised by George Cole in the hit ITV series Minder. His character, Arthur Daley, and his ‘loveable rogue’ persona, dodgy deals and derogatory references to ‘er indoors became character traits loved by the British public. Moreover, his camelhair coat, cigar, trilby titfer and a love of bunting and sticking £ signs on windscreens really did create an enduring – if not wholly accurate – image.
Forgive me if you think I’m covering old ground here, but it’s still a subject close to dealers’ hearts, with plenty of you seeming a little bit worried about the public perception of those involved in the industry.
‘Does anyone actually have a bottle of ‘something’ in their bottom draw?’ Dan Sellen wrote on our forum. Dan, who many of you may have seen on Channel 4’s The Dealership, and in a subsequent edition of Car Dealer, added: ‘Does anybody wear a sheepskin coat, or smoke cigars? These soaps on TV don’t do us any favours.’
Gavin@Rousdon replied: ‘Not got a sheepskin coat but have got the 2013 equivalent which is the black ‘North Face’ jacket. I believe the quilted style jacket will be the 2014 car dealers’ look, so if anyone wants to get ahead of the game, go get one now!’
GreenGiant said he knows cars sell more quickly with their tailgates open – more stereotypical activity from a car dealer.
But is all of this actually a problem? When a customer is buying a used car, do they expect to see an Arthur Daley with an outstretched hand and a fistful of receipts and MOTs? Surely, like all stereotypes, it’s untrue?