Blog Features

Trader Tales: Sell cars? No, not me

Time 3:39 am, July 16, 2010

showroom-tax-turns-off-9-in-10WHENEVER I am introduced to someone for the first time, I avoid where possible the subject of my occupation…

It is not because I am embarrassed or ashamed of a job I love, it is because more often than not I get told a horror story about a bad car retailing experience that person has suffered.

‘I went into xxx showroom on a Saturday afternoon in a pair of jeans and tee shirt, the salesman looked me up and down and decided I could not afford it so I walked out in disgust,’ or similar is a sentiment most of you would have heard in your careers.

‘I would have bought the car but they would only give me half of what my part exchange is really worth,’ is another well worn gripe.

In all cases I feel duty bound to defend my car selling brothers and sisters with sweeping statements like ‘if you didn’t make an appointment on a Saturday they were probably busy’ or ‘I am sure they would have done the deal if they could’.

However, at the weekend, my best friend asked me to buy a used car on his behalf. He has a specific need for a large German estate and likes to buy with the confidence of a manufacturer backed used car warranty. I located two examples on the manufacturer website and thus moved from gamekeeper to game.

The first choice car had been sold, the salesman took my number in the event that the buyer shed his skin so it was on to number two.

The dealer who owned the second car claim to be a ‘vibrant company with a fresh approach’. I called and asked to be connected to a used car salesman. ‘One moment,’ came the curt reply and that was to be it. The phone rang and rang to the point I had to hang up. I called an hour later with the same outcome.

Undeterred I left an enquiry for the specific car on the manufacturer website. I know what some of these ‘hot’ leads are like. You get everything from brochure collectors, 10 year olds doing their homework and in one extreme case that I experienced, an inmate of the local prison planning which car to buy on his release two years hence.

With this in mind I left a mobile number and a little message – ‘please can comeone contact me urgently about this car’. 

Three days have passed and I am still without a call. I feel like Cheryl Cole might if she registered on a dating website with an artistic library photo and the phrase ‘liberal attitude to non committal sex’ only for her to get no interest.

I urge you all to think about your most basic of processes. Can a receptionist take details? What happens if you have a temporary receptionist? Who handles the portal for your web enquiries? How are they distributed? These are hardly challenges to test the boffins of Nasa.

Oh, and for the record, I called on a Saturday and I was wearing jeans…..

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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