At this point in time, we all know about the effects of negative press on specific industries, but for many years, the vilification of car salesmen has been allowable. However, in light of new advertisements hitting the media market, we have to ask the question as to whether or not the negativity has gone too far.
As members of the automotive industry, most people are all too familiar with the negative light in which car dealerships are bathed. Salespeople are saddled with the ghosts of how business used to be done. Back before the days of the internet, dealerships were able to pull in massive amounts of inventory and pad the profit margins by inflating the price of the vehicles well above MSRP.
With the advent of the internet, those margins were quickly being closed as a result of potential customers being able to search manufacturer websites. These customers became easily incensed at the idea of prices being increased by thousands of dollars on top of what the manufacturer was already requesting.
Let’s be honest, purchasing a car is one of the biggest financial decisions a consumer can make, second only to buying a home. Overcharging customers isn’t going to keep your dealership above ground for very long, so salespeople have had to pivot when it comes to sales practices. Unfortunately, these unfair and, really, heinous business practices have traveled well into the 21st century and saddled salespeople with a reputation they don’t deserve.
While many salespeople, and dealerships alike, have abandoned these unscrupulous practices, the industry’s critics have yet to acknowledge this. In fact, specific competitors are perpetuating a dangerous stereotype. Whether it’s using terrifying clowns, a torturous salesman, or strong-arming sales teams, these television spots are at best unfair, but more realistically bordering on slanderous.
Many scrupled salespeople struggle to shed the past reputation of shady sales practices in order to make a living. Car sales team members have families, they have mortgages, and car payments themselves. Despite what many may think, not all salespeople are driving free demo models, working from 9-5, nor diving into swimming pools of cash.
However, these commercials that are saturating the TV market are forcing these dealership employees back into the dark ages. While your employees work to make the dealership successful and walk away with enough money to pay their bills, they’re now combatting competitive marketers to make ends meat.
While having options may seem advantageous to car buyers, let’s examine the dangers inherent in these practices. People are now buying vehicles sight unseen. What could possibly go wrong with that? Well, everything, to be completely honest. Your average consumer doesn’t understand what the Lemon Law actually entails and purchasing a vehicle online without ever driving it or even laying eyes on it in person allows little legal recourse.
Car salespeople have enough of a challenge to get their foot in the door in the market and to compete with their fellow salespeople. Do they really need to be fighting the advertising budgets of these sales companies who are suggesting their process is better, more economical, or even safer than walking into a dealership and speaking to someone who is looking to fulfill customer needs?