Really skeezy dealer experience...had to share...

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by SW03ES, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. SW03ES

    SW03ES Senior Member

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    Hey all...I had a really skeezy dealer experience today I just had to share at Jim Coleman Toyota in Bethesda, MD. Now, I'm in sales myself so I am very sensitive to the difficulties that come with making one's living off of complete commission and I am very forgiving of salespeople in general. But this guy was so completely off-putting I had to share.

    Drove by the dealer today and they had a 2010 in Blizzard Pearl on the lot that was a pkg IV (no roof), we hadn't seen this color before and its our top choice, and the two Priuses we've driven were both Vs with the 17" wheels. So we stopped by to take a look at it. Turned out it has the dark grey interior too which we also hadn't seen.

    Of course the salesman runs us down like they always do, I introduce myself and tell him that we have a 2004 Prius and are in the early stages of determining whether we want to upgrade, that we had driven a couple and wanted to see this one since it was white. Now one thing salespeople do who are not very good salespeople is talk...a LOT. Good salespeople listen...bad salespeople talk. As we were looking at the car and sitting in it he was going on and on and on and on about the car and all the changes which is fine...again like I said I know how it is.

    So I ask him if we could drive it around the block since we had not driven a car without the 17" wheels before, of course no problem and he goes to get the tag. We enjoy a very welcome few minutes of discussing the color alone.

    So off we go, of course....talk talk talk talk the whole ride. About him, about the dealer, why they sell so many Priuses, how they will have 90 in stock by August, how he liked the car when he drove it, the demographics and policial affiliations of the area etc. Again...fine...I know how it is. We get back to the dealer and walk into the showroom and he asks if we want to see what he has coming in...and this is when it really gets fun.

    We had been talking about the roof and how my wife wants the roof and the V-tech package but obviously they don't make it, and should we decide we want to upgrade she would have a hard time deciding between a IV w/roof or a V w/tech. He had been telling us what I already knew which was the roof cars were really rare in the northwest right now. So I told him,

    "we're not really to the point where we're ready to see what you have coming in...we're still trying to decide if we want to upgrade at all. Lets trade business cards and if you get one with the roof in, even just one we could see if its already sold then let me know and that would help us make a decision I think"

    So he starts off on a tirade where we should buy it now because if we don't there will be a wait and we might never get a car, you can put a sunroof in any car...in a very rude manner. So I responded:

    "Well, I don't think we'll have a problem getting a car should we decide that we want to upgrade, like you said your dealer will have 90 by August...and if we have to wait we have to wait"

    Then he starts off on a tirade about how we may never buy a car and how we might be waiting for the "generation 5 Prius" to get what we want, and if we aren't buying a car right now then it just doesn't make sense for him to even show us what he has coming in, to which I replied:

    "I agree, which is why I told you that we weren't to a point where we should look at what you have coming in. Now if you would like to exchange cards please let me know when you get one in with a roof that we could at least just look at"

    Tirade ensues...it'll be sold he says, you won't even be able to drive it and there is a waiting list for the cars with the roof

    "Thats fine, like I said we just want to see the roof in person and if theres a waiting list and thats what we decide we want...we'll wait. We've already driven the car...we don't need to drive one with a sunroof to know whether we like a sunroof or not. We're in no hurry"

    Tirade ensues again to which I stop him mid sentance and say "Look, I'm not buying a car today nor am I putting a deposit, refundable or otherwise down on a car today. As I told you numerous times, my wife and I have a perfectly good '04 Prius with 45k miles on it and we don't even know if we want to upgrade yet. If you don't want to trade cards thats fine, but this conversation is over"

    So we started heading for the door at which point he shoved his card in my hand and said how he just wanted to make sure that when we did buy we came there and to him, he says "You know more about the Prius than anyone in this room, but I want you to realize that I know more about it than you do".

    At which point I said "Thats obvious" and left.

    As a salesperson myself and someone who employs salespeople stuff like this really upsets me. Its just so unneccisary to treat customers this way, and it most certainly lost this salesman and his dealership any sales or service business they ever may have gotten from me.

    In contrast I met a very nice laid back young man at Fitzgerald Toyota in Gaithersburg that was very happy to discuss our situation and needs with me and was more than happy to take my card and let me know when he got one with a roof for us to see.

    If anybody is looking at Jim Coleman Toyota to buy their Prius from, don't, at least not from this guy (I will give his name in PM if anybody wants it)

    I remember a long time ago my Dad and I went to Jim Coleman Cadillac (same complex, just next door) and wound up walking out because of the same kind of thing, I guess thats just how they train their salespeople.
     
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  2. Jabber

    Jabber Chicagoland Prius Guy

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    Sometimes it really is an embarassment to share the same title as others in this business. A great piece of advice I got 16 years ago when I first started. "God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen more than you speak"

    Here is a salesman that talked himself right out of a sale.
     
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  3. SW03ES

    SW03ES Senior Member

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    Absolutely. I'm in the real estate business and its the same way with us, people like this give your profession and mine a bad reputation. People don't respond to desperate, and they don't respond to threats (they'll all be sold! preposterous...is Toyota just going to stop making them? Are people going to stop selling their houses? Now it may cost them more to wait...but if they aren't ready they aren't ready).

    A good salesperson does exactly what you said, listens more than they speak. Thats how you prove to a customer that you care more about them achieving their goals than you do making a quick sale.
     
  4. Pakman777

    Pakman777 New Member

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    Great insights here. SWO3ES, thanks for recounting this.

    It has been a while since I have been involved in retail sales, but I have learned that it helps -- when in that capacity -- to first of all seek to meet the needs of the customer (I mean REALLY), to listen to what they are saying, pay attention to customer body language also (especially when you, the salesperson are talking) to see if you are addressing the things that THEY are concerned about, and to readjust your approach as you continue to read them. It helps to actually like people and to actually want to help them to accomplish a purchase that is reasonably satisfying to get what they need from it (which is usually more than just the product involved; it is also what the product MEANS to them; just see all the "emotional energy" on this forum; I pity the fool of a salesperson who doesn't take note of this).

    To a salesperson, it may just be another car. For the customer (like me), it may be the first time they have purchased a car in 10 years, and they have been planning this purchase, and looking forward to it, for six months. If, as a salesperson, we can't see what the product (and the purchase experience) means to the customer, we are just not getting it. Not to mention the potential baggage from that previous purchase that they may bring with them to your dealership . . . and to you!!

    The other point where I think many salespeople lose the customer is when they approach the point of sale. Some give up and suddenly disconnect, and get dismissive ("Now I've got your cash . . . please go away").

    I have found that when people are preparing to part with their hard-earned cash, you need to be aware of a natural defensiveness, vulnerability, and to some degree a need for affirmation that they are doing the right thing . . . for their reasons, not mine. It is an emotional moment, and it is that moment that will be the lingering one they take with them out the door. If you take these emotional reactions personally, or refuse to understand the reasons why they are expressing them, then you really miss a great opportunity to forge a sense of trust, confidence, and future business opportunities with them.

    Some, quite frankly, you are more than glad never to see again! There are always exceptions -- people who just want to mess with you, manipulators, or just people who need to feel the power of the "good deal" -- an ego need, but real nevertheless -- that, if you learn how to observe and meet that need without compromising your own dignity or purpose . . . you are after all, attempting to sell them something . . . that you can turn things around with them.

    And most of this is accomplished simply by listening to the customer, considering carefully what they have said and what their body language is saying, and realizing that with all sales there is an emotional energy for all concerned. The more you are aware of this, the better things go, and the more likely you are to make a sale . . . and establish a good working relationship that opens the possibility of future business. Anyway, just some thoughts . . . and this from a guy who is trying to convey how important it is to listen!!
     
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  5. nineinchnail1024

    nineinchnail1024 New Member

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    I actually had a bad experience as well, but not because of the salesman, because of the markup. My salesman was decent, not too pushy and totally honest (as far as I could tell). When I mentioned that I would never buy a car marked up over MSRP, he even commented that it was pure profit for the dealer and made it difficult for him to move the cars.
     
  6. cairo94507

    cairo94507 Active Member

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    I wish I could say, from my personal experience, that your experience was the exception and not the rule. But, I can't.

    I have probably bought over 30 new cars and I can only recall 2 deals where the salesperson acted like a professional and not a used car salesman (no offense).
     
  7. 12parsecs

    12parsecs New Member

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    Thanks for your post!

    They must be desperate with the 3 other Toyota dealers all within 15 miles of each other!
     
  8. PriusRos

    PriusRos A Fairly Senior Member - 2016 Prius Owner

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    Thanks for the post, Steve. Like you, I haven't absolutely made up my mind to buy a 2010 and I really want to see one with the solar roof -- because if I do buy, I'm getting the roof. I also want to see all the colors -- have seen sandy beach, blue ribbon, and silver so far. I've really been getting the runaround concerning the solar roof -- as I recounted in an earlier thread -- and it's quite annoying when it's obvious that not only is the salesman not listening to anything you've said but keeps just making up stuff.
     
  9. Peak Oil Aware

    Peak Oil Aware New Member

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    Man, some great posts on this thread. As a Toyota salesperson, I always try to stay cognizant of the points made about. I test drove a competitors product recently, and the salesperson horrified me. He said that he had been selling for over 20 years, and in a way it showed. He talked NON-STOP, using all of these worn out pre-packaged lines like "Feel free to try everything except the airbags" then would laugh immediately. The poor guy was on autopilot the whole time, spouting sound bites from a dusty 8 track player running in his mind.

    I thought to myself "If I ever turn into a caricature like this, I hope someone shoots me!"
     
  10. SW03ES

    SW03ES Senior Member

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    Yeah they definately have a lot of people who want the solar roof and the lack of inventory has got to be frustrating. Of course the first reaction is to try and sell you what they've got and what they can sell now, to earn a commission now. However what I have learned from my years in sales is that you can't try to make a customer buy what they don't want. If they are having issues not having enough cars with the roof they need to address that with Toyota...not with the customer. A salesperson SHOULD help a customer decide what it is that they want and need and help them accomplish purchasing specifically that thing...regardless of whether its the best or easiest situation for the salesperson.

    Now, its a two way street. Consumers today have very little loyalty and once you get past that point of face to face contact, the consumer forgets about you and sales winds up being more of being in the right place at the right time than it does working with someone over a longer term to find the right product. The reason he was the way he was with me was that he knew once I walked out of the dealership he was never going to see me again. He just wouldn't shut up long enough to realize I was a long term prospect and that I never gave him any indication that I had any intention or desire to buy a car today. People like him are always going to have to close hard to have any prayer of getting a sale because he has no pipeline and no long term prospects...

    But I have gotten calls months and years after having people leave my office or an open house that I never thought I would see again...because I didn't try to pressure them into committing to something that they weren't ready to commit to. I simply kept in comfortable contact with them over time if possible and they came back specifically because everybody else had been so nasty to them...

    So moral of the story, when you find someone you like and trust...stay with them and reward the salespeople left who still know how to treat people.
     
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  11. blippo

    blippo New Member

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    Funny, I went to the Toyota dealer near me to look at a 2010. They had one on the lot. The salesman was yak, yak, yak, how great the 2010's were. After I looked at it, and told him I liked my 2009 better, he grew silent the rest of the time.
     
  12. wvgasguy

    wvgasguy New Member

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    I hate "breaking in" a new saleperson. I don't want to be talked down to and I want to be open about profits and markups. In return I don't have a problem allowing them to make a profit. Just don't lie to me.

    My salesperson recently was promoted to Sales Manager but I am working directly with him anyway. I also have a sales person at the Ford and Nissan dealerships that I like. As for the Prius if I didn't buy it off of my salesperson I would have shopped the Ford Fusion Hybrid with the other saleman I like to deal with.

    Cadillac has lost deals with me a couple of times due to the salespeople
     
  13. Manolo1

    Manolo1 New Member

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    Just the usual stuff, although I fail to grasp how a 2009 can be favored versus a 2010 that is miles ahead in every area...
     
  14. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    The differences in dealerships are big.Fremont Toyota is up to its old ways again .... accessorizing Priuses, Prius II marked up $32k with do dads.Toyota Sunnyvale is very professional. No markups, no accessorizing unless you want that. No high-pressure sales tactics.
     
  15. wvgasguy

    wvgasguy New Member

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    WoW, that's more than $1500 than my Prius V w/ NAV. Why would anyone pay that?
     
  16. dbacksfan

    dbacksfan Member

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    I've been reading a book called "Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play" by Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig. It really is great insight on how to move off of the solution and focus on identifying the customer's issues, quantifying, and qualifying them. Who knows, maybe the right solution was another model. The salesguy was so fixated on the solution "Sell them a Prius", he didn't take the time to understand why are they looking as well as recognize the yellow flags SWO3ES raised. Perhaps management is responsible with some type of "Don't let them leave without selling them a car!" edict. Or the experienced salesperson has had little or very poor training. In either case, the cost of sales and opportunity lost is high.

    This book has taught me a great deal about the art of selling, listening, and asking the right, sometimes tough, questions.
     
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  17. sluday

    sluday New Member

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    I have the utmost respect for people in sales but car salesman will always get a bad rap because of guys like this. I always give a dealership two chances with a sale. If the first guy is pushy or arrogant. Then I ask what his days off are and come back that day and try another salesman. If the same tactics are used then I know that these guys were trained that way and quickly leave.

    My biggest pet peeve is when a salesman acts like your wasting his time if you don't write a check that day. Car dealers are ghost towns right now they should be happy to see any life forms walk in the door.
     
  18. patjcoleman

    patjcoleman Junior Member

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    I wanted to take the opportunity to express my sincerest apology for the poor experience that you endured yesterday at Jim Coleman Toyota. There is no excuse for the behavior of the salesperson you dealt with. My name is Patrick Coleman and I am currently working as a salesperson at my family’s Toyota dealership here in Bethesda. There is nothing more discouraging and frankly embarrassing than reading about the unprofessional encounter that you had at our dealership. As a salesman with a personal interest in the long-term success of our dealership, your poor experience weighs heavily on me. In every organization the indiscretions of one salesperson can often overshadow those that are working hard to do the right thing. My father and I both read your honest account of what occurred yesterday and we are to say the least extremely disappointed. In fact we will be reading your posting at our next sales meeting as a prime example of how not to handle a customer.
    In a world of first impressions, I am not asking for a 2nd opportunity to earn your business, but I did want to reassure that such encounters do not go unnoticed here at Jim Coleman. I appreciate you having a voice in bringing to light what happened yesterday and I wanted to again apologize on behalf of Jim Coleman Toyota and the Coleman family.
    Sincerely,
    Patrick Coleman
    Jim Coleman Toyota
     
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  19. sluday

    sluday New Member

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    WOW, this forum really gets noticed. Like I said earlier, give these guys another chance to earn your business. Now use this letter as an opportunity to save some cash and get free stuff.
     
  20. SW03ES

    SW03ES Senior Member

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    Patrick Coleman, who posted above also PMed me the reply he posted here which I really appreciated. I had considered contacting someone at Coleman directly but I decided against it because as I said I know what it is to earn one's living through commission and I have no desire to make someone's life harder than it already is. However, if one of my agents were interacting with customers in the way this interaction was handled...I would want to know.

    I appreciated that he didn't ask for another opportunity to earn my business and simply apologized, and that he didn't ask me to reveal the salesman's name.

    I will give them another opportunity to earn my business when the time comes...
     
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