Last night, I finished watching a movie on Netflix called “Car Dogs.” The film is about a car dealership that must sell a large number of vehicles in one day. This particular dealership has a large team of salesmen (and one saleswoman) who have to work extremely hard to meet the quota. The film focuses on many of these salespeople, including the general manager and owner, as they employ different tactics to reach the goal. There is a backstory to the madness but it is not important for this blog post.
When I was 12, I remember tagging along with my parents as they looked for a new car. My mom and dad really don’t rush into too many decisions so as you can imagine, it was a pretty exhaustive search that included multiple car dealerships and multiple salespeople. Although I didn’t know a thing about sales at the time, I quickly became acquanited with the various tricks and skills used by the dealership employees. Watching my parents test drive, turn down, negotiate, and, ultimately, purchase a vehicle, was an eye opening experience.
As I grew older, I had a couple more experiences with car salespeople. The summer of my sophomore year in college I visited several used car dealerships to find a dependable vehicle. Although my dad helped me with the negotiations, I would go on test drives with the various salespeople alone. With my dad out of the picture, they would take their best shot at me to close the deal.
Then, just earlier this year, Sidney and I leased a brand new vehicle. It just took one morning for us to drive off in a brand new RAV4 but we still went through “the process.”
Some people love buying a car and negotiating the terms. It gives them a sense of control and a shot of adrenaline. Personally, I don’t particularly enjoy it. I always feel ill-prepared to haggle with a person on his/her turf who does it for a living several times a day. To put it simply, I know I am at a major disadvantage.
But watching “Car Dogs” made me aware of another potential BIG disadvantage that I never considered or knew about. In the film, the salespeople dealt routinely with married couples and family members. When the salesperson would go off to the sales office to run a deal/price by the general manager, the customers didn’t have the privacy they probably thought. In fact, every word the customers said went right to the dealer’s office. Yes, the negotiation room was bugged! By the time the salesperson entered the room to talk to his boss, he could listen in on exactly the direction the customers were leaning.
Honestly, does this really happen?! Can my car dealership readers enlighten me? If this is the case, I am not necessarily mad. I am just angry at myself for being such a sucker. When Sidney and I leased our car, we openly talked about what we wanted to do each time our salesperson “went to the back.” To know that every word we said was transmitted crystal clear to the dealership staff is kind of crazy.
By the way, I recommend “Car Dogs.” Regardless of what you think about the car purchasing charade, it is a funny and insightful film. If you do plan to purchase a new vehicle in the near future, I think it is a must-watch. Don’t Blink.