Thursday, 6 December 2007


"He was a bit....slick. Not sleazy...but slick" concluded my dad after a trip to the car showroom, where I'd test driven the newer model of my current car and then been shepherded into the Manager's office with a view to hunt down an ex-demo / second hand one that matched my specification. Within minutes he was laying on the hard sell for a new one. "It's very unlikely you'll get one with that spec any time soon. You're probably better off creating your own one, then you can have exactly what you want. Shall we have a look?"

As with most sales people, I disliked and was suspicious of him even before I went into the room. Blond, young, fairly good looking, but with a soft-spoken, effeminate voice that would be soothing and convincing to another customer, merely said 'Alright Captain Slick, you've done this before' to me. The sycophantic nodding as he listened in agreement to what you wanted, before ultimately offering you something you didn't was a common theme throughout the exchange. Annoyingly, I found myself becoming convinced that a new car would make more sense than waiting for one to come up and I left with a print out of the specification and cost of a new car, declining the 'chance' to put my order in today.

"I liked the car. I didn't like him." I said.
Later, on relaying the story to my boyfriend, he said 'Ah, sign of a good salesman - he got you nearly buying a new car rather than second hand.'
'Not really,' I answered 'A good salesman is likable and will sell you something without you realising you're being sold it. This one left me wanting to buy a car, but I certainly didn't want to buy it from him.'

I mentioned earlier that it's my nature to be suspicious of any salespeople from the start. Yes, they can offer you something that you otherwise wouldn't consider buying and yes, this can be a good thing. But the truth is when possible, I'll avoid them like the plague. You can see the pound signs from the commission almost gleaming in their eyes and ultimately, it's your money they want to look after, not your interests. Car salesmen are the worst (I haven't had any experience with estate agents); as soon as they've got you in that chair they're on the charm offensive and it's this that I find, well, most offensive. Don't try and charm me into buying a car, sell me something I want and need. If you try and give me something I didn't come in for, and I'll back off and go somewhere else. Sales girls in clothes shops who work on commission are much the same, gushing over the hideous dress that looked great on the hanger, but crap on you. Those dread-haired blokes, with clipboards, rain macs and friendly, 'come hither, I only want to be your friend' conversations that lynch you on Oxford Street? Charity workers my arse: they are merely door to door salesmen, minus the doors. My response? "You don't want to save the world, you want commission and a haircut. Now 'op it before I get ratty."

On the way home from the the car showroom, the conversation continued.
"I think we should look on the internet at the other dealerships. Notice he was only looking at that dealership's listings of used cars, there are loads around the UK. I'd rather buy off Our Family Friend at Dealership X than smarm-features in there. At least I trust Our Friend. He's honest." I concluded.

"Honest? Bah. He's been cheating on his wife - he's not honest. They've only been married 18 months"

I guess a good sales technique works for business and pleasure...


Alex said...

Ha! Hilarious. But some people are just good salespeople, neglegent of job. My ex housemate was that: Specifically, he was a compulsive liar.

But I agree with you completely. I don't want a salesperson, I want facts, I'm clever enough to work it out on my own thanks. I respect the commission thing but I'd rather give my business to someone trustworthy, like yourself.

Also, I refuse completely to give money to the charity collectors on the street. The vast majority are in fact temps, and of the money you give to the charity, It's about a third that gets given to them. I'll go direct to the charity if I want to give that bad!!

Bec said...

I was a good salesperson, top of sales team stats good, selling insurance for an evil company - not I use my powers for good - fundraising (but not in a clipboard way)...

But when I look back on my time as a saleswhore I realise I became hopelessly slimey. Thank God I got out before I slid any further down towards 'bottomfeeder'.

Girl Vino said...

Hate suckup salespeople. I was once a salesperson of sorts, a telemarketer. Money was what I needed and jobs were thin on the ground at a time when I had little experience. Hated the way I was treated on the phone EVERY DAY, but could understand why people treated me that way. I was interrupting their free time trying to sell them something. Ew. Hated that job. Much rather deal with someone who is going to actually listen to what you want and need rather than just waiting till you have finished speaking to tell you what they can offer you instead. Good luck with the car hunt.

Miss Understood said...

I've spent a good portion of my working life in sales and you really need to not have a heart in order to succeed. I hated it.

AFC 30K said...

Ah, new car sales. I've brough several new cars and so has Wifey. I hate the fact, and so does she, that the salesmen talk to me when it's her car.

The last car I brought was a Volvo estate (family man now....) I test drove a load of models, settled on the Volvo and brought from Honestly it was the best service I have ever had and I saved £4.5k on the list price.

Reluctant Blogger said...

very funny!

But yeah sales people are the pits. I find anyone trying to foist anything on me - whatever it is - a huge turn off and being a very contrary sort, even if I really really want what they are offering, I go elsewhere.

Shouldn't you be using a bike though - not a car?

londongirl said...

I can't bear sleasy salesmen either - and charity street collectors drive me crazy...

fwengebola said...

I currently work in sales, and it's only bearable by the fact that it's not 100% sales and more 98% general admin and getting shit moving.

Wait, that's dull.

But I do know that when it comes to said sales, my bosses are curiously laissez faire when it comes to 'bagging the punter'. Because they'd rather make a friend than a profit. Sad but true. As is the fact that we're not doing very well. We need more salespeople. Sadder and truer.

Jo said...

Alex - Glad to see you're in agreement...complusive liars usually make the best salesmen, I feel.

Bec - thats just it..the slimeyness is just too much to bare. I can't stand it.

Girl - I had the same experience working as a telephone market research person. Constant knock backs from pissed of people, and all I wanted was time and opinions - not even money!

Miss understood - that seems to be a common theme.

afc - My parents were in the adjacent showroom, my mum was looking at a car (to buy with her money) and as soon as me and my dad joined her, the sales man ran everything past my dad as well. Like hello, he's not buying it...she is, and my mum told him so. Ha

reluctant - What, in order to save the world from apocalypse? Hmmm. interesting idea!

londongirl - They drive me CRRAAZZZZY

fwenge - I think I'd rather be in a company with shit salesmen than really good ones. At least then you know they're not going to be (as Alex, above said) compulsive liars!


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