Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 100 of 365: The 5 Types of Car Salespeople You'll Get When Testing Driving a Car

Person #1: The Man Lost in his Own World of Car Facts
He knew everything about every car, right down to the nerdy techno-aspects. It was very clear that he became a car salesman because he had a fervent love for all things car-related. The trouble was, this meant he wasn't that interested in all things people related. The entire time at the dealership felt like I was contacting someone from another dimension. Imagine Siri, but a believable voice and considerably better recognition of what you're saying.

Person #2: The "Sell You ALL The Cars" Man (Before Abandoning You)
We went into one dealership hoping to test drive a few models and get the overall feel. A pretty common part of buying a new car, right? Not according to this one dealer. We tried asking him about certain cars, only to be met with, "Yeah the feel is awesome." Yeah, that's great but ... "awesome" doesn't help us narrow things down. We ask to test drive a certain model, and he went into a spiel about trims and packages. If repeating, "We just want to see how the cars feel," had trade-in value, I'd be getting my new car with next to no cost.

When he realized that we were really just there to see how certain cars felt, he immediately pawned us off on one of the maintenance guys, some poor schlub who, given the atmosphere of the area, was probably routinely misused this way by the Mean Girl-version of car dealers. We ended up not liking any of the cars there, but, even if we did, we would've probably went to another dealership on principle alone.

Person #3: The Ninja
Wait, how did I get into this Honda Fit when I clearly had marked it off my list long before coming here? Why am I laughing as I'm driving and choosing the longer routes back to the dealership? How did this car suddenly get to the top of my list? Oh, you are a sneaky one, Mrs. Dealer. Kudos to your abilities.

Person #4: The Guy Who Doesn't Get That Germs Are Contagious
I get it. People get colds. If we all stayed home every time we had a small case of the sniffles, the workplace would collapse in on itself. But your job is to shake my hand, sit next to me in a confined vehicle with recycled air, and talk at me while I make left turns. I had two separate dealers test drive with me with massive colds. The sniffling, the coughing, the moments where they'd pause and go, "Sorry, my sinuses." I was too busy holding in my breath to really notice how I like certain makes and models. I also darted into the nearest Wendy's afterward to wash my hands until they were red.

Person #5: The Best Friend ... Until You Walk Away Without Any Cars.
We had one dealer who pulled out all the stops. He opened the door for us as we came in, complimented me on my driving, showed us what we wanted to see and rolled with the punches. He made jokes and did everything in his power to make us feel at ease. That is, until we came back to the dealership and he asked what he could do to get us to buy a car from his lot. When we explained that we were just test driving to get a preliminary feel, his face dropped. He disappeared into the back and brought out a second guy to ask us why we weren't purchasing a car today. I left that place feeling interrogated.

Person #7: The Guy Who Doesn't Get It/Overly-Attached Girlfriend
I hate SUVs. I've already touched upon that in a previous entry. They're bulky, they're inefficient, and they are obviously built for small people to feel tall. Call it a Reverse Napoleon Complex, but I prefer my vehicles to be relatively small and unassuming. I like my car bodies close to the ground and I like the bulkiness kept to a minimum (this is also why I hate minivans, but that's for another time).

This one dealer could not understand why I was looking for hatchbacks, but not SUVs. The modern-day hatchback is essentially a sedan with a blown out trunk space. An SUV (as well as its crossover brethren) are big, hulking masses. He brought SUVs to our attention before any test drives, after the test drives, and in a follow-up email. I do not like SUVs. I will probably never like SUVs. And, unless you're like the ninja from the Honda dealership, your persistence will not pay off.

Person #8: The Laissez-faire Dealer
Now THIS is how you run a dealership. The dealer asked what we were looking for, gave us a few suggestions, and brought up a car for test driving without any fuss. After the usual song and dance (copy of my license, name and phone number, slapping dealer plates onto the car), they told me to have fun.
"But wait, aren't you coming along with us?"
"I can if you'd like, but I think most customers prefer to drive it themselves. I'll be here if you have any questions."

And like that, I was off. I was amazed by the amount of trust this particular dealer had in me. Granted, he had a copy of my license, but still. Little wonder I felt the most at ease driving that car. Granted, I think that was going to be the car for me from the get-go, but I appreciated being able to just chat with my husband as I drove it around.

The time back was just as pain-free. A few questions, some information on the car I was looking at, and I was on my way. No pressure. And no apathy. The way it should be! Unless you're a car-ninja, let me pick out a car alone. I'll come to you if I need anything.

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