I recently had an experience at my store about a girl trying to buy a car. She came in to our store and had all the typical defensive walls up. She seemed to be very cautious and deliberate with almost every action and word she said. It just seemed as if she was nervous and intimidated with coming to a car dealership on her own. But little did we know, she had a plan and was prepared to "do battle" with us when it came time to discuss the price of her new vehicle. She said she wanted $5000 off the price of our new car. And not only off the MSRP, but off the sale price! Now as many of us in this community have sold vehicles before, being in that situation, you can't help but give a little smirk or smile when you hear something like that. It just seemed so out of place at that point. The salesperson asked why she said that. She replied, "In school, they teach us in 'Life Skills' class how to buy a new car. That we should always ask for $5000 off the sale price. Our teacher said the dealers can afford to do that and you guys are still making a lot of money from other profits you hide." Yes, you read all of that correctly. Besides being told this information with no creditability, it was told by a teacher!

I was immediately disturbed by this newly learned information. We all know about all those websites out there to "teach" people how to buy a car. But this is coming from within the school system. Think about the idea of "Life Skills" for just a moment... was she really taught a life skill? NO! She was misled by a trusted person who is supposed to teach people "Life Skills". Now, can you get $5000 off of some cars out in today's market? Of course you can. But I think it's easy to see what's wrong with this scenario. As a father of 3 that are no older than 8 years old, I have no experience with any "Life Skills" teaching.

Has anyone heard of car buying skills being taught in today's schools or colleges? I'd like to hear from the community their thoughts on this.


Views: 399


You need to be a member of DealerELITE.net to add comments!

Join DealerELITE.net

Comment by Daryl Fawler on January 2, 2013 at 11:46am

Mike, I don't think any of us know the "whole story". I sure hope that hard numbers would never be used in the curriculum supplied by any school board, university, college,etc. Maybe the 'student' took certain liberties with what was being taught, maybe the teacher was "winging it" when trying to teach the class on how to buy a car. I do sell vehicles to a lot of teachers and from personal experience, know that it's a different experience than selling to the average consumer. The car business is unique in having so many "experts", outside of the field, to offer assistance to anyone who needs it anyways. If this is being taught, and it's improper, someone in our industry needs to stand up and comment to a decision maker to have it corrected. If wrong information is being blatantly given out in a nursing, law, science or architect class, I'm sure it would be dealt with quickly and effectively. Thankfully I haven't heard of this being taught up here in Canada. If I do, I will be the guy that corrects it. In the meanwhile, I just keep trying to be nice, informative, respectful and helpfull to everyone I meet, seems to work for me.

Comment by Mike Myers on December 31, 2012 at 3:59pm

Good to hear all these comments. Such great insight from so many auto professionals out there. I've been in the business for 12 years now and I'm still amazed what goes on out there. I love the idea about classes on "how to buy a car". Something to look into for my first quarter. One of the things I like to do from time to time is share what I see in the trenches. We all come from different perspectives, so it's great to hear from so many points of view. It upset me because I love to do business in the most honest way possible and personally cannot stand stores who let their people mislead customers just for a "shot" at their business. Thanks to Tom G, Patty D, Bobby "MY MAN!" C, Mark D, Pierre B, Pat K, Chip K, Bill G, and Greg C. for replying. Have a Happy New Year all!!

Comment by Tom Gorham on December 31, 2012 at 3:16pm

Mike, thank you for an issue that is all too common.  Don't think so?  It's not just teachers who teach "life skills".  I personally want to congratulate the effort even if it is misleading.  Our students need to know how to balance a checkbook, negotiate, invest, and manage a budget.  I applaud the attempt.

That said, I agree with Bobby Compton.  You compliment the customer on "being smart and savvy" and then illustrate why that knowledge doesn't apply to the current situation.

It's unfortunate that the teacher didn't have the expertise to elaborate on the subject of buying cars.  But I'm sure he or she had the best of intentions to inform the student NOT to be gullible.  I like the idea by Mark Dubis to be proactive in offering our own services to schools in educating students in REALITY regarding auto sales.  Yes, transparency is important in gaining trust and raising the level of our discourse with the emerging customer base.

Comment by Patty Van Dyke on December 31, 2012 at 12:15pm

Don't get me started ... "Life Skills", really!  How about teaching kids how to balance a check book (not go by what the balance is according to their online view per the bank!) instead of wreckless statements like this $5000 example.  How about teaching kids to think on their own, become entrepreurs not how to become part of the "system" relying on the government for their income and thinking they are 'entitled' to it!  Teach kids about making money and seeing how hard it is to bring down that credit card debt (that they probably didn't learn about either).  Or maybe let them become government workers so they don't have to worry as much as the private sector does about retirement/health insurance etc ......  how about telling the teacher we'll take $5000 off your pay (hey, since you're only working 9-10 months out of the year anyway).  How would that go over.  Ok, I'm done now!  --Happy New Year to everyone!  :)


Comment by Mark Dubis on December 30, 2012 at 9:08pm

I also encourage auto industry professionals (GM's, Sales Managers or F&I Managers) to contact their local Junior Achievement Offices to volunteer to visit local high school finance classes to explains the auto buying process.  Let's take pro-active steps to build a better reputation in our communities.  Also when in these classes let the students know about careers in auto retailing and fixed operations.  It's a great place to prospect for future employees.

Comment by Mark Dubis on December 30, 2012 at 9:03pm

When there is a lack of transparency, a perceived reputation for deceit, lots of jargon then there will always be "experts" who will fill the void and provide advice. 

I continually lecture to high school students about the auto buying process, speak to community groups at various libraries and help consumers better understand the auto shopping and buying process.  I do not get into pricing, rebates or holdback but educate them on questions to ask, explain the value of service contracts, and help them prepare for all their financing options. 

I also don't like consumer reporters spreading mis-truths about our industry and wrote an article to counter their bad advice.   I encourage dealerships to post my article (unedited) on their websites or put a link to it in order to help consumers get the facts about this process.


While an executive at National City Bank, I helped dealers craft their own educational marketing sessions where once a month they invited consumers to the dealership for a seminar on "How to Buy and Finance a Vehicle."  Not only was this a great educational program but a good prospecting strategy. 

As for the "those that can do, those that can't teach" philosophy, I thank God that we have some great teachers out there, because we all know that "those that can do, often make horrible teachers."  Think about a good car salesperson that is now a horrible sales manager. 

Comment by Pierre Michel Bazire on December 30, 2012 at 4:13pm

Everybody out there think they know how to buy a car, before it came from the brother in law, the uncle or the friend in the "business" same cr... different feed. I trust it is up to marketers, retailers and salespeole to put the real info available before the clients come to the stores. Salespeople should be ready to deal with that type of new client ,the "Internet savy" because they'll be coming...


Comment by Pat Kirley on December 30, 2012 at 2:41pm
You can find ex salespeople on YouTube offering lessons on car purchasing too. Motor journalists do it too along with do called celebrity economists so why not school teachers. I'm sure your staff are professional enough not to be fazed by this young lady. The public think we have huge margins and we are responsible for a lot of our own bad press, must car ad and websites are cover with $0,000/€0,000 off, if you were a maths teacher, what would you think? Those guy must have another $0,000/£0,000 for themselves.
Before Joe Public walks in the door, we are dropping the price. The sellers need the education.
Comment by Chip King on December 30, 2012 at 2:25pm
Most important part.... We you able to gain her confidence and did she buy?
Comment by Bill Gasson on December 30, 2012 at 1:35pm

Mike ,

I haven't heard that one yet , but she could be misleading the salesperson... as we know they don't tell the truth .


Good luck with that one

© 2020   Created by DealerELITE.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service