The Exhausting Reality of Car Shopping

When I recently set out to purchase a new car, I was starkly reminded of the vast chasm between the ease of digital browsing and the actual car-buying process. My career as a sales consultant had not prepared me for the frustrating reality faced by today's car buyers—a journey marred by outdated sales tactics, poor communication, and a startling lack of transparency. 


The Illusion of Online Inquiry


The modern consumer might think that filling out an online inquiry would simplify the purchasing process, connecting them directly with knowledgeable sales consultants who are eager to sell. Unfortunately, the reality is often quite the opposite. Responses, if they come at all, typically dodge specific questions with generic sales pitches, completely ignoring the potential buyer’s needs. The prices quoted are frequently inflated as if the digital age of comparative shopping hadn’t made buyers more price-savvy.


Outdated Sales Tactics


The traditional car sales playbook involves setting an unrealistically high initial price followed by a prolonged negotiation, a process both tedious and transparently manipulative. I experienced this firsthand when inquiring about a new car. The initial lease offer was an outrageous sum per month— a figure more fitting for something James Bond would drive vs. what I was looking at. Over the next three weeks, the price mysteriously dropped by half per month after I showed disinterest. This outdated strategy not only wastes time but also insults the intelligence of the modern consumer. Not to mention “peeling him off the ceiling” was a tactic used by Oldsmobile Dealerships in the mid to late 1970’s and doesn’t actually work over the phone or on the web in 2024…


Lack of Professionalism and Expertise


During my recent experiences, I was astonished at the lack of professionalism among sales staff. The offers I received were riddled with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, showing a disregard for basic business communication standards. This sloppiness, coupled with a blatant lack of product knowledge, erodes trust and confidence. How can a buyer feel secure in a major purchase when the sales team appears to lack fundamental education about what they are selling?


The Quick and the Dead: The Pace of Making Deals


Structuring a car deal and penciling an offer should be a swift and straightforward process. During my days as a sales consultant, even when we had to manually calculate different leasing options and rebates, we could produce three tailored offers within minutes. Today, customers are often told to wait days for a quote, a delay that is both unnecessary and counterproductive. Modern sales tools and CRM systems are designed to make these processes quicker than ever, yet dealerships cling to outdated practices that only serve to frustrate. Remember, TIME KILLS DEALS!


Personal Reflections as an Experienced Sales Consultant


Reflecting on my time as a sales consultant, I am struck by how the industry has stagnated while consumer expectations have evolved. Today’s buyers are informed, time-sensitive, and unwilling to tolerate the outdated and unenlightened sales tactics that were once commonplace. The industry needs to adapt by adopting more efficient, transparent, and customer-focused strategies that respect the buyer’s intelligence and time.



Bottom line, the automotive industry is at a crossroads. It can either continue with its antiquated ways or embrace a new paradigm that values transparency and efficiency. As someone who has been on both sides of this transaction, I advocate for a radical overhaul of car sales—a shift towards practices that prioritize the customer’s experience and foster long-term loyalty over short-term gains. Only then can we hope to restore dignity and respect to the car buying process, making it as enjoyable and straightforward as browsing for models online. If we don’t, then the Tesla model is coming and it’s not going to be pretty…

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