It’s time for the real truth about car salesman to be exposed. The jokes and the bashing must end and the only way to put this unfair treatment to bed is to reveal the parties responsible for this injustice. After years of research, in depth interviews and digging up the ugly past I have come up with the truth. A truth that I am going to share with you that the American public has kept under wraps for over one hundred years. The car salesman is not the bad guy; it’s the car buyers of the world that have turned the world against the poor car salesman.

Truth about car salesman

In order to reveal the whole ugly truth about car salesmen we need to go back in time, way back to about the time that Henry Ford started building cars for the masses. When the automobile was first offered to the American public for a reasonable price. This is when the need for the car salesman began and the real truth about car salesmen begins. Very few people had automobiles at the time and so it was essential to have car salesmen to demonstrate, do a walk-arounds and test-drive prospective first time buyers.

The Original Facts About Car Salesmen

People of that time were very unfamiliar with motor driven vehicles and the industry needed these car salesmen in order to educate and sell these potential car buyers. If someone wanted to buy a car they simply handed over between $265.00 and $820.00 depending upon the year they purchased and they drove home in their new car. No negotiation, no hassle, quick and easy. The car salesman was a respected and admired member of the community, but it wasn’t long before the car buyers of the country started changing the way they bought cars.

After a few years the availability of these automobiles was all over the county and everybody wanted one. What happened next was where the ugly truth about car salesmen all started. Car buyers came to car dealerships to buy cars, but they wouldn’t pay asking price. They made low ball offers, they tried to trade livestock they did everything they could think of to get a car. They were desperate and left no stone unturned to get behind the wheel on a new car. They were blinded by desire and everything they were taught about being respectful, polite and courteous n their business dealings went out the window. They wanted cars and nothing else mattered…NOTHING!!!

The car salesmen and the car dealers felt bad for these potential car buyers, plus they wanted to sell cars because they had bills to pay and families to feed so they started giving discounts to car buyers. They were willing to make less profit and tighten their belts so more people could have cars, but as you will soon see how this plan backfired. So the truth about car salesmen is that they were being generous to these first time car buyers by giving them discounts, but the car buyers started telling everyone they knew about these discounts. Then over the months and years ahead everyone wanted more and bigger discounts before they would buy a car.

The New Fabricated Truth About Car Salesmen

The stories of buying new cars at discounted prices traveled far and wide across the land. People would brag about getting a bigger discount than their friends and before long the car buyers were spreading rumors about car salesmen and car dealers that made them look like crooks, villains and scoundrels in order to get a better price on their new car. A classic example of someone (car salesmen and dealers) trying to be helpful and generous that were willing to take a cut in pay to help their customers now became the bad guy.

Over the years these rumors grew and were blown out of proportion and nobody remembered a time when they paid full price for a car. The truth about car salesmen was no longer one of the upstanding and admired member of society, but it had turned into one of evil, deceiving, crooks and charlatans. From then on the car salesman was the butt of jokes and yarns that made them a disrespected member of the community.

Lets jump ahead a few years and in the 60s and 70s the unfounded exaggerated rumors and the outrageous fabricated stories had become the latest truth about car salesmen at least in the car buyer’s eyes. Comedians and TV shows portrayed the car salesman very poorly; they made jokes and skits ridiculing the car dealers and salesmen, which just made things worse for the entire car sales profession.

The Sad Truth About Car Dealers and Car Salesmen

The car salesman was making a smaller and smaller salary and the car dealers were being pressured by the automakers to build new buildings and create nicer environments for the buyers. Car buyers no longer wanted to buy cars from the small corner car lots they wanted modern facilities with fancy waiting rooms filled with comfortable furniture, coffee and televisions.

truth about car salesmen

The car salesman having to survive on less and less money had to cut corners and tightens their belts as you can see in the photos below. They couldn’t afford nice clothes, they had to buy their clothes from thrift stores and they did all they could do just to survive. This made the car salesman look even worse, but what could they do they had a hard time making ends meet because of these car buyers and their unrealistic and outrageous demands.

Truth about Car Salesmen and Car Dealers

They didn’t want to dress like this, but the car buyers wanted more and more discounts.

The discounting of automobiles was out of control and dealers were forced by the automakers and customers to build new buildings, but where was the money going to come from? The car salesmen and the car dealers had to change their ways. They had to offer other things in order make enough money just to survive and satisfy the demands of the automakers and customers or lose their jobs and businesses. If they didn’t change the way they did business and provide all the latest amenities the car buyers would leave them and they would starve and lose everything they built so far. So they did what they had to do to survive and the car buyers once again scorned them for trying to pay the bills with more rumors and more highly exaggerated and fictitious stories of exploitation.

Modern Day Car Sales and the Truth About Car Salesmen

Now lets step forward to more current times and discover the latest ways that the car salesman man is being smeared, bad-mouthed and scorned. Regardless of the long ago acts of kindness and generosity of early car salesmen and dealers the Internet has become the latest tool for car buyers to discredit and victimize the car salesman. The fabricated stories were easily accessible by anyone with a computer.

There are numerous websites and blogs that publish the trade secrets, confidential information and prices used by car dealers to operate their businesses. These websites don’t tell us how much our local grocery store pays for milk, bread and butter, but they publish the prices that dealers pay for cars. This is just another example of the unfair and unjust ways that car buyers are victimizing the car salesman. The Internet continues to perpetuate the ongoing struggle that car salesmen and dealerships endure to sell cars for a living, pay the bills and feed their families.

Visiting several dealerships and comparing prices was one thing, but now with the Internet the buyers can collect price quotes from several dealers and some buyers contact dozens to get prices. You can’t visit a website about cars today without being solicited to get a free, no obligation price quote. It’s like there is a conspiracy to destroy car salesmen and the dealers where they sell cars.

Dealers and Car Salesman Keep Trying to Change Their Image

Once again to demonstrate the commitment and character of car salesmen and car dealerships and their desire to hold on to their jobs and business they made changes to please car buyers. They thought car buyers wanted discounts without negotiation and so they offered one-price no-haggle car dealerships, but that wasn’t enough they still wanted more discounts. They continued to make ridiculous offers regardless of their one-price practices. The truth about car salesmen is that they want to please car buyers, but they always want more and it’s never enough.

For fear of the reliving the 60s and 70s when car salesmen could barely pay their bills and wear professional looking clothes on the job car dealers even went so far as to provide polo shirts for their salesmen so they wouldn’t resort to wearing the clothes you can see in the photos above. They told their sales staff that the shirts were provided to look uniform, but it was really about avoiding the look of the past and more criticism.

So What’s the Real Truth About Car Salesmen?

What’s next for the car salesman? What more do car buyers want? Will they be happy if we all bought our cars online through the automakers and paid M.S.R.P.? Of course not they just want to keep hammering the poor car salesmen and the dealers where they work. This unfair treatment has to stop and uncovering this scandal is the first step in the battle. Its hard to imagine that a car salesman and a dealership that wanted to help a person get their first car by providing a discount is responsible for this epidemic, but it all right there in the history selling salesman and dealer facts

Nearly a century of abuse of the car salesman all started because of a simple of kindness and generosity. The next step to changing the truth about car salesmen is the responsibility of everyone that sells cars today. You must be professional, the kind of professional that makes car buyers think twice about the car salesman before giving them a hard time and remember that they have a job to do too! Our fore fathers created a monster and now it’s our job to rise above, sell more cars, make more money and create a good name for the next generation of car salesmen.

P.S. Some may disagree with my account of the truth about car salesmen and car dealerships, but it’s way I see it. I may have embellished some of the facts here, but only slightly. The modern day car salesman has a cross to bear for the mistakes of our fore fathers, but we can handle it because we are professional car salesmen and car saleswomen with thick skin and a desire to succeed. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section below.

Later, Fresh Up on the Lot

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kj · December 5 at 4:55 pm

Prices should all be the same at least per regions and they should not be allowed to discount. Lets take other products like electronics, phones, etc. If their is a sale all dealers go by the same sale but not allowed internal control over prices. It could work if done correctly then the public would have no choice but to pay MSRP.

John · November 30 at 7:54 pm

Hats off to Alex.Without actual price collusion: have a hard deck for everyone. In Australia we are seeing dealers going into holdback deeper and deeper: which should be a no go zone. A hard deck would stop those who go everywhere trying to get a lower price in their tracks.

Jared · November 29 at 5:17 pm

The true lies somewhere in the middle. As with any sales gig, there are honest salespeople and dishonest ones. People, in general, even.

But also, there are fair customers, and unfair customers.

I don’t expect my customers pay through the roof on a car and optional protections. But I abhor the customer who will try to take me for every last penny. I have as much a right to earn a nice (and decent) commission to feed my kids, as the customer has a right to feel like they didn’t pay too much.

Many of us in car sales today are paying for the shady dealers and practices of years past. But we also are under siege by the aforementioned internet stuff, which doesn’t teach customers what a fair price is, but instead encourages them to rape the dealers. Not cool.

The good news is many of my customers realize fairly quickly that I’m honest and decent. But when a price is negotiated, it is frequently hard for the customer to feel comfortable that they got a good price. Nature of the beast. Some people will never believe they are getting a great price, even when you’re telling them such and you are selling an aged used car for a big loss.

Perhaps the non-franchised, straight manufacturer to customer model, like Tesla uses, is the answer. Who knows. But Tesla is under siege for that.

Regardless, as time goes on, I think us “good ones” will get a better and better reputation. If the internet doesn’t gut us first.

Craig · November 29 at 4:39 pm

Pay sticker. It’s quicker! Don’t want to go back and forth, have a manager come in…just pay the price. If the customer how little the dealers and salespeople actually make, maybe they would be a little more polite and reasonable.

David · November 26 at 10:26 am

This pattern may have started out as you have indicated in the post, KB, but at some point car salesmen validated the customer’s perception. The whole notion of going back and forth to the tower for approvals, bringing in a manager to try to close the deal, having F&I try to sell add-ons, these all contribute to the negative feelings from the car buying experience. It is part of the ‘game’ in the buyers head, as in ‘they are gaming me’. If we gave salespeople the ability to approve deals with limits and not go back and forth penciling the deal with the desk, only getting final sign-off on the negotiated deal, then it is more professional and an easier buying experience for the consumer.

Alex · November 26 at 8:19 am

Agree 100%. Nobody trying to bargain at restaurant for price of drink or food. But everybody thinks they entitled to a car below invoice price. And i blame today dealers too. If everybody come together and did not sell below MSRP minus rebates we would be OK. It is extremely difficult to make decent living in this business.

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