When you think of a car dealership, what typically comes to mind? In my experience, most people think about pushy car salesmen…and not a whole lot else! Well folks, more often than not, the whole “pushy car salesmen” thing is just a false stereotype. And pushy or not, there is SO much more to a car dealership than the sales team. After practically growing up in a car dealership, I’ve come to know the ropes pretty well. I find it so helpful to know who’s doing what within the dealership structure, and I think you’ll find it very insightful too! So without further adieu, here’s who’s who in the dealership! The Salesperson Let’s start with who you do know: the salesperson! This man or woman gives you your first introduction to the lot, answers your questions about vehicles and usually rides along with you in test-drives. They’ll be the one to negotiate with you on the car sale. They know the ins and outs of cars and will be a huge help in the initial process. Once you’ve decided on a car, they will start up the financing and credit application process, but your relationship usually ends there! The Assistant Sales Manager The assistant sales manager is boss to the salesperson you deal with at the dealership. This person will join you in your car buying process once you’re settling on a price and closing the deal. Still, they’re not the one with the full power to decide the price of the car — they have to get approval from their boss, in the end. The Sales Manager The sales manager holds a lot of power at the dealership. As manager over the assistant sales manager, he or she is in charge of setting prices on all the cars on the lot. Yet most buyers never actually speak with this person! Whomever you deal with in the car-buying process will ultimately have to get a final approval from their sales manager. Just knowing that there is someone else in the process is important! The General Manager This guy completely runs the show at the dealership. He or she is the highest rank among all the various departments. The general manager is your go-to person if you’ve had a problem that can’t be resolved by anyone else, whether it’s in the service or sales arena. The Finance and Insurance Manager When you’re talking nitty gritty numbers for the purchase of your car, the finance and insurance manager is the one to consult. They’ll be the one making sure your financing is all set straight, from interest rates to payments. They print the final sales lease or buyer’s contract and deal with other fees like extended warranties, protection and add-ons. The Internet Sales Manager If you’re in the market to buy a car with the click of the button, you’ll be dealing with the internet sales manager. This person deals with all sales that happen over the car dealership’s website. They will be answering emails, doing online chats and negotiating pricing. You don’t ever have to even meet with the internet sales manager in person if you don’t want to! But this person usually does have plenty of face-to-face interaction when shoppers want to test-drive the car they’ve researched online. The Receptionist Though it may not seem like a big role, the receptionist really does hold quite a bit of power in the dealership. This person is the gatekeeper to anyone you want to talk to at the dealership, whether you’re in person on on the phone. The receptionist may not be the biggest expert on cars, but they’ve certainly soaked up some knowledge by being surrounded by cars every day — so don’t assume that he or she is clueless! The Porter These folks deal with everything that happens after you make the car deal official. They’ll give your car one final cleaning, get it off the lot and even deliver the car to your home, if you make that request!
When it comes to stereotyping a car salesman, I think it is important for consumers to understand and see a different side to the people behind the bad plaid pants and slicked-back hair. We’re not all bad guys. 🙂 So I decided to do a quick interview with one of my favorites sales associates from McCarthy Chevrolet. His name? Jamie Harrigan. Jamie has been working at McCarthy for around 5 years and is passionate about selling cars. Listen to Jamie talk about what he wishes customers would ask when they come into the dealership and give other insider insight in his video interview: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUMjOv-eBuQ[/youtube] I look forward to introducing you to more of the staff from all stores. But get ready … we have a lot of characters here in the McCarthy organization. Most importantly, a lot of great, hardworking men and women who are passionate about what they do. Do you have a question for our sales staff?
How do you like to be approached when you walk into a dealership? That was the question of the week! And the overwhelming response came was for the first option: “I like to be left alone, but an employee is easy to fine when I need help.” It seems that consumers would like to cruise the lot on their own, but have the comfort of a salesperson in arms distance. Seems fair and reasonable. However, nearly 20 percent of voters chose to have immediate help from an employee, whereas only 2 voters chose to be completely left alone. So I guess it’s different for everyone. A friend from Facebook came up with a generic approach for approaching customers. Just say “Welcome to _________. My name is _________.” And then let the customer know they are here to help. It seems like a fairly standard and non-confrontational greeting! “I approach in a friendly and non-combative way. The customer will tell you what they want … if you just listen. It’s a listening approach,” said Pres Taylor of McCarthy Chevrolet. Do you have any other tips or advice on how to approach our customers?