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Car Buying Advice That is NOT About the Car!

Published Jul 27th 2007, 11:49am by

Erica12_3by Erica Sietsma - Corporate Training Specialist - Mile One
If you are like a lot of women, who are about to embark on the nerve-racking and somewhat intimidating journey of purchasing a new vehicle, I know you have begun researching the best way to go about your adventure; otherwise, you would not be on Ask Patty!  Also, I know you will come across a number very good articles with great advice on research and research and shopping and more shopping.  So, I will not touch on ANY of those pieces, and will let others do that for me.  What I want to talk about is your "journey," your buying experience, if you will, and how your attitude and actions affect other people - yes, I said people. 

As a sales trainer in the automotive industry, the number one frustration of our sales team is how mean customers have become. A majority of our customers come in with huge attitudes and treat our team like....well, I can't say it on here, this is a family friendly blog. However, it breaks my heart to hear my sales team's frustrations because I care about their feelings; they are my family, my friends and my team. 

We discuss as a team why our customers come in as they do. We know it is more than likely because either you, or someone you know, was once mangled at a dealership and are determined to never let this happen again.  Yet, I wonder...who made the decision to purchase? Did the dealership force you into the deal or, perhaps, because you liked the vehicle so much and were too nervous it would sell if you did not purchase it there and then, you entered into a deal you were not completely comfortable with? I am not excusing the poor behavior of many car salespeople and their managers across the country, and even sometimes in my own dealerships, God forbid, but I ask you to accept the fact that as a consumer, you made the choice to purchase that vehicle and by doing this, you implied to the dealership that their treatment of you was acceptable.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT POOR SERVICE.  Believe me, if it is meant to be, the car you want will be available from the right dealership, the right salesperson at the right time. Cars don't just "disappear."  Sometimes, yes, you have to wait, but as I said in my post about my own vehicle purchasing experience - waiting is worth it.  However, I do ask that you enter the next dealership and your next purchasing experience with an open mind and a clean heart.  Your next car buying and ownership experience is NOT the same as your last buying experience.  Don't walk into the dealership looking like Faye Dunaway from "Mommie Dearest" - ready to take on the whole automotive world with an iron fist.  Be yourself (and if you are like Faye Dunaway from "Mommie Dearest", sorry, I have a great therapist if you want her number)!

If you don't like the salesperson, you are allowed to go up to the receptionist and request to speak to a manager and explain to that manager what kind of person you would like to work with.  Me?  I always ask for a woman or a young man who is funny and single and cute and likes reading and parrots. Um, ok, maybe I don't say all of that!  My point is: As a consumer, you have the right to the best service, and if you don't get it you can ask for someone different or leave. If you do get a good person to help you, now you have made their day by also being a good person to work with!

At any time during your purchasing experience, you are allowed to speak up and say what is making you uncomfortable, preferrably in a constructive and caring way.  If the dealership does not appropriately respond, you can thank them for their time and leave to seek out good service. Unfortunately, it may take some time because I am not a sales trainer all over the country and therefore there are a lot of bad salespeople out there....oooh, just kidding.  That was more of a jab at some of my trainer friends.  All kidding aside, you are making a big purchase that should not be taken lightly and the bigger the purchase the longer it may take. Just like dating, the first one you meet is not always Prince Charming and you gotta search for what you want and who will take good care of you.  I won't settle on a man and I won't settle on a dealership and salesperson!  Hopefully, AskPatty.com, can act like your "eHarmony.com" and your search won't take quite so long!

Now, once you have found your perfect match, what to do about all of those losers along the way? Sure, not buying from them was part of it, but if you have the time, I ask you to take it one step further.  REPORT THEM!  Not only to their General Manager and even the Dealer Principal (the owner of the dealership), but you can report them to the manufacturer.  As an Automotive professional, I love my industry and love many of the people in this industry, who are just as passionate about it, as I am.  Yet, it really boils my blood when others, who do not serve from the right heart or right spirit of intent, tarnish the reputation of my beloved industry.  The more they are reported, the quicker we can eradicate those people or help them see the error of their ways.  I would love to one day see the car purchasing experience ranked up there on the "Enjoyment" scale with "Surprise Vacations" and "First Loves"...hmmm, neither of which I have ever had; so, for me, I guess car buying is already pretty high on my scale and I hope this article will help it be the same for you!

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