Opinions & Advice

You F’ing crazy car dealers

I haven’t worked in a dealership for more than 6 years now. Today I’m a vendor; one who works closely with OEMs and dealers… for those of you who don’t know me. During that time, I have been explaining to coworkers and manufacturer representatives how to make life easier for dealers. Unfortunately, neither will ever understand.

People who buy and have their car worked on at car dealerships are the root of all our communication issues.

That’s basically because they’re fukingz crazy!

If car buyers were sane we’d all drive Hyundai Accents (perfectly reliable way of getting from A to B affordably). But we’re emotional predators who not only want bling, but we want it without paying full price.

So, when our customer side comes out, we make most of our buying decision in an emotionally irrational manner. And our emotional side is fed like a fire. Fed by someone else’s emotions: our sales agent. He reinsures that we’re making good decisions, so we more easily say “yes.”

And that’s the key.

An emotionless sales agent cannot sell to most buyers; she needs to be short-sighted and excited. So a dealership’s sales success is based on how well the sales team can empathize with a bat-shit crazy customer.

To put it another way:  being bat-shit crazy is good business.

Unfortunately for our industry we have clashes between car dealers, vendors, and OEMs because bat-shit crazy is not good business where detailed planning is necessary. The building of software and automobiles requires deep rational thought with long-term visibility. It is almost robotic on the emotional scale.

I’m fortunate to have been a bat-shit crazy car dealer most of my life and have gained the experience to operate as a stone-cold boring robot. Both have their upsides and their downsides.

Not many people have had the chance to live on each side of the fence, but it is the only way to truly understand both parties. One must live it and feed your family from it.

On your next frustrating call, please remember that culture is causing your communication breakdown.  And that culture has good reason to exist.

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Who knew an argument with Jeff Kershner, in 2005, would lead to Alex becoming a partner with him on DealerRefresh. Where will the next argument take ...