Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Big Guys and Little Guys

Having worked at both "Big" dealers and "Little" dealers, I like to think that I'm informed enough to write an article on both of them. I've also purchased my own personal vehicles from large and small dealers, and I'd like to dive into my related experiences. (Photo is for humor only)

First off, I ask that we give the white-shirt-and-tie wearing salesmen a break. Their hungry stares, pushy attitudes, and abilities to stick to you like velcro are mostly products of the sales managers and other people in high places. Sales managers will put on a show, making it seem like you can make tons of money and live a great life, only to turn against you once you're hired, when they demand one thing from you, and one thing only: numbers. All they want to see are the numbers which make it to the whiteboard, the cars sold. They don't accept excuses, and they want you to push the customer into a sale any way you can, which often frustrates Mr. Customer. If you can't get them to commit, you "turn" the customer to the "turn guy" and have them bombard the customer anew. The salesperson will do this out of fear; fear that his boss will yell at him, tell him he's no good, or even threaten to send him home. If a salesman goes home, there's no money to be made.

The problem is, Mr. Sales Manager, that people are tired of being treated like they're stupid. The average Joe is likely to be just as educated about cars as his salesman. Sales tactics that these Managers were taught back in the 1970s don't really work nowadays. With Al Gore's invention called the Internet, people are now extremely well informed, and frankly, people just don't like being herded around like cattle.

It's thanks to these "Big" dealers that we "Little" guys get a bad rap. Thankfully, LeSueuer's rescued me after two weeks of horrible servitude at a large Japanese car dealer. During my stay there I met a number of good, genuinely nice people. In hindsight, these people were the newer salesman who hadn't been selling long. You could tell they were new to the industry like I was. I watched as they struggled to be friendly yet forceful into making a sale, and I'm sure I looked just as awkward, chasing Mr. Customer and doing everything short of begging at his feet. The tactics they taught us were splitting us down the middle; common sense told us to be nice, but our boss was beating up common sense on the playground after school.

I understand what buyer's remorse feels like. It's one of the worst feelings in the world when you find out that you've paid too much for something, or you come to learn the fine print, nitty gritty details weeks or even months later. My wife and I bought her car from one of the big guys, and boy did that leave a bad taste in our mouths. We were suckered in by the "Certified Used" warranty and ended up being pressured to pay too much. I would never recommend that dealer to anyone, nor would I ever return, even for service or warranty work.
When I bought my car from LeSueur's (before I started working here), it was the easiest and most pain-free experience I've ever had. I love my car, I enjoyed the experience, and I'll recommend everyone to come here. And when I'm done working at LeSueur's, I don't think I can muster up the courage to buy anywhere else.

I was so relieved to be able to switch to a place that appeared to be allergic to pressured sales. The great thing about LeSueur's is that people can feel at ease, and walk and explore at their leisure. We just barely sold a customer his first car, even though he'd been coming here every month for the past 3 years, having driven one or two cars on each visit. Most people tend to give us funny looks as we approach in our t-shirts, khaki shorts, and sandals, trying to decipher whether or not we even work there. Our place isn't much to look at, but it sure beats being hunted by a pack of piranhas and pulled into the sales office with forces comparable to black holes.

Compared to the "Big" dealers, we're actually not small at all. The Japanese dealer that I worked at had an inventory of 500-600 cars, which is quite large. Here at LeSueur's we strive to keep an inventory of 300 cars, and for a used car lot which feels small and down to Earth, that's a BIG used car dealership. Just yesterday I stopped by an American new car dealer and the salesman was shocked to hear we had such a large inventory, especially since his was only around 200 or so. He actually asked for my card after talking about our place for a few minutes.
Fact is, we probably have the largest inventory at one location within the Phoenix Valley, and possibly, the state of Arizona. Another fact: our tax rate is one of the lowest in the Valley! Oh, and another fact: unless you've been here before, you've never experienced car-buying the way it was meant to be experienced. The overwhelming majority of our customers tell us, after visiting dozens of other dealers, that their experience with LeSueur's was "A lot better," when compared to previous experiences. But don't just take my word, check out our perfect rating on Dealerrater by following this link

We may look and feel small, but truth is we're one of the biggest used car lots in the state. Give us a chance, check us out, and don't run away at first glance, it gets better... trust me. There are no sales managers behind mirrored glass, and no pushy salespeople; just friendly, young men who are as laid back and genuine as they look. There's really no comparison. Come try this new flavor of car buying for yourself.

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