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Sleazy car salesgirl

We didn't mean to be sales people

By E. J. StrangePublished 3 years ago 9 min read

“I want to be a car salesperson,” says no one, ever. No kid in kindergarten has dreams of grandeur in the automotive sales industry and it’s a profession that is generally ignored. When it's not being ignored it’s being revered negatively. There are movies on how fucked up our souls are and anyone who has bought a car can tell you how sleezy we are. It’s funny because we thought the same thing you did. In fact, every car salesperson I have ever talked to has said, “I didn’t want to be in car sales.” So why did we stick around?

We are greedy car salespeople. Obviously, it was for the money! Just kidding. When we are all hired the managers will get together and show you how easy it is to make money from car sales and they will tell you, “You are going to make $100,000 easy.” They have to say shit like that because you wouldn’t sell your soul for $40,000 or $50,000 a year, would you? On average you are going to be making about $120 a car and if you meet volume bonus you will get kick back money from the manufacturer, which they will send to you on a crude debit card. The bonuses could have you eating nice for a few weeks, but you have to save it because there are few months out of the year where you will be luck to sell 10 cars which is about what you need to break even with bills, if you live modestly. So yea, you will have those $8,000 months like around Christmas time and in the summer months, but then the rest of the months you are lucky to clear your bills. All in all, you can hustle and try to make more but it’s a bell curve of having enough money to live verses having no time to live. I have found my bell curve maxes out around $50,000.

Again, I hear you asking, “why do you stick around?” It must be the customers, right? Mostly, wrong. This is like any other retail job. You are going to have people treat you terribly, but it is on a whole new scale, because you have to get personal with these people. By the end of the transaction, you know where they live, you know where they work, you know how much they make, you know why they are getting the car, you know their social security number and you are possibly wiping out their savings. When someone gives so much they expect a lot back. Some people still see you as human and want to be friends, but most people will belittle and bully you. It will wear on you over time, and it will make you more firm and jaded towards others. At least it did for me.

So why do I stick around? Why have I continued to do this for 3 years, even though I wake up every morning dreading selling a car? I feel like a spider, something my customers hate, and dread seeing and want to beat to death with a newspaper, but I am really just there trying to help. So why do I do it! Well, dealerships are like the islands of misfit toys. It is an easy enough job to get, especially when you find yourself in the dregs of life. You don’t have to have a degree, you don’t need solid credentials, hell most everyone at the dealerships can’t even pass a drug test, honestly you don’t even need to know about cars. All you have to be able to do is say coherent sentences and take a verbal beating regularly and then you will make the same money an educated graduate would make without all the red tape or hoops. What I am saying is your salespeople wanted to have a better quality of life, but could not, for whatever reason, mesh up to societies standards.

I myself am a college drop out. I couldn’t afford my last semester of college and took the crappy liberal arts and science associates degree that they could give me with my credits. I can’t do anything with that degree and worked 2 jobs at over 80 hours a week just to make around $40,000. One job went to paying my student loans while my night shift job went to my living expenses, but I wasn’t really living I was just surviving. As miserable as I am at the dealership, I know those days were worse, and it is the only thing that stops me from quitting. Still, the hours are not the best and Sunday is your only real day off. Customers will demand your day off and sometimes you can’t say no because you need the money, and you can’t afford to give the commission to another salesperson.

All in all, it is an easy job to slip into, but a big reason I like my job is the people I work with. They aren’t trying to pretend they are great and the ones who do end up quitting. We are terrible people who didn’t have what it takes to be respectable, but we value our lives and want it to be more than paycheck to paycheck. Sales makes you feel like you have that control. We aren’t competitive, though, with each other like you might think. My coworkers if they know I am close to a bonus will give me one of their deals and I just pay them for their work, so it evens out that they still get their money and I have bonus money I would have not had. I don’t have to pretend with them that I am an upstanding community member to be respected. I don’t have to be big, and bad, and tough either. We realize that we all got it tough, and we need to stick up for each other in order to survive. We spend more time with each other than our families and realize that we have to make the most of it.

Another reason I haven’t quit yet is the feral-ness of the job. It makes me want to quit every day, but I have become addicted to it. I don’t think I could ever go back to a 9 to 5 office job. At work I never know what I am going to get into. Everything is new every day. Yes, I can walk you through a perfect sales process but add people into the mix and anything goes. I have had people wreck cars on test drives. I have had parents leave me with their children. I have nearly been kidnapped. I tell myself I have seen it all and it can’t be worse than this and every day I find a new level of crazy I couldn't not have cooked up myself. It's great, it's fun and it is terrible.

Now I know I throw around a lot of hate and negativity surrounding my job. I do that because I know how we are perceived. I get the hate speeches every day and I do deal with a lot of negativities with my customers. Before I opened up to my island of miss fits, I almost quit. I ended up initially sticking with the job because of my first Manager. I told him I hated our profession because we are treated poorly, and I didn’t feel like I was helping anyone. He explained to me that we do. We listen to people’s problems and fix them every day.

A new car is not an investment. It is a depreciating asset, but it’s a necessary asset for most people to have a car. Here in the U.S. nothing is close by and the average American drives about 16 miles to get to work every day. That is about a 30-minute drive without traffic. For those without a car that means 5 hours of walking or an hour to two-hour bus ride. You see the difference already. Now imagine adding child pick-ups, grocery store visits, and appointments. Life is starting to get harder, and you have no time for anything. You could get an uber but just a few of those and you have pretty much made a car payment. Also, just imagine during the pandemic, being an essential working and having to ride the bus. You already spent the day being exposed to nasty people and then you have to cram yourself on a bus with other people who have been exposed to nasty people as well. I had people come from the city to buy cars from us for this very reason after years of not having a car.

This is the part where everyone thinks I am swindling them. They think well I have to have this to make ends meet and the salesperson knows this, so they are jacking up the price. I am not and I don’t have control over pricing. There is a reason I still drive a 2005 shit box even though I get manufacture discounts on cars. I can’t afford a large car payment either. Are you understanding that? Even with my employee discount I am still at a $360 payment for a base model sedan. Still, if a customer is reasonable, and they need reliable transpiration I do everything I can to help them. Why don’t I do it for every customer, though? Some people can afford to get new cars whenever they like, but they want to get a premium top of the line vehicles for $200 a month. Great deal I would go for that too, but it means I get no commission. I don’t like working for free, so yea, I don’t feel like helping people like that out. I hope you understand.

Another aspect where I feel like I am helping is in the day-to-day chatter. I have people use me like a therapist. By the way I am not licensed and the advice I give is on the terrible side, but I will listen. I have people from my old dealership, still call me to let me know how life is going. They aren’t the only ones. I have customers come in and tell me everything from how THC lube saved their marriage to how their child is suffering from a terminal illness, regardless of whether they are buying a car or not. Sometimes people just need a stranger, who is not connect to it all, to talk to and I recognize that. I willing to listen from time to time or when I do my fallow up calls to see how you and the car doing. So, my boss was right we do help people.

I am not going to lie sales is not for everyone. Even the people who have the talent to sell, it is still a hard job for them. If you end up sticking with it, though, you are never going to have the same day twice. You are going to connect with people on an uncomfortable level, but sometimes it's worth it.


About the Creator

E. J. Strange

I am new to the writing community but hope to publish a novel one day. I am simple minded and sucker for romance.

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