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Car Salesman Don't Know Jack S%#t


Full Member
Jun 19, 2002
Today I went to visit my local chevy dealer to look at an 03' after seeing it on their web site. Well I knew I was in trouble when the salesman that swooped down on me said "2003 avalanche, are you sure"? I said "yes, an 03, it's on your web site and is pewter with leather interior. And, I saw it last week parked in the back as I drove by." Well he still didn't believe me but we went looking. As we walked up to several avs in the back he went to the 02's with the lighter cladding. I immediately pointed this out to him and walked past all 5 02's to the 03 model on the end.
This guy obviously doesn't do his homework. After telling him I was waiting to see how the darker cladding looks on the red,the new blue and the dark gray. He says "we have a trail blazer in the gray", which we couldn't find. He then says "you were looking for an indigo blue"? I said "no, the new arrival blue".
I could go on but I think you get the point. Needless to say when I order one in the next 2-3 months he won't be my salesman.
I have to agree. I went to several dealers all clueless. When I bought my AVY I asked my dealer about synthetic oil. He told me it would void my warranty????? ???
I've given up on expecting technical expertise from salesmen. Go prepared, and 9 out of 10 times, you'll be able to teach them a thing of two.

I do expect courteous service, a low pressure approach, and a willingness to negoitiate price from sales people. They serve as a necessary evil in buying a vehicle for now, but as internet buying becomes more popular, their days may be numbered!

My father in law's whole career was sales in the printing industry. He claimed that a good salesman can sell anything - it's all in the ability to make the customer feel good, and often has little to do with how much they know about the product.
I remember asking about the 4.10 gears vs the 3.73 gears when I was looking for my AV.

Seems like whichever one the AV had that I was looking at were the best ones, but they had no idea why they were better.

I also asked the same 5 questions to each salesperson that I talked to. I knew the answers to these 5 questions and I wanted to know what kind of answers I would get. Anyone that BSed 2 or more questions I walked away from. Anyone that gave an honest "I don't know" I was happy to keep talking to.

My five questions (these were asked randomly during the conversation and not in any specific order):

1. What is the difference between the 4.10 and 3.73 gears?
2. What are the differences between the Z66 and Z71 packages?
3. What octane fuel is recommended for the AV?
4. Where is the jack located and can you show me where it is?
5. What kind of spare tire does the AV have?

Oddly enough, the salesperson I bought from didn't have any answers for my questions, but looked them all up for me.

I have to agree on the ignorant salesmen. The way I see it, if that is your job (to sell chevys) then learn the product. I'd be fired if the boss came up to me ask "what is this and how does it work?" and I told him that I'm not sure. Its not that hard people(salesmen)! You sit around all day long waiting for that curious customer to stroll in so you can pounce on them like a rabid shark... Use that time to at least read the brochures!!
to know the details and besides, YOU already know way more than any salesperson will know about the Av.

Their job is to sell vehicles for the dealership at a profit. Period.

Yes, it would be beneficial for them to know all about every vehicle on the lot but that's just not going to happen. They're commission salespeople paid only when they sell something.

As one poster said, if they treat you courteously, fairly, and with respect then that's all I think you should expect. It doesn't hurt to quiz them and see what they know and it's actually fun to teach them stuff about the cars and trucks they sell but heck, give 'em a break. YOU don't need their technical expertise anyway. Try to use your knowledge to help you get a better deal and you'll be a lot better off.

And to the originator of this thread, I say, if you're gonna buy an Av you just might want to consider giving the business (or at least an opportunity to sell you one) to the guy who spent time with you walking around the dealer's lot, listening to you talk about the Av like the fanatic you (we) are. THAT's what they get paid to do (listen to customers and close deals).

That's my two cents. Flame away!
I gotta Disagree with MagicMtnDan big time....

As a salesman, yes, they are supposed to sell vehicles for the dealership at a profit, but what is their function to the consumer? To provide assistance in the process. This shouldn't be limited to the amount of cash they can yank out of one's pocket.

Luckily, most of us on this site are very informed consumers, but it's our Moms and Dads, brothers and sisters that we worry about (in the hands of a ill informed salesman)

I mean, really, it seems like every time I go to a dealership, there all outside smoking and shoot'n the breeze...like Black_magic said "Read the dang brochure!" :7:

If they aren't supposed to be knowledgeable in the product, why not just have a bunch of computers in the dealership all connected to the sales manager that could yea/nea a price....would save the dealership money....

My salesman told me that the 6000 engine was standard. Then I told him it was the 5300. Then he said it was an option, or maybe it was on the 2500's. He still didn't believe me when I said the only engines were the 5300 in the 1500 and 8100 in the 2500's. :2:
All I needed him for anyway was to get me the keys and to get me scheduled with the financing guy.
Considering becoming a broker myself. :0:
If I were a salesman and I could stand around shooting the breeze all day with some other salesmen and still make a good living at it, you can bet that I'm not going to put myself out learning information I don't need. Knowing how to manipulate people will serve a salesman FAR better than knowing the difference between 3.73's and 4.10's in dealing with the average car buyer.

There are SO many tools available to the discerning consumer these days (such as this site!) that I have very little sympathy for someone who gets screwed by a (good) salesman! He did his job, and did it well.

I will probably need a firesuit for these comments, but in a capitalistic society driven by basic human greed, the mantra is, and always has been, "buyer beware". If you don't want to play the game, go buy a Saturn... I hear they're "no pressure".
When I walked into dealerships looking at AV's, I at least wanted to talk with someone who was somewhat familiar with the vehicle. That salesman needs to show me why this is "cool" and why I should buy this particular vehicle and why I should pick it over brand X. Heck, thats his job right? I mean "sale" is in his job title... so, SALE me on it!!! Show me how to open up the midgate, show me the side compartments, etc. etc. Any fool can read the window sticker.

I know better than to ask technical questions like compression ratios and so forth, but at least know that the Z-66 and Z-71 come with the 17" wheels and rubber floor mats! Once again, its their JOB!
I have to agree and disagree. If any of us were going to be salesman/woman, then we would know as much as we could, but we aren't like the salesman.
We're into trucks/cars etc., so if we have an interest in something, we're going to educate ourselves to the fullest.
Salesman don't give a rats ass about the vehicles. They want money. They don't want to hear about somebody modifiying their truck. They just want to see $$$$$.

Now I have run into a few salesman that are like us. I spent 45 minutes talking about trucks with this one guy and he knew good and well I wasn't going to buy, but he didn't care.
Now for me, I'll definitely go back to that guy.

I actually have seen a few salesman that use to sell Fords over at the Chevy dealerships selling. They just hop around to where ever the money is.
When I bought my Av, I used the GMS discount and the salesman didn't even bother trying to compete with my knowledge of the truck and got out of my way (thankfully).

When I bought my Grand Am, the salesman went for a ride with me. After a minute or two, he said, "You obviously know more than me about this car so I'll just shut up and let you drive". (what are you getting paid for then?)

Like someone else said, if I didn't know anything about my product at work I'd get fired. But with salesman, they are sellers (con artists) first, who just happen to sell for a car dealership at that particular time. Most migrate from one dealership to another when they don't make their quota. Some drift from one business to another. My salesman used to sell popup campers. Many salesman don't even have their own business cards. They have to add it on a blank card or cross out someone else's name and insert their own. I call them "rookies".

However, there are some dealerships that have their act together and only hire legitimate car sales people. But I think they are few and far between.
Like Bob Lutz said, I doubt the internet is going to replace dealerships until you can get a price, drive one, and have the financing and delivery right to you with customer service. I agree with that, people want to smell, touch and feel a vehicle before they buy it most of the time, however, I agree with how 9 times out of 10 a well informed buyer, even someone who subscribes to at least one of the buff books can TEACH the sales people about their own products. The domestic automakers need to start makeing the sales staff pass tests on product and give every customer a thurough walk around just like the imports. Then maybe their product knowledge would increase. When I bought mine, one of the first here, I knew infinately more than my salesman. If Chevy had to rely on them to teach us about the features, they might have sold 25,000, not 100,000 by now! :B:
wrchism said:
I've given up on expecting technical expertise from salesmen. ?Go prepared, and 9 out of 10 times, you'll be able to teach them a thing of two.

I do expect courteous service, a low pressure approach, and a willingness to negoitiate price from sales people. ? They serve as a necessary evil in buying a vehicle for now, but as internet buying becomes more popular, their days may be numbered!

My father in law's whole career was sales in the printing industry. ?He claimed that a good salesman can sell anything - it's all in the ability to make the customer feel good, and often has little to do with how much they know about the product.
Many dealerships do not know much about the vehicles they carry, and that stupidity is carried forth through their salespersons.

When I purchased my Avalanche, I had read about the 16" spare tire and brought this up with the salesperson. I was assured that the spare tire was a full 17" and on the same rim as the rest of the tires on the truck. (It was winter, otherwise I would have crawled beneath and verified this myself.) Imagine my surprise when it was warm enough to check and see that it was a 16" spare tire. I brought this up with the dealership, and normally would not care what size the spare tire is, but when I am assured of something - now apparently only to make a sale - I want something done.

It seems that more and more we require resources like CAFCNA in the world to make an informed decision, because the people selling the item certainly do not do their homework, and at the very least are biased in their comments in order to make a sale. This is not strictly with vehicles, but in general.
It's a well know fact that everyone (most people) hate dealerships, car sales persons, the buying experience, etc... Most people feel that they are getting screwed over by the dealer, even when they "get a good deal".

I refer anyone I know who is buying a car, including my own clients and friends to the owner of Diamond-Motors. His name is Armen. Here is a link to the company web-site. www.diamond-motors.com

They by far have the best customer service and provide an honest and no hassle buying experience. It's actually pretty simple, tell him what model you want, what options, what color - he'll find the vehicle for you, negotiate the price, even have it delivered to your door if you want. It's definately worth checking out if you are in the market for a car or truck.

The usual disclaimer; I am not a car dealer, do not work for and am not compensated by the company in any way.
Belive it or not, even though I have made some strong opinions on the ignorant salesperson. I had a good experience while buying my AV. It was just annoying to have the salesman not know his product. I think that a dealership should have a meeting at the beginning of the day and go over in detail a particular vehicle. That way the salespeople are up to par on the specifics of a car, which in turn ...should equal.. a more confident seller, happier customers and MORE sales. Plus, no matter how many types of cars they sell, they can find time to discuss them all.
I am probably putting myself in the line of fire :3: however, why not?? I am an Internet Sales manager at an Acura /BMW /Porsche/Subaru, and yes Chevrolet Dealer. I will admit I work with BMW and Acura more than any of the other brands. I have been with the dealer for over three years and I resent being told I dont know jack S%#t. :D: I do not know everything about every vehicle we sell. I do know how to look up any answer. I did not like the selling experience when I worked on the floor. This is why I started an Internet Department :0:. We sell a lot of vehicles over the net because of the service we provide (y). We do not sell a lot of Chevys because we are not a large Chevy dealership in an area where there are 7 Chevy dealers in a 32 mile radios. I have several sales people that have over 5 years of experience at our dealership and know a lot about the vehicles. We also have our share of people who need to learn more. Those Rookies :sleep: are usually short timers because they are lazy and they think you have to lie to sell vehicles. This is not true it is the opposite. Our best sales people are the ones that tell the truth even if it may cost them the sale.

I am not looking to start any arguments or debates, I am an AV driver and I love my truck :love:. However, I felt insulted :6: because there are bunch of people on this board who are judging me on my profession and not on who I am.

Once again I love my truck and I could drive any vehicle that we sell and I choose the AV :love: my :B:.

I know that I have probably upset a few people and if you would like I will leave the board :6:, however like I said I do not feel that it is fair to insult me because you had a bad experience with someone else.

HiLine - Don't take the things we say personally, we all know not to judge the whole bunch by one experience. I do not want to start a debate either. You do have to admit though, there are a ton of people out there selling cars who are clueless. On the other hand, their are people who sell cars who love them and can tell you everything about them - they are just outnumbered by the rookies. Just my $.02 :B: ?
I went to three dealerships looking for an Avalanche. The first one was here in Dickson,TN. I had heard bad things about them but I figured I would stop by and look anyway. I had on a T-shirt and shorts since it was in the 90's. The salesman and another guy pulled up in a golf cart. He was wearing dark sunglasses so you could never see his eyes. He gave me the usual runaround and then asked me If I had a trade in. I told him I had a 97 Ranger. He said,"That's a pretty big step up." in a kinda snobby way. We told him what payments we could make and he told us there was no way to get the payments under $500 a month. Over all he was a pretty big A-hole.

I then went to a dealer in Nashville and the salesman was a very nice guy but couldn't get the price down where we could afford since we had just bought a new house also.

We then went to Payne Chevrolet in Springfield and the Salesman was very helpful. His name was Brad Litchford. I think I have the last name right, but am not positive. He had went to the Avalanche training and was very knowledgable about the AV. He was the nicest salesman I had ever dealt with. They worked with us and got the price down where we could manage it. It was well worth the hour and half drive to get it.
Car Salesmen, Cops, Lawyers, and (recently) Priests. Don't remember reading from any Priests on here, but I know we have the other 3 professions covered on this board. Unfortunately, these are all professions where a few admittedly bad apples seem to overshadow the hard work of the majority. Don't feel bad, Hi-Line, I too am used to being blamed by the actions of a few bad aples.
I've had my share of high pressure a-hole salesmen while I lived in CA. :8:That is half the reason for my disdain for Fords. The other half was the vehicles. :D:

Fortunately, my former next door neighbor's brother is the sales manager at the nearby Chevy dealer. :cool: I've got some sweet deals on all the vehicles I purchased since moving to MD. ;D

I have a lot of respect for a salesman who really knows his product. ;) If you sit around 60% of the day waiting for a potential customer, you could be educating yourself on the features of the new vehicles your trying to sell. :0:

Now I need to hook up with someone who has a relative in the service department! >:D

Truckman :B:
PMatt said:
?Don't feel bad, Hi-Line, I too am used to being blamed by the actions of a few bad aples.

I am not blaming anybody personally. I definantly understand that there are those out there that know what they are doing and what they are selling. I'm just agrivated at the ones who seem to know nothing of the product they sell, nor seem to care if they ever do.

Its really ashame to see that most of teh car salesman out there dotn really care about the guybuying the car jsut in the moeny to be made. That why they say there is only one thing lower that a Car salesman....and thats a used car salesman. :eek:
In this world , you usually get what you ask for. You especially get what you pay for. As a former car salesman I can tell you why most salesman do not have any product knowledge. They don't need it because the customers don't ask for it or even want it. I started in the service department and then transferred to sales. I literally knew the product form the ground up and since I was (and am) a car nut, I read everything I could get my hands on about our products. Did it help me sell? Not often. Once in a great while we would get a customer that had some technical questions and all the other salesmen would turn them over to me. 99 times out of a hundred my biggest challenge was getting a husband and wife to agree on a COLOR! After that EVERYTHING else was easy. Price, model, and equipment were minor concerns - the big question was color. If I started telling a customerabout the FEATURES of a vehicle, I could see the customers eyes start to glaze over - most of them just did not care.
So why should a salesman learn the product and get information that he rarely if ever will use. Many of the customers that asked a lot of technical questions were hard to sell (or impossible to sell) anyway, so the time spent learning the product was wasted in terms of making a living. The most successful salesman I knew had worked for years in a Ford dealership and then transferred to our GM Dealership. He knew absolutely NOTHING about the product. In fact he didn't even like the product! But he knew people and people loved him (even whe he was blowing cigar smoke in their faces) and he could sell cars!
A salesman is only one resource that you can use to gather information. Do your own homework. After all, you are the one spending your money for a vehicle and you are the one that will have to live with it.
The only problem I have with salesmen that don't know their product is when they "make up" answers (lie, or tell you what they think you want to hear). There is no shame in telling a custome "I don't know, but I will find out" and then doing the research and giving the customer the "right" answer.
Short story, if you don't like the fact that most salesmen don't know much about their product, thank your fellow car shoppers. Again, you get what you ask for.
I feel the same way about telephone solicitors. Everybody complains about getting called at all hours, but obviously these calls are succesful or they would stop.