megger5963
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:02 pm

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:15 am

bbrowncods wrote:CARMAX has a good model. No haggle sales and no haggle trade-in offer. I have used them twice and both times they gave me more for my trade-in than any other dealer, and the car I bought was cheaper than most other dealers.

The last time I used them I just sold them my vehicle and didn't buy from them. It was a great experience. I know that when they sold it they made 5000 over what they gave me. I have no problem with that. Talking to the salesman, she loved not having to "play the game" with customers. I don't know their compensation package.

I agree Thor, there are better models for selling cars. Especially with the information available to customers. Most do their homework!
Carmax won't lease. The best deal is at your dealer. Even third party leasing companies that promise "fleet prices" won't get you a $199/month or whatever the current "good deal" is.

cgaydos
Posts: 650
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:36 pm
Delivery Date: 21 Nov 2012
Leaf Number: 009493025635
Location: Monument, Colorado

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:20 am

First, to the original poster - thank you for this write up. Second, I agree in general with the comments that the system is far from ideal. Yes, it probably maximizes profit for the dealership owner, which is why it persists, but it isn't ideal for either you, the salesperson, or us the consumer.

I was made aware of the survey issue a number of years ago, and have found that it is now common practice across many different industries. So, when I get a dealer survey for either service or sales I will always mark all 10s unless there was a real problem. Once I marked a "5" to a question on a LEAF service survey and wrote in comments that the service staff was great, my problem was with Nissan not issuing a repair bulletin about a known problem (the failing heater on 2011/2012s). I received two calls from the dealer and one from Nissan corporate deeply concerned that my service had been bad. I explained on the phone how, no, the service guys were terrific my problem was with corporate. Even so, in my next service the guys gave me the red carpet treatment (I also told them verbally what had happened and apologized for the hassle they must have gotten).

I don't answer 10s for all surveys - for example, if United Airlines surveys I give them the answers they deserve. But if I get asked, for example, about the check-in experience at a hotel front desk I won't answer "9" thinking "they were really good, but I'll reserve a 10 for special days" because I know the clerk will get dinged.

It's also interesting to hear about how you deal with internet inquiries. I have long advocated on this forum using the internet for purchase. But I also a) avoid bulk emails - each dealer gets an email for them, b) provide cell phone for responses, c) am clear on exact options and dates needed. This seems to get the best responses. I found the phone can be in both parties interest. In one case a dealer called me immediately and offered a great deal. After a few hours of discussion involving other dealers (and further reductions in price) I settled on him and after signing was told that they needed to sell a LEAF that day to meet a quota. I doubt that would have happened in time only over email.
Red Leaf: 2012 SL, lease, acquired 21 November 2012
Blue Leaf: 2011 SL, purchase (new, was dealer demo), acquired 4 March 2013

CmdrThor
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:41 am
Delivery Date: 07 Jun 2013
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:41 am

megger5963 wrote: So we aren't even allowed to tryto make money is basically what you are saying? You are a free thinking human being, you can buy what you want. We don't need phone insurance, but we all pay the $10/mo. and forget about it just in case. Same principle.
By trying to sell people something they don't need at a ridiculously high markup that benefits the dealer at the customer of uneducated customers? And you wonder why people hate dealerships.

megger5963 wrote: Any Nissan dealer is REQUIRED to record all incoming and outgoing phone calls with customers. Do I want you to come in? Absolutely. I can't sell you a car over the phone. And bait and switch gets me NOWHERE on the Leaf. You've got three offers in your back pocket for around the same price anyway. Leaf customers have the ultimate buying power. I'm more than happy to communicate over email and put everything I say in writing - after we have discussed it on the phone. It takes me all day to draft emails that ask you what color, features, packages, etc you want on your new Leaf when I could just ask you a few questions on the phone.
Welcome to the 21st century. People like email, text, etc. It is more convenient for the vast majority of customers. Salesmen who responded to my email requests for quotes (with the EXACT options I wanted) did not get any further consideration. Demand to talk on the phone? You're dead to me.
megger5963 wrote: All we're trying to do is save you time. If something seems fishy, don't buy there. It's a free market. Pretty simple stuff. It would cost you just a few hundred dollars more to buy from a dealer a little farther away, even if you are remote and they have to transport the car to you. And save you a lot of headache.
There's loads of dealers within the LEAFs range to my house in the Atlanta area. Not everyone has that much choice, but it certainly wouldn't have cost me any more to go to a dealer 35 miles away instead of the one 5 miles away.
megger5963 wrote: I love my job. I said that several times. I don't want to work for Tesla. Their business model demotivates salesman and leaves no room for growth. The "positive car buying experience" is a two-way street. We need your help to provide that.
So instead of a salesman motivated to screw me over I have to rely on a superior product to sway me? And that is bad why?

megger5963 wrote: I agree with all of you. 90% of customers have done enough research to know more about the Leaf than I do. Do your homework before, when we ask what you want, just tell us, don't play shopping games. We will try our best to get you the deal you want. We know damn good and well what we are getting into when we sit down with a Leaf customer.

If you have a bad experience, SHOP ELSEWHERE. We respect that. Trust me, we know when we f**k up.
Customers only play games because you force them to. A customer tells you what they want and you make them wait 15 minutes after every question so you can go to your manager and "beg" them to approve your dealer. Then you come back with not quite what the customer wanted but something you think they'll like (aka something you think you can screw them over with) and the whole process gets repeated. Some of your points in your OP seemed genuine, but now you are just sounding like the same old same old car salesman that the world doesn't need anymore.

wbleafguy
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:04 am
Delivery Date: 19 Jun 2014
Location: North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:43 am

Much appreciate the perspective from a Leaf salesperson. My Dad was a truck salesman many years ago when I was young and I certainly knew first-hand how much effort went into coming home with such a small paycheck each month.

Having said that, I owned a software development company that wrote software for the retail automotive sector and I can say from personal experience in working behind the scenes at dozens of dealerships that many are liars, cheaters, and thieves. This is not opinion, it is fact.

Specifically, the F&I office is one of the biggest culprits (that's the finance and insurance office, or business office); I have personal experience in being asked to develop software that would show a column of numbers on the screen and a "total" on the bottom that was not the sum of the above numbers. Also a "hotkey" that when pressed would "flash" a value in the corner of the screen so the F&I manager could see their current floor for profit.

In general, my experience is that dealerships themselves don't make much profit on the sale of a given vehicle, and the vast majority comes from gross incentives (from overall dealership sales targets), from your used car trade-in (generally more profit is made on your trade-in than on the new car you are buying), and the most profit generally comes from financing and add-ons which can include: extended warranties, insurance products, undercoating, clear coating (aka DiamondKote), cloth protection (aka scotchguard), specialty trim and protective films, etc..etc.. These are provided by 3rd party companies and pay very good margins to the dealership and it is "cream" over and above the cost of the car.

From the perspective of someone who has purchased 8 new cars in my lifetime:
1. Pontiac Fiero
2. Nissan Pathfinder #1
3. Nissan Pathfinder #2
4. Nissan Altima
5. Hyundai Santa Fe #1
6. Hyundai Santa Fe #2
7. Hyundai Santa Fe #3
and just now
8. Nissan Leaf

... the experience on pretty much every one (except the Leaf) has been a painful back-and-forth with the "Sales Dance" where you give an offer to the salesperson who "can't take it to the business manager unless you give a deposit to show you are serious", then you sit in the chair for 10 minutes while the salesman "argues your case to the sales manager" - actually they are usually leaning against the wall comparing sports teams -- remember I worked behind the scenes for a decade writing their software.. I personally have seen this time and time again.. then salesman comes out with the haggle-price that they just can't go below, and you rinse-and-repeat until you are pretty much played out and frustrated. Finally you agree on a price $$$.

This price means really nothing then.. because you wait another 1/2 hour to go into the F&I office where you get all kinds of fees added to the negotiated price (some are valid like the destination/delivery fee or freight if they did a locate, etc.), but regardless you can often end up with another $2,000 on the bill with extra fees, over and above what you "negotiated".. again, you fight until you play out, like a fish on a line.

Then comes the "rust and dust" (from when the most common add-ons were undercoating, rustproofing, and clear coat/diamondKote), but now is more commonly accessories, various insurance product add-ons, and finance charges if you are not paying cash.

Financing through a dealership can be a whole nuther nightmare.. often the conversation starts with "how much were you looking for your payments to be each month", and you hum and haw and mumble "about $300-350", so the business manager says "ok, well I'll just enter $400 to start, just to see our options", and this is where the numbers on the screen start to not add up because you are going to end up paying that $400 as a minimum... so you agree either to a purchase price with all the junk added, or the finance charges, and then you get "ok, so we add the taxes"... because all this has been tax-out... and up goes the price out-of-pocket yet again..

This plays out over and over; and I appreciate any particular dealership or salesperson or business manager may want to argue that they don't do it that way, and that is fine--some are better than others-- but 100% of the dealerships I had direct contact with had most of this going on behind those closed office doors.

So.. long post.. but back to the original post of how salespeople selling Leafs get screwed.. one of the reasons consumers like myself seem to be such a PITA is because, from our perspective, we have to go through this dog-and-pony show over and over and over and we feel like we need to take a totally defensive posture when entering a dealership.

As for this Leaf I just bought.. I asked for an internet quote, the Nissan salesman got back to me later that day with price and availability of color choice, and I went down that day and handed them a full-retail check (because the couple thousand I could have haggled out is not worth my health and stress anymore). He did a good job, although really there wasn't any pre-sale work to be done as I had done all the research; but I can appreciate there is a lot of post-sale work to do.

Just my personal experience. YMMV.
--------
2015 Nissan Leaf SL - Slate Grey

megger5963
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:02 pm

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:53 am

CmdrThor wrote:
megger5963 wrote: So we aren't even allowed to tryto make money is basically what you are saying? You are a free thinking human being, you can buy what you want. We don't need phone insurance, but we all pay the $10/mo. and forget about it just in case. Same principle.
By trying to sell people something they don't need at a ridiculously high markup that benefits the dealer at the customer of uneducated customers? And you wonder why people hate dealerships.

megger5963 wrote: Any Nissan dealer is REQUIRED to record all incoming and outgoing phone calls with customers. Do I want you to come in? Absolutely. I can't sell you a car over the phone. And bait and switch gets me NOWHERE on the Leaf. You've got three offers in your back pocket for around the same price anyway. Leaf customers have the ultimate buying power. I'm more than happy to communicate over email and put everything I say in writing - after we have discussed it on the phone. It takes me all day to draft emails that ask you what color, features, packages, etc you want on your new Leaf when I could just ask you a few questions on the phone.
Welcome to the 21st century. People like email, text, etc. It is more convenient for the vast majority of customers. Salesmen who responded to my email requests for quotes (with the EXACT options I wanted) did not get any further consideration. Demand to talk on the phone? You're dead to me.
megger5963 wrote: All we're trying to do is save you time. If something seems fishy, don't buy there. It's a free market. Pretty simple stuff. It would cost you just a few hundred dollars more to buy from a dealer a little farther away, even if you are remote and they have to transport the car to you. And save you a lot of headache.
There's loads of dealers within the LEAFs range to my house in the Atlanta area. Not everyone has that much choice, but it certainly wouldn't have cost me any more to go to a dealer 35 miles away instead of the one 5 miles away.
megger5963 wrote: I love my job. I said that several times. I don't want to work for Tesla. Their business model demotivates salesman and leaves no room for growth. The "positive car buying experience" is a two-way street. We need your help to provide that.
So instead of a salesman motivated to screw me over I have to rely on a superior product to sway me? And that is bad why?

megger5963 wrote: I agree with all of you. 90% of customers have done enough research to know more about the Leaf than I do. Do your homework before, when we ask what you want, just tell us, don't play shopping games. We will try our best to get you the deal you want. We know damn good and well what we are getting into when we sit down with a Leaf customer.

If you have a bad experience, SHOP ELSEWHERE. We respect that. Trust me, we know when we f**k up.
Customers only play games because you force them to. A customer tells you what they want and you make them wait 15 minutes after every question so you can go to your manager and "beg" them to approve your dealer. Then you come back with not quite what the customer wanted but something you think they'll like (aka something you think you can screw them over with) and the whole process gets repeated. Some of your points in your OP seemed genuine, but now you are just sounding like the same old same old car salesman that the world doesn't need anymore.
Sorry to disappoint. Some people will not be happy regardless. My point in posting this is simply to dispell the idea that LEAF SALES (not F&I, not other cars, not managers) are a very high risk, low reward business to be in.

Is F&I crooked? Absolutely. Are the managers responsible for making money? You bet. Can we crack people over the head for thousands on other vehicles? Sure.

I'm in no way arguing the merits of the car business or F&I. It's an outdated, broken system. This is about Leaf Sales.

My only point is that there is a lot more that goes into selling a Leaf than the standard car. We don't mind that -- just wish the surveys reflected our work.

Zythryn
Posts: 1108
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:49 am

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:55 am

megger5963 wrote:...
I love my job. I said that several times. I don't want to work for Tesla. Their business model demotivates salesman and leaves no room for growth. The "positive car buying experience" is a two-way street. We need your help to provide that.
...
I think you have simply been told that and don't really know the specifics of their sales model.

The Tesla store employees I have met, and a few I know well, are more motivated than any other car salesman I have ever met.
They have, on average, a much higher level of knowledge about their own cars (granted, they only have two models, soon three).
They have set goals, but take their job as education, not sales.
I have seen "specialists" become leads, store managers, even regional managers. And of course, if owning a chunk of a disruptive company (stock) doesn't motivate you, I am not sure what would.

The excitement and enthusiasm shown by these people are unbelievable.

And...there is none of this, "let me go clear this with my manager" three times before you even get to do a dance with the finance guy.

If their business model "demotivates" sales staff, I would hate to see the Tesla staff I know when they were motivated.
Previous owner of Prius, Volt, Leaf & Model S
Current owner of Model 3
http://www.netzeromn.com

adric22
Posts: 2488
Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:40 pm
Delivery Date: 05 Apr 2011
Leaf Number: 000768
Location: Fort Worth, TX

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:16 am

This was a most interesting read. I have friends who have worked in the service dept for car dealers and it opened my eyes to an incredibly broken system that rewards technicians for lying, cheating, and doing crappy quality work. Now I have a complete picture now that I see how broken the system is on the sales side of things. I really would like to see car dealerships disappear.

I always fill out my surveys honestly. I've had salesmen tell me that "anything less than a 10 is a failing grade." and while that may be true from their perspective, the survey does not word it that way. So I grade the survey honestly. After all, if Nissan wants to have salesmen graded on a pass/fail scale then they should only give me two options to begin with. I'm sorry this affects the salespeople negatively, but obviously the system is broken internally and that isn't my fault.

I also imagine the Leaf buyer is not a salesman's best friend because most people buying a Leaf are probably more intelligent than the average car buyer. They probably want the best deal. They probably don't want any of the dealer add-ons and extended warranties that are usually a scam. Sometimes a company is better off selling products to idiots because that makes them more money. When they create a product that caters to intelligent people only, that can be a problem.

On the bright side, the Prius used to be similar to this. But now that it has gone mainstream, most of those issues are gone. It is no different than selling a Camry. I would hope that in time the Leaf would be no different than selling an Altima.
2013 Blue Nissan Leaf SV
2012 Summit White Chevy Volt

xtremeflyer
Posts: 313
Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:13 pm
Delivery Date: 03 Aug 2012
Location: Orange, CA

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:23 am

In your first post you mention this:
megger5963 wrote:So, in total, we are looking at making $300-$500 on every single Leaf deal we close, sometimes a little more.
Mostly because of the "spin", but you said you get at least $200 on your spin.

In another post, you say this:
megger5963 wrote:If a "mini" (or minimum commission on a car) is $100, and I sell 12-15 units, I make $12-1500/month. Minus 30% tax.

When was the last time you heard of feeding a family on $12-1500/month?
But that's not really accurate.. You'll never only make $1200-1500/month because you are guaranteed a spin of at least $200. I love how the dealership has their employees "gamble" after each sale. Would you rather have the "spin" where you get $200-400 each time, or just get $300 per sale. If it's the spin, then you are gambling with your own salary every day.

Now, not that $3600/mo is much to live on, but its more than your dramatic $1200-1500/month. This is why we don't like salesmen, they "spin" (get it) the numbers to get a reaction.

DaveinOlyWA
Posts: 14108
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:43 pm
Delivery Date: 16 Feb 2018
Leaf Number: 314199
Location: Olympia, WA
Contact: Website

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:25 am

megger5963 wrote:Yeah. Spiffs exist. Absolutely.

We get paid a couple of hundred dollars for selling the most cars over the weekend or $25 per sold appointment. Or something to that effect.

But at the end of the day, and what many people fail to understand:

If a "mini" (or minimum commission on a car) is $100, and I sell 12-15 units, I make $12-1500/month. Minus 30% tax.

When was the last time you heard of feeding a family on $12-1500/month? That's why surveys are crucial. That can be an extra $1200-$5000 we wouldn't get otherwise.

No they aren't all "mini's", but Leafs tend to be. That's the point. Get your good deal -- just take care of salespeople on the survey. It's a broken system... agreed... but we can't fix it. And we love our jobs (well, some of us anyway). Sometimes it's just the little things that make it hard.

In these markets like ATL and California, salesman can sell more Leafs than any other car because the incentives are so good. So they really get hurt.

Food for thought while you guys shop (or look to replace your current Leaf). :)
ya, car sales, tough business which is one of many reasons why I don't do it anymore. But you have the advantage of having a hot item to sell. Where I worked, top sales was lucky to sell 13-15 a month. It was Ford. We were in the EV program but never had more than 2 FFE's on the lot at one time when I was there. EVSE was installed almost a year after I left. EV Program was about 16 months old by then. Ya, we were in it but all in?? ya right
2011 SL; 44,598 miles. 2013 S; 44,840 miles.2016 S30 deceased. 29,413 miles. 2018 S40; 15,000 miles, 478 GIDs, 37.0 kwh 109.81 Ahr , SOH 94.61, Hx 120.15
My Blog; http://daveinolywa.blogspot.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

megger5963
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:02 pm

Re: A Note From A Leaf Salesman

Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:27 am

Now, not that $3600/mo is much to live on, but its more than your dramatic $1200-1500/month. This is why we don't like salesmen, they "spin" (get it) the numbers to get a reaction.
I don't get a spin on every car. Just Leafs. Betwen 1 and 3 a month in my market is a good month for a Leaf Salesman. We also sell other cars. Sorry I didn't clarify.

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