The Reputation of a Car Salesperson
…..What It Should Be!
I know, I know, ‘Professional Car Salesperson’—it’s an oxymoron! Well, here in the 21st century maybe not—at least Allison Cohen doesn’t think so, and she’s worked hard to overcome that stigma that hangs over the head of anyone who ventures to admit “I sell cars.” Other than saying you’re an insurance salesperson, it may just be the best way to clear a room at any party!
What one really wants when buying a car is a great experience—afterall, a new ride at last! The excitement, the anticipation, and, oh yes, that wonderful exhilaration! But wait. Then the realization of the drama of navigating the negotiation waters filled with hungry crocodiles looms ahead. I’ve met very few people over the years who’ve said they’ve ever loved the experience. Sure, some may view it as a challenge, but most don’t.
Recently, I thought I’d look up Allison Cohen and ask her some questions about selling in the automobile industry. What makes Allison the expert? Well, it’s like prying open an oyster to get her to talk about herself, but I have it from good sources that she is the #1 Infiniti® salesperson in the nation; yes, the whole darn country, over 180 dealerships nationwide.
I did get one sales tidbit from Allison…her customers bought 166 Infiniti’s from her in just 7 months into 2007! You noticed I said “…customers bought…” versus “…she sold…” and that’s because Allison has worked very hard over the years to create a long-term relationship with her customers. Allison says, “Thirty percent of my customers either buy a second car from me or give me a referral who buys a car.” In light of this, I asked Allison to tell me a little about herself and how she started her career.
Not surprising, almost no one graduates from college and says, “I think I’ll make a career out of selling cars.” Neither did Allison, as she took a position at temporary receptionist at Rodger Meier Cadillac. “I did that for awhile and got a little bored. My GM asked me if I’d like to try selling cars. I looked around and saw the other salespeople smoking cigarettes and reading newspapers and thought it couldn’t be too hard! I started selling and a short time afterward was promoted to Sales Manager. Eight years later, I went back to selling cars when the Infiniti® was born and that’s where I am today—Sewell Infiniti, Dallas.” Allison has a husband and two children. When not working, she enjoys spending her free time with them no matter what they might be up to.
I asked Allison what it’s like being a woman in a notoriously male dominated industry and she said, “Women either make the decision or influence the car buying decision over 80% of the time, AND women prefer to buy from woman. I’m sure it stems from the fact that, for the most part, they are not treated the same as a guy who walks into the showroom.” Although she said she wouldn’t tell me her age, she dropped “18 years in the business” and an “8-year old son and a daughter who’s 3.” In doing the math, I think you’ll see that over the years she certainly has found out the secret to car selling success.
Allison says, “I believe that people need space to make a big decision like this, and they may not buy from me the first time in. But if I treat them professionally and not ‘count my dollars’ if they want an Infiniti®, it’ll come” back to me. I give them the space to do their research (and yes, I will ask them for their business), but I’m gracious about it and it’s clear that I’m there to make the experience a good one. Afterall, I want them to buy their next car from me, and I want them to tell others about the experience as well.”
After talking to Allison, and suggesting you consider calling her about your next Infiniti®, I think the reputation could be finally changing.
Danny Mayer has been the automobile business since 1969. It has been his entire career and remains his passion today. He has sat in the chair of virtually every executive position in the industry, from single point franchises to the largest publicly owed automobile corporations. He has proven time and time again that “…creative, at the edge thinking drives success…” That is probably why General Motors of Canada tapped Danny to assist them in developing and introducing a new Customer Satisfaction program for that nation’s dealers and why Nissan Corporation asked him to participate, as 1 of 3 dealers nationally, in developing the Internet process for all Infiniti dealers. He knows the automobile business…he knows the Internet…and he cares about customers. He can be reached at [email protected].
Additional articles may be viewed via Danny’s “Street Talk” main page.