As an avid social media user and an automotive industry professional, there is something that’s been bugging me.
I see people on social media bragging about that “12-pounder” they just closed (for those not in the industry, a ‘”pound” is equal to $1,000). To me, this really screams “unprofessional” and I also see it as detrimental to the reputation of the person posting it, the dealership represented by that person as well as further contributing to the stereotype car dealers have been struggling to change.
Look, as a salesperson, commissions are how your living is made, I get that. As a dealership, profit is how you pay your non-commissioned employees and overhead, I get that as well. It’s always nice to make money. I also believe that a salesperson and a dealership SHOULD make money. The salesperson is not there to work for free and all dealerships need to make money to keep the doors open. I also believe that most customers understand that a dealership needs to make money to stay open and don’t have a problem allowing the dealership to make some.
What I have an issue with is people who brag about the insane and, some would say, inappropriate amount of profit they managed to negotiate out of a customer. You made a big sale, good for you. Don’t go and brag about it on Facebook. Don’t tweet about it.
Social networks are designed to interact with people. You never know who is listening. Do you really believe that the person in your social network that sees you bragging about these huge deals wants to buy a car from you?
I’m not talking about some high-priced or hard-to-get car. I’m talking about the Honda salesperson (as an example) who is bragging about making $12,000 profit from a single sale. Really? Great, you made money but to many consumers (including your friends and family) what you did was reinforce for them that they shouldn’t buy a car from you or your dealership.
I know many dealerships who have internal policies on how much profit a finance department is allowed to make by limiting rate markup and pricing on back-end products and I believe that is a wise (and honorable) practice. Front-end profit is restricted, for the most part, by the banks. In most cases, they’re not going to let the customer finance $20,000 over sticker regardless of whether they agree to or not.
I personally think that, while the “big fish” you catch may offer immediate gratification, they will hurt you in the long run. Do you really believe that the customer you just buried isn’t going to figure that out eventually? Do you think that person is going to tell their friends and family that they should buy a car from you?
Then to actually go on social networks and brag about it? That’s just insane. You might as well brag about how much money you scored when you mugged the old people in the alley because, excluding other like-minded auto people, that’s what you just did.
How would you feel if you signed a contract with a vendor for services and discovered a month or two later that you were paying three times the rate that other people were? What if that vendor then went on Facebook and bragged about it? My guess is that you wouldn’t be happy with them or their company.
Look, this is only my personal opinion. You don’t have to agree with me and you’re entitled to sell your vehicles for as much (or as little) as you choose to. That being said, I do think that it is important to give ALL your customers a fair deal and, should you choose to make a huge profit from a single customer, you shouldn’t brag about it on social networks.
If you feel different, please comment and let me know why.