Your Thoughts : A Slightly Surreal Salesman

Well… here we go with yet another one. This one involves a most peculiar kind of salesman!

Mark Gomer of Wrexham in Clywd explains…

When Mark had a nasty discovery during an inspection, he felt it was time to buy something newer... Then the wheels fell off!
When Mark had a nasty discovery during an inspection, he felt it was time to buy something newer… Then the wheels fell off down at the dealers.

I’m not normally the kind of person who will walk in to a dealer showroom, sit down, discuss options or even drink with and indeed sell my soul to the devil for a few years. Unfortunately, we all sometimes show our flaws and get drawn in by the shiny shiny.

A few months ago, my girlfriend and I were doing prep work on my Discovery, as we had a 2 week overlanding trip to the Pyrenees planned for September. This didn’t go quite as planned due to finding some very serious and structural rot. We quickly decided and realised that this vehicle just wasn’t going to be up to scratch, so before we got into some serious monetary commitments for the trip, we decided it was best to leave it until next year.

The Discovery was dumped on my parents driveway and I continued using my BMW 325Ci as my daily, as intended. Until that broke too. The very same day in fact.

In a fit of multi broken vehicle rage, I decided to hit the classifieds. I came across an ’09 Mitsubishi L200 Raging Bull edition from a local dealer. It had leather, A/C, the rear compartment snug top, FMSH and sub 100k miles. It looked perfect. I’ve been in and around 4WD Mitsubishis on and off through the years, so I’ve a fair idea what to expect. To me, I’d have a nice, decent daily AND the Pyrenees trip was back on the agenda again. It was all win-win.

I got there to look at the car, and all was good and happy in viewing it. Still ideal, still very happy. Until the salesman came along, for now, we shall call him “The Lord”.

He reeled off the normal, friendly sales patter as they do, this is fine, I’m well aware of what it has and what it’s specced with. However I would like a test drive. This will be your clincher to me saying yes or no. Right now. He currently has a weak victim in his sights, surely he’ll let me go out in it. I even said to him, I won’t make a decision until I’ve driven it.

So what happens next? Glorious test drive off into the sunset, beaming like a Cheshire Cat? Nope, lets go in to the office and discuss payment plans and how we want to fund it. Not really what I wanted to hear, but lets see what he has to offer money wise. There’s part ex and finance happening here as well, so it needs sorting out and putting on the table. I reluctantly agree.

In between informing me that he is a Lord he starts to delve into his personal life, to me, this is starting to get slightly strange now. He pulls out a huge envelope containing old photos of previous cars and boats he’s owned. A little odd, but I’m a petrolhead and he’s showing pictures of BMW M3’s, TWR Jag’s, Range Rover Classics and the like, so we’ll go with this, for now.

Some rough sums get done in between all this, and I firmly state I only want a finance deal over 3 years. Straight away he’s doing sums for a 5 year plan, he finishes this and also a 4 year plan too. After around another 20 minutes, he finally does the 3 year for me. This comes to roughly £301p/m all in. Steep, but thats the nature of the beast. He follows this up with “if you can stretch to £330p/m you could have a brand new one”. Sorry, but I’m quick on the ball to realise that this is over those 5 bloody years again. I’m not falling for that one.

The conversation suddenly dives wildly off topic again culminating in showing me pictures of his daughter on Twitter, this is getting really strange now and to be honest, I’m really not sure where to look. He then tries to push for a deposit to secure the car and that I can come for a test drive over the weekend if I do so. After stating that I’m on 12 hour nights, this won’t be an option, so the test drive of a car I want to buy is now 4 days away, rather than 20 feet. Haven’t we gone backwards now? “The Lord” proudly states that he’s now trying to snipe a buyer for the same car off a work colleague, as he’s trying to hit his targets for the month. What follows next is utterly astounding.

Being so proud of his sales, he proceeds to show me how many cars he has sold throughout the last few months. This spreadsheet has the buyers names, addresses, vehicle registrations and what they paid for the car. Now I’m starting to back pedal faster than a cartoon Coyote running off a cliff about the whole thing and I’m ready to up and leave.

“But wait, there’s more!” The Lord’s final trick is something to behold. “Here are some others I’ve sold that are pending being put on the system.” He pulls a large folder of his latest sale from underneath his desk. A brand new, top spec Shogun, coming just shy of £44,000. For the next part, I shall quote him, not myself. “He’s a locally well known traveller type with plenty of money. Here’s all the genuine transactions for the first payments.” Sure enough there they all are. A €13,000 deposit paid by bank transfer from a bank in Rome, with ALL its details there for all to see.

After 2 hours, I’d seen more than enough and had nothing to show for it. I’d lost interest, lost all faith in customer confidentiality, lost all trust and lost the will to live.


Clearly, the salesman in question has not been in the job all that long. I can tell he has had the saying “people only buy from people” drummed into his head during his early days.

Its a classic tactic when you as a dealer feel the barriers are coming up again or when an objection is incoming. MY own take was to get all the wife / family / holiday patter out of the way at the start of the process and simply deal with objections head on by saying “if we can do it at this can we progress forward”

I wouldn’t mind a fiver for every time I’ve seen a a salesman simply fail to ask for the business or to ask what’s stopping it. Small talk is okay but customers are NOT interested in the dealer but often swoon when the dealer is interested in them… but the above??? that’s just plain creepy. Not only creepy but also making a mockery of customer confidentiality.

If the punter wants figures for a 3 year stretch, I would offer 2 /3 /4 and go through each one in a regimented orderly and clear breakdown.

Give `em what they want and invariably…. you’ll both have a handshake – simples!

But as for the man in question, I would have been tempted to complain to the manufacturer and the FSC.

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