Jan 072022

I said last week that I would share a few stories from my days selling new and used cars in Tucson, Arizona years ago. As with any industry, the first thing I had to do was learn the lingo, the special language that is unique to the automotive sales business. So today we’ll just start with a language lesson, which will come in handy in some of the future stories I have to tell you.

Up – There are two kinds of ups in the sales business. The salespeople on-duty work on a rotating basis, taking the next customer who shows up on the lot. So the salesperson who is the next one to approach a customer who comes onto the lot is “up.” At the same time, that customer is also the “up.” So if the salespeople aren’t paying attention and a potential buyer is spotted on the lot, the sales manager might ask, “who’s up?” or say, “there’s an up out there.”

Laydown (also known as a rollover) – All salespeople love a laydown, a customer who simply nods his head and purchases a vehicle at the list price or even more with little or no negotiation.

Tire Kicker (also known as a stroker) – Just as salespeople love a laydown, they hate wasting time with tire kickers, shoppers who seem to be interested in a purchase, ask a hundred questions, and want to take test drives, but are just wasting time and have no intention of buying.

Be-back – Every salesperson has had their share of be-backs, customers who take up their time and say they’ll come back to purchase but never do. Salespeople say that if and when the be-back bus ever shows up, it will be a wonderful, prosperous day.

Roach – A shopper who really wants to buy a car but has terrible credit, often no job or a low-paying one, and unrealistic expectations.

Get Me Done – Not the same as a roach, this kind of customer may be upside down in their trade-in, have just moved to the area and have a short time on the job, or just gone through a divorce, making it difficult, but not always impossible to get them financed.

Solid Gold – A customer with excellent credit, equity in their trade-in, and a down payment is considered solid gold. They are often few and far between.

Sugar Daddy – A person with good credit who co-signs a car loan or buys the vehicle in their name (a straw purchase) because the intended buyer cannot get financed.

Third Baseman – A friend who comes along with a buyer to help them find a car and negotiate or advise them on the deal.

Turn – When a salesman can’t close a deal or needs help getting the best price on a unit, he will often say he needs to leave for a family issue or doctor appointment and “turn” the customer over to a closer, sometimes saying he or she is an assistant manager who will “treat them right.” In reality, this person is often a more experienced salesperson who specializes in getting customers to agree to buy. There are also times when a customer and salesperson just cannot connect for whatever reason, so the salesperson will “turn” them to another salesperson, and they split the commission if a sale is made.

Home Run – A sale at full price with a hefty down payment and a valuable trade-in that makes the dealership a good profit and the salesman a nice commission.

F&I – The finance and insurance department is the final step in a car purchase. It is here that the paperwork is handled, financing arranged, and expensive back-end products such as extended warranties and add-ons are sold. Quite often, the dealership makes more profit in the F&I office than on the sale of the vehicle itself.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is a copy of the new hardcover edition of the RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day – Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

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