Last month I began a new career as a car salesperson. This was completely unchartered territory for me. I never considered myself a “car girl”, nor had I ever thought of selling cars. But life’s interesting and sometimes we find ourselves doing things we never dreamed of.
I’m enjoying car sales. It’s remarkable how much I learn every day. It’s fascinating to see how things work on the other side of the desk.
My first observation was how fearful people are when they are buying a car. I think I’m a pretty friendly laid-back person. Outside of the car dealership, I don’t meet too many people who have their guard up around me. But here, it’s a different story. I have to work to put people at ease.
Fortunately, I enjoy getting to know people. I love to help people and I crave variety. This works well for me because no two people are the same and everyone needs a friend in the car business.
I was so nervous during my first week! My head was swarming with new information. I felt like I was in a fog and I felt completely insecure! The short story is that even if I wanted to (which of course I wouldn’t), I had no idea what I was doing. I could not have intimidated a customer if my life depended on it!
I immediately thought, “why are these people acting so afraid of me?” I knew I wasn’t doing anything to make them uncomfortable because I wasn’t even capable of that! Yet, I’ve seen it in nearly every customer. Fear, plain and simple.
We all live with some degree of fear. Many of our decisions are based on fear. We are trained from a very tender age to be afraid. Think of all the times we anxiously say to small children “No!” By the time we are teenagers, we are all too familiar with fear. We’re afraid of what people will think of us and we’re afraid of looking foolish. By adulthood, when we are on our own, there’s a whole new world of things we become fearful of. Two of our greatest fears are losing love and losing money.
At the car dealership, I haven’t found anyone yet who is afraid we will harm their love lives, but many are afraid they will lose money or look foolish. I’ve witnessed people looking very uncomfortable and guarding their information too tightly. What happens is that their fear prohibits us from helping them to the best of our ability. How, you ask? Well, if I don’t have all the information about their wants, needs and financial resources, it will take me much longer to match them up with the car they want at a price they can afford.
Every day I wake up and say to myself, “I wonder who I’ll get to help buy a car today.” Hopefully, each day I will also become better at easing customers’ fears and helping them make decisions they will be happy with for the next few years.