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How NOT to Sell to Gen Y

Article Highlights:

  • Ashley Potts tells the unpleasant story of her recent vehicle purchase.
  • "I avoid answering my phone when they call."

I recently bought my first “real” car. You know, the one you buy after you’ve finished your college degree and gotten settled into your first “real” job… That’s pretty exciting for a 23-year old.

Like any Gen Y’er, I assumed I could handle the sales process, but I was thrown off guard almost immediately. Everything I’ve come to expect in the buying process: engagement, transparency, and efficiency, was missing almost 100%. I don’t regret buying the car, but I do regret buying it from that dealership!

I want to tell you about the customer experience, or lack thereof, I had when I bought my car so you can avoid making these mistakes with your customers.

Here are five things NOT to do when selling to Gen Y:

1. Don’t Withhold Information

When the salesperson brought over the four square sheet, he didn’t have my trade-in value or interest rate written down. I asked what they were since that’s usually a negotiating area; I wanted to make sure I was getting a fair trade.

These were his exact words: “Don’t worry about the interest rate; everybody gets a good interest rate these days.” For my trade-in he said, “Oh, I don’t ask for that information. The manager works it out for you; I just show you the payment.”

I almost got up and left at that point, but I really wanted the car. Nobody else had one like it, so I stayed.

2. Don’t Use Pressure Tactics  

After haggling back and forth he finally said, “If I can get you to this payment, will you sign today?” I didn’t want to sign that day, I just wanted to test drive it and see if I could afford it.

The salesperson was adamant that if I didn’t buy the car right then and there, it would be gone tomorrow. I felt pressured and way out of my element at this point… I just wanted time to think and process this major buying decision.

3. Don’t Leave Them Hanging On Promises

They “sold” me the car and let me drive it home that night without signing any paperwork or telling me what my final payment would be. I had to come back the next day to finish up.

Of course they promised I’d be at my desired payment level, but I didn’t believe them. I expected to come in the next day and find out my credit didn’t get approved or the payment was way too high. I was a nervous wreck that night and the next day worrying.

4. Don’t Withhold Information… A Second Time

The next day I came back to the F&I office to fill out the paperwork. Again, I asked what my payment was, and they wouldn’t give me a straight answer. He just said, “It’s under what you wanted.”

At that point, I’d had enough and demanded to know what I would be paying. A customer shouldn’t have to demand to know her payment.

5. Don’t Mess Up the Paperwork

Two days later, I had to go back into the F&I office to sign a form that wasn’t filled out correctly the first time. I was sick of that place and avoided the salesperson like he was the plague.

Conclusion:

Okay, so I did get a great car and paid the price I wanted to pay. BUT I felt tricked, betrayed, and annoyed by the entire process. I even felt foolish because I let myself put up with it. I love my car and wouldn’t trade it for anything but I will NEVER go back to that dealership.

I avoid answering my phone when they call, and when people ask about my experience, this story is what they hear. The customer experience is everything to Generation Y. They are your new customer; make sure you put their experience first!

This article is part of a new series featuring Generation Y customers and their experiences when buying cars. To learn more about how Reynolds is changing the automotive retailing experience, please click here.

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Marketing Communications, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is a Marketing Communications Specialist for Reynolds and Reynolds. She received her degree from Wright State University in December of 2012 and joined the Reynolds and Reynolds team shortly after in January.