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Find Out What R-E-S-P-E-C-T Means to Generation Y

Young man and old man arguing
Article Highlights:

  • Millennials deserve the same respect as any other customer.
  • "They told me I was lying about my information..."

Editors Note: This article was written by guest author Ellen Snyder, who was a summer intern in the Reynolds Marketing Communications department. 


The Millennial Generation grew up “Google-ing” every question they ever had. So why would their car buying process be any different?

The modern world is instant information. Yet, many dealerships still discount the extensive research most car buyers do before they even set foot on the lot. After speaking with one recent buyer about his vehicle purchasing experience, it seems clear that GenY is less than impressed with the current state of the process.  Here is Justin’s story:


Online Is Everything

“My experience started online. In fact, the whole process of improving my knowledge took about a year and a half. I didn’t think a salesperson would ever know more than what I would be able to learn from the Internet. Everything is online now. Most people, myself included, don’t show up at the dealership until we are ready to test drive.

The Shopping Process Is Constant

We are constantly shopping—we see a car on the road, an online ad, or our friends talk about the newest model, so our process is continuous. When it came to my experience, seeing the car at a car show is what made me fall in love with it.

After I decided what I wanted, the intense search began. I was looking for a very specific car, so the process seemed to take forever. About a year and a half later, I located three different stores that had the vehicle I wanted.

When I went to the first two dealerships, I just wanted to see what it was like to drive the car. I finally walked into the third dealership with the intent to buy.

The Old Approach Doesn’t Work

After eighteen months of doing research, I knew exactly what I wanted before I walked in the dealership. In fact, the only reason I walked into that dealership was because they had the exact vehicle I wanted. But when I arrived, the salesperson didn’t want to listen to me, he just wanted to talk and talk, and talk some more.

I had already done my research online, test driven a couple, and knew exactly what I wanted. At this point, I just wanted to sit in the car to confirm my choice. But the sales manager wouldn’t stop hounding me! For some reason, he thought it was okay to treat me like I was just some kid that didn’t know what I was talking about.

Every Customer Should Be Taken Seriously

When I went into the negotiating process, I explained to the sales manager that I had done extensive research. I knew they had the car priced about $3,000 above market value. They would not budge on the cost, and even worse, they told me I was lying about my information. I felt very disrespected so I left the dealership to look elsewhere.

About three months later, I saw the vehicle advertised for about $100 less than the price I had suggested initially. I hadn’t purchased anything yet so I ended up going back to that dealership and getting an even better deal than what I originally offered. Bad news for that dealership, they made less than what they would have if they had taken the first deal I offered. I will never return to that dealership for service or another purchase. The whole experience was terrible.


A customer should never feel disrespected or insulted. No matter what someone’s age, they are still making a major purchase that could be profitable for you in more ways than just the initial sale.

Because of the lack of respect Justin experienced, the dealership lost what could have been a lifelong customer.

Generation Y is ready to buy, is your dealership ready to sell?

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Director, Brand Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is Director of Marketing Communications for Reynolds and Reynolds. In her 10 years with Reynolds, she has managed the marketing strategy for several key Reynolds solutions and branding initiatives. Today, she leads the U.S. and Canadian marketing teams to drive brand awareness, product penetration, and content strategy for Reynolds and other key brands within the Reynolds Retail Management System.

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