How To Sell A Car

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be car salesmen.

Okay, that’s not how the original song lyrics went.  But that’s what I thought of while listening to a podcast from National Public Radio’s This American Life.  This episode is entitled “129 Cars” and originally aired December 13, 2013; it was recently rebroadcast.

“We spend a month at a Jeep dealership on Long Island as they try to make their monthly sales goal: 129 cars. If they make it, they’ll get a huge bonus from the manufacturer, possibly as high as $85,000 — enough to put them in the black for the month. If they don’t make it, it’ll be the second month in a row. So they pull out all the stops.”

This story provides a real insight into the car-selling business, and may give you some negotiating pointers for your next purchase.  It also makes a strong case for why this isn’t a good career choice for anyone but a born salesperson.  After listening, you might even feel some empathy for the dealership staff.  Their business has become especially stressful since consumers now have access to so much information on the internet.

Did they make their sales goal?  Well… if this were fiction, you’d think the ending was too contrived to ever be possible.  You can hear the podcast at  The photo came from that website.

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