Ask Harley

Why do car salesmen have such bad reputations?

Cars are expensive, hard to understand, and are advertised relentlessly as important accessories to your lifestyle. Thrust the emotion and confusion of buying such an item into an environment in which almost anything goes, and you will end up with a situation in which the salesman will do anything he can to close the deal now.

It is interesting to compare car salesmen with real estate agents. They both work on commission and they both sell confusing, expensive products that are emotionally important to their customers and usually require financing.

However, real estate agents undergo extensive training and education, and are required to have a license. Moreover, their job is a more permanent one, with higher pay and more prestige.

In general, car salesmen do not need to have a license or any special education. Such training as they receive is usually provided by the dealership and involves learning how to take advantage of their customers. Moreover, the industry as a whole has high turnover: the average car salesman lasts only three to four months.