Honda Element Owners Club banner

How much new model training do salesmen receive?

1580 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  pickupstix
Just out of curiousity, I'd like to know how much of a briefing most salesmen get on new model vehicles. I know that at 3 local dealerships, finding a salesman that actually knows very much about Elements is very difficult. It seems to me that if I was making a living selling vehicles, and something new came along, I'd sure want to make sure that I knew as much as possible about it, so I could intelligently answer customer's questions. Yet, finding intelligent answers to standard questions regarding the E is pretty difficult around here. Any dealers and salesmen out there who want to honestly answer how much training you've gotten on the Element?


Here are some of my favorite salesman bloopers:
1. "It's made so you can just use a water hose to wash out the interior."
2. "The sunroof cover isn't included in the cost of the EX. It's an extra cost item."
3. "No, the audio receiver won't work with a mini-disc player. It's just the radio and the CD."
4. "The speakers are waterproof."
5. "No, there are no aftermarket accessories for this model. It's too new."
6. "It'll take 6-8 weeks to get in a special order for you."
7. "We can't get that color, at this time." (Found one, not 30minutes away at another dealership.)
8. "Pinstriping comes on all Honda Elements." (me: "Does it cost extra?") "Yes, but it's only $15, so don't worry about that." (me: "So why do you have it listed on the sticker as costing $69?" Grrrr.)
9. "The plastic that Honda uses is scratchproof and dentproof."

My favorite, was watching in amusement as a salesman attempted, evidently for the first time ever, to fold the seat up to the side. Evidently, nobody had told him about the little caribineer in the side pouch. After letting him make an idiot of himself by telling me that the seat was made to simply latch up, but he couldn't find the latch, I showed him how it's supposed to work. I also showed him about taking off the headrests so the lid closes and turns off the hatch open indicator.
See less See more
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
I will use our dealership as an example: Every one of our new car salespeople is sent a factory "ride and drive" when the new models come out. The training is professional and prepares our salespeople for the majority of the questions that they might be asked. It also provides them with a chance to drive all of our competitors vehicles and see in a real world test, how our vehicles stack up against the competition.

Our dealership also has a "walk-around" demo each Saturday morning, where one salesperson demonstrates a vehicle (just like he/she would with a customer) and is observed by his/her peers.

Honda is very strict about testing our salespeople and they must all pass testing on each model to remain up to date with Honda certification. The testing is pretty comprehensive, but the enthusiasm of each individual salesperson is the biggest difference. Take a guy like Will as an example. How many salespeople will load up 3-4 of their friends in order to safety test a new Element? Fortunately, most of our salespeople are very excited about the Element and want to learn more and be able to field all the proper questions.

As for the time frame required to acquire a specific color, model, etc: That varies greatly on how aggressive the dealership is when it comes to acquiring one from another dealer or special circumstances. I am the one that order's all of our Honda's and I just recently found out that the time of delivery from build date to our dealership is much less than I originally thought. Granted, I only recently took on this position, but I could certainly have given out bad information to a salesperson before on when a customers vehicle would arrive. We also do our very best to sell what we have in stock. I won't get into the specific reasons for that right now (save that for another thread) but usually that is the case when a salesperson tells you that you "can't" get something.

Honda definitely does not recommend "hosing off" the interior of your vehicle and our salespeople have been informed of such by our Honda reps. Our Honda parts reps also pay us a monthly visit to explain parts/accessories and availability, etc.

Finally, no matter how much training, preparation and any other steps we use with our salepeople, there are still great salespeople, average ones, and even poor ones. Don't be discouraged by this. Many salespeople make the mistake of thinking the Honda's "sell themselves". Especially when poor salespeople can get by, knowing the minimum, and still be quite succesful. If I was betting, I would say a guy like Will, would be found at the top of the board every month (top salesperson). He puts in the extra effort, at least it seems to me.

Good luck and I hope this helps.
See less See more
10. They aren't planning on making any more in that color.
11. Your car will arrive on ../../.. followed by a call near that date, saying that that particular car you were promised won't be coming in and by the way...(see #10).
12. There won't be any manuals available until May.

Plus our salesman, when he tried to start the car in the morning begfore we picked it up, couldn't get it to start and went to get a service person to jump start it. Service person had him try to start it, and noticed that he wasn't pushing in the clutch!! Although I will admit we were told about this, so they were honest. In his defense, he had only been there a few weeks and he did get us the element we wanted in the color we wanted.
Supamann: Excellent post. The way we phrase it where I work is that there is a "top 10%" and a "bottom 10%" in the workforce. Getting a TT salesman is rare, but oh so nice when it happens (shameless plug for James Parker of Eagle Honda on Lemmon Ave in Dallas TX).

The salesman I bought the E from at David McDavid in Irving TX ranked in the great amorphous middle section. He was competent, somewhat aware of the E's features and funtions, and didn't jerk me around at all or offer offhand stupid comments.

The handoff to the "accessories" team was where I found the "bottom 10%" at McDavid. The lady knew ONLY what she could read from the printed forms. She had no clue as to the actual differences between the Honda remote keyless and the Viper - what she said "The two systems are identical except that the Viper system is an alarm - they even have the same keychain remote." Obviously not right.

I would certainly have preferred to have worked through the entire sale process with just my salesman, as by the time I was through with the accessories lady I was questioning my decision to buy from McDavid.
See less See more
Mark, thanks for the compliment. Your experience with the parts/service side of the business unfortunately happens all too often. I have seen 100% happy customers become very unhappy in a quick manner due to service depts dropping the ball. I feel fortunate to have the service staff that I do, but even they sometimes put our sales dept in a less than comfortable situation. The service guys certainly get a great deal less training than our sales dept when it comes to new models and again it goes back to enthusiasm and professionalism. With our Honda parts/service reps now making weekly appearances, there should be no excuse for not being able to provide the correct, informative answers, now though.
Well, its been over a decade since purchasing a vehicle and though I thought the dealer was an OK one, things are falling in line which definately support my theory of this one being very inept. Sure it was a large dealership with 14 elements on the lot. We just happend to stop in this one due to one of our animals having surgery at the best facility in the state. Needless to say, though we did end up purchasing, this was a "three stooges" operation. First off, to add to the list of things the salesman didn't know, he told us that the rear seats could not be taken out. I looked inside and asked "well, what does that mean where it says to remove the back seats do ... behind the plastic "hinge" area?
We waited almost 3 hours at the dealership due to lack of communication. We had been approved with flying colors but the finance person "didn't know that we were purchasing a vehicle". So we place the order, pick up the vehicle 4 days later and we get a phone call for a survey for the dealership. We were honest and actually gave the benefit of doubt for a couple of things but after the survey, we get a call from the salesman who sold us the car bitching about how he's never gotten such a bad review etc etc. and he hangs up on my fiancee. Well we then make a call to the dealership owner who says he'll take care of things. Well if he does or not, I'd stay away from this dealership! BTW, I just found out that they rigged my bike rack with bolts instead of using the plastic "click" handles to hold the bike rack to the rack on the roof. Just made a call to the dealership and of course no call back yet. If anyone wants the name of the dealership, please email me and I will provide you the name. It is in Virginia just to let you guys know. Sorry about the long post but I love the car but the dealership really needs to improve things.
See less See more
I'm just sure that it wasn't in my corner of Virginia, if you had that much of a selection! (I'm in Blacksburg.)

Sorry you had such a bad experience!
there are 4 dealers within 30 mins of my home and I have been to all 4 several times. Each time I was in contact with any of them, either in person, phone, via email I knew more than they did about the vehicle. The only upper hand they had was when it would be coming to their dealership. It didn't take me very long to do the research to BUY it, AND i can tell you about most of the other models Hondas sell as well. WHy can't the dealerships train their sales people to be a little more knowledgeable?
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.