Ya I figured that would catch people off guard. I’ve been a salesperson now for about 10 years in Houston. Love the city and the culture, made a pretty good career out of it too. I’ve sold cars and motorcycles for a living.
One thing I will readily acknowledge is I’m a bit racist. Now I don’t mean that in a “White supremacist” or “KKK” kind of way. I mean that over time you tend to recognize certain patterns of people and how to best sell to them or to simply cut your losses because there is no way in hell a sell can be had.
If you think I’m a jerk now…..you’ve never been in sales. I can promise you that most who are in commission sales do have “to a degree” a bit of racist thinking. Ask a car salesman how he feels when 4-5 Indian customers come in to the show room floor with the last name “Patel” and all are in support of one family member buying a vehicle. Guaranteed the salesman reading this now is laughing his butt off because he knows exactly what I mean. The Indian will ask for everything to be at cost, point fingers in your face and say that you are not giving a good deal. You will waste hours with him and stay till damn near midnight if only in the hopes of getting that guy to commit.
Asian people tend to be very similar, they act much more polite till you get to the commitment in the sale. If things don’t work out 9/10 the asian customer will always try to have the last word and save face, they feel the need to show how right they are and how wrong you were in not taking care of them exactly as they saw it.
Latino families usually come in droves as well, similarly they argue on the price….while pretending to know very little english until its time to commit to the sale. The man of the house will push on the numbers, not for the sake of savings but to show how macho he is that he forced the salesman down on prices. At least with these folks you shake hands and you can remain friends and he’ll probably send you his business again.
Black families are more interesting, specifically the men. They prefer keeping all their cards close to the chest as if someone couldn’t read them from a mile away. Guy gets out of his Escalade that he’ll later pretend to tell me he got at 0%APR with a 480 credit score that plummeted when he stopped paying child support. He’ll haggle over the price, not because he can’t afford it but because he is trying to squeeze his monthly payments in with his past due bills…..am I saying this is most people…no, but it is definitely a decent amount of this community…..
The black man will ask me to show all the numbers before we run his credit, again not for the sake of the bottom dollar but because in his head he thinks he knows better when using the calculator to divide the amount into monthly payments. Him and I will argue about this later 🙂
The white person isn’t that much better. We tend to hold our cards as well, but its because we think we’ve been screwed too many times and vow that it will never happen again. We think driving up in that supper clean Honda Accord or Chevy truck that we just washed an hour before….will suddenly increase the value of the trade in. Before we came in we did all the freakin research that google could spit at us and then ask our salesperson the same questions only to correct them in mid discussion because we feel we know better and will try to use it against the sales person later.
We don’t trust black people because we think they won’t be honest, we won’t trust indians because we know they aren’t honest, we will usually work with latino and white people cause we think they really understand what “hard work” means and earning your own money.
Truth is, I think we are all racist to a degree as humans. As a sales person I know I am because life has taught me all to often the usual ways of dealing with any particular people group. Does that bother me, not necessarily. It means I’ve learned how to tackle each issue that comes up and I know how to correctly sell to the black, indian, latino, asian or white man.