How sexist is your sales team?

  29 July 2013

Rupert SaundersI know it’s slightly unusual but I’d like to address this blog to Adrian who works the sales showroom at Evans Halshaw in Milton Keynes. The rest of you can go do something else – or maybe read on if you feel there’s a wider lesson here.

Adrian, I guess you weren’t expecting this but I hope you remember my friend Lucy and her husband who came in last Saturday to buy a Fiesta. Of course, you didn’t know she was a friend of mine at the time. As with many couples, times are tight but Lucy has a good job and has saved hard. I can’t tell you how excited (and maybe nervous) she was about buying her first ‘proper’ car.

So, it probably wasn’t a great start that you addressed most of your qualifying questions to her husband even though it was clear that Lucy was the customer. Sadly, you weren’t the only salesman to do that – so they let you get away with it.

Naturally, you made the finance pitch (low monthly payments, benefits of PCP etc) but, as Lucy explained, she’s saved hard and really would have preferred to pay cash.

At which point you turned to her husband and said something along the lines of: ‘I wish my wife would save the money I give her each month, like yours has’.
Adrian, you’ll know by now that you lost the sale and they bought elsewhere. That doesn’t really bother me to be honest (though your manager might want to think about some retraining for you).

What truly upsets me is that you reinforced all the old stereotypes of our industry, which I (naively?) hoped had long gone. And you seriously p*ssed-off a hard-working couple just setting out on their car owning journey.

Lucy cried on the way home from your dealership. You might take that as a sign of feminine weakness. Personally, I think she was in shock after being so shabbily treated by an industry that should know better.

Rupert Saunders

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