Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Death Of the Sleazy Salesman

For centuries, salesmen earned a reputation for being pushy, deceitful, slimey and manipulative. Today, the sleazy seller is on the brink of extinction.

What changed?

Well, not the image of the sales ‘man.’

When it comes to sales, the majority still pictures a man wearing a cheap suit peddling junkers in a car lot. Who is anything but truthful.

Where does the idea come from that all sellers are two-timers?

Lack of information.

Let’s return to the car salesman.

Cars obviously come in two kinds: good and bad.

Historically, only the seller knew the quality of the vehicle.

And the buyer had to trust his word.

In short, one side knew all the facts. And the other only knew what she was told.

Which raised all sorts of questions.

“What’s the seller hiding?”
“Is the price fair?”
“Am I being conned?”

Thankfully, warranties and laws protected the buyer from deception.

But it was too late. The asymmetry of information did its damage: salesmen were not to be trusted.

Today, consumers have more information than ever. 

You can compare prices online. Read customer reviews of the seller. Visit forums to figure out the specs of the car. Heck, you can even go to dealership and photograph the vehicle identification number and see if the auto was in any accidents.

And yet we still see salesman as con artists.

Even if you do get duped into buying a jalopy, you’re far from helpless.

You can tell your Facebook friends, your Instagram followers, and your podcast listeners to crucify your wrongdoer.

Which makes it close to impossible for the seller to trick you. Unless he’s prepared to hide in Mexico.

So the idea that salesman are slick is not of this time.

Now, the tables have turned.

Buyers have as much information as the seller, plus the ability to speak up.

It’s not you who has to be careful—but the seller. 

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach