Let’s face it: you can’t just walk into a shop these days and buy something. Ridiculous as this may sound, times have changed. Walk into any establishment that’s commission-based now and it won’t be long before someone is all up in your business asking you if you’re “alright there”. The fear of being approached like this is what keeps people out of those kinds of places. The truth is, with so much business now being done online, the face-to-face aspect of sales has had to up its game – with some rather shocking results.

A recent survey conducted by asked respondents to rate the qualities associated with four different job titles in three different ways: pushiness, knowledge of their job, and trustworthiness.

Across the board, a car dealer is seen as the most ‘pushy’ of the four job roles. It scores the higher number of votes in the “very pushy” and “pushy” categories, and the least votes in “slightly pushy” and “not at all”. In fact, only just over a quarter of respondents saw car dealers as “slightly” or “not at all” pushy – showing the overwhelming tide of opinion that car dealers need to ease off a little. The old stereotype may be what really influences these scores – although the highly competitive market in car sales as opposed to, for example, recruitment consultancy is highly likely to cause this friction too.

On the other hand, travel agents scored highest as “slightly” or “not at all” pushy. Their own stereotypes reflect in their scores too; with the cheery, smiley nature of the role playing a part.

In terms of industry knowledge, a car dealer fares much better than most others. More than seven in ten of those surveyed rate a car dealer as “knowledgeable” or “very knowledgeable” about the products they promote, while more than one in ten would say that both an estate agent and a recruitment consultant are “not at all knowledgeable” about theirs. When factoring in “slightly knowledgeable”, those figures increase to more than two in five! It could be the diversity and fluid nature of the products that they offer which makes them harder to keep tabs on, than for those selling holidays and cars.

When it comes to being a trustworthy salesperson, only 11.3% of travel agents can be considered “not at all”, while almost a third of car dealers and estate agents are voted as such. 6% of travel agents are considered “very trustworthy” – a full five percentage points more than recruitment consultants, and also most voted in the “trustworthy” category. Just over half of the respondents see car dealers as “slightly trustworthy” – quite a concession to make when considering how pushy they are regarded to be.

In the ever-changing world of customer service, surveys like these can have a positive effect on the way that business is conducted. 

Stephen Jury


September 27, 2012

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