I recently bought a new car. When I entered the car dealership I told the salesman, “I’ve been to one showroom and left. You’re the second dealer I’m considering, and I don’t want to have to see a third. Let’s talk about your cars.”
I was able to use my skills as a sales professional to help me make the best purchase when I was buying my new car. Here are a few selling skills that you should consider when you are thinking about buying your next set of wheels.
I often counsel my clients about the importance of sales preparation. Before entering a sales call, you should know all about your prospects’ industry, the prospects’ company, your own products, and even the prospects themselves. A lot of that work can be done using the internet and being generally knowledgeable about your business and your customers. So now when buying a car, what sort of preparation will you need?
You need to know exactly what features you want on your car. Test drive the car; read everything you can on the internet about features and performance. The best time to negotiate a price is when you’ve given the dealer everything to consider to lower the price. Dealers have the most flexibility when they know all they have to work with since they may be able to be flexible on pricing for one option over another. You will have less room for negotiation if you suddenly decide you want another feature. And certainly after you say you are buying the car is when you have the least powerful negotiating position.
As a salesperson, you know how much your product costs and how much you can discount it and still make money. After all, giving products away and making nothing serves no purpose.
And just as you know your numbers as a seller, you must know your numbers as a buyer. The web is a great tool to investigate prices and see the price at which other dealers are selling the car you want. Don’t limit yourself to your local area, either. The data points you can get from other areas will help you negotiate.
I found a dealer in a state 1,500 miles from me who was selling car warranties. The extended warranty was something I wanted to include in my purchase price, and the local dealer’s price was $1,500 over the remote dealer’s price. I told the salesperson, “We’re too far apart. I’ll have to go with the other dealer’s warranty.”
What the salesperson ended up doing was offering other services, like free synthetic oil changes, and lowering the price on other features I wanted which brought the purchase price closer to other dealer’s price. But you can’t get lower prices when you don’t know your numbers.
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You’ve probably seen the infomercials on television where the announcer tells you about the product and then quotes the price. Then he says, “But wait . . . there’s more!” That extra “more” is designed to get you to buy because the offer is too good to resist. There’s a reverse principal that I use when I’m buying a car.
When I’m ready to buy at the price we agree to, I ask for one more item. Why not? At that point the dealer wants to close the deal. The dealer knows the price he’s going to get. I don’t ask for something big, but something that I know he can easily offer. I got one more synthetic oil change. I figure that’s worth about $50 or more.
Don’t ever think that a car salesperson’s deal is only good for the time you’re at the showroom. I will never buy anything under pressure, and I resent a salesperson who uses that tactic to coerce me into buying anything. I have walked out of a showroom; I did this most recently when the salesperson told me his offer was only good that night. That didn’t stop the salesperson from continuing to pursue me and the sale. Do not allow yourself into being pressured to buy.
Buying a car for many people is a stressful experience. I imagine it can be when you go in unprepared and let the salesperson dictate the terms. As a sales professional, negotiating should be something you enjoy doing and are good at. I love buying a car. With your new buying skills, I hope you do too!