The goal of car shopping is not that you end up with a car at the end of the day, it’s that you end up with the best possible deal for that car. Too often people rush the process of buying a car and don’t take the time and effort to prepare for this expense. It’s not a question of whether you’ll be getting value for money, but more of whether you’ve done what you can do get the most value possible.
We’re going to mention a few things you should be doing before and during a car sale to make sure you get the most from buying at a car sale.
Know exactly what you want
Before you rock up to a dealership and pick something based on what you see, you need to have a detailed idea of what you want. Indecisive customers are a salesperson’s dream because they have the opportunity to sell the car they’ll get good commission off of.
But walking into a car dealership and letting them know exactly what you’re looking for will force them to leave half of their sales tactics behind. But be smart about it and give them two or three “options”. Otherwise, they might take you straight to the car you’re asking for, non-negotiable. Things you need to have decided on before you get to the dealership are:
- Make: There should be brands you definitely aren’t interested in and one or two top brands that you’re set on buying. This can be based on personal preference, experience or which car make has had the most success.
- Model: Make is one thing and car model is another. Just because you’re happy with a car brand doesn’t mean you should be keen on every model they’ve produced. Be ready to let the car dealer know which ones you’re interested in, right down to the year.
- Transmission and fuel type: When it comes to deciding on the transmission and fuel type, it’s better to be dead-set on an option. It’s one or the other. Manual or automatic. Petrol or diesel. This will force the car salesperson to filter out all the irrelevant vehicles and bring you one step closer to closing the deal.
Knowing what you want and asking for it will surprise most dealers. And when it comes to finalising the details, you may not be able to lower the price of the car anymore, but you can try and negotiate a few extras. Such as asking for a full tank of fuel for when you come to pick up the car.
Shop around, then do a walkout
It’s probably the most annoying thing that customers do to get a good deal, but the truth is that it tends to work and should, therefore, be practiced.
When it comes to buying a car, you need to go around and get quotes from different dealerships. Be invested in each visit and then do what’s called a walk out. Simply say something along the lines of “thank you for your time” or “you’ve given me a lot to consider, I’ll have to come back another day” and walk away. One of two things will happen, either the salesperson will come running after you with an even better offer or they’ll just let you walk away.
Regardless of which outcome occurs, you’ll have a figure to work with and compare to another dealership. You might mention the previous quote and be offered something even better at another place. When people work off commision, they try their luck at the start, but they also know that if they don’t make the sale, they’ll earn even less at the end of the month than if they just lowered the price a little bit more.
They’ll do almost anything to secure a sale and you should only agree to take things further if you’re comfortable with the salesperson, trust the dealership and are in love with the car on offer. You don’t have to feel bad for wasting their time if you really aren’t 100% certain about a car sale. It’s a big investment for you where a lot of time and money have gone into the process.
Don’t be caught off guard by car dealer-jargon
If this is your first car sales experience, you need to brush up on dealership terminology. It will help you keep your poker face throughout the deal and that confidence should loosen a car dealer up for further negotiations.
There are a few terms you can expect to hear, so make sure you understand them and ask about them. For example, you may not know what they’re referring to when they talk about the appearance and protection packages. But it’s important to know because there are potential extra costs involved there.
The appearance package can include things like carpets and mudguards and the protection packages include paint sealant and fabric protector, all for an appealing sale. The problem is that these packages won’t necessarily be included in the total price of the car, but you’ll want to finalise that before you go ahead with the sale.
Throughout the sales process, you’ll want to ask for an updated buyers order (as new things are agreed upon). A buyers order isn’t the final contract but rather the agreed upon price and extras that have been offered. It’s good to keep tabs on what’s been said to ensure you keep the deals in the final offer.