Dealing with car sales people

Buy the best car ⇦ Car Sales ⇨ Car Dealers Tactics

Car Sales People

Car sales people are very strange creatures! Those working in larger dealers tend to be excessively friendly and seem to want to bend over backwards to help you whereas in smaller dealers you sometimes get treated with indifference, bordering on contempt! This is mainly due to the way they have been trained (or haven’t been trained). A sales person working for a large dealer is representing a company and has usually been trained to work in a certain way (they have to be respectful!) whereas one-man-band dealers can behave in any way they want.

The one thing they all have in common is that they want you to buy a car from them and they want to extract as much money from you as they can! They are just using different tactics.

Dealers’ Tactics

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It’s all about control. The minute you walk onto the forecourt, a car sales person will spot you and move in. They will want to “take control” of you straight away… They will probably shake your hand… and they do this in a particular way! They will offer their hand to you, palm down, with the back of their hand facing upwards. This forces you to shake hands with your hand below theirs. This is a well known technique (not just in car sales) that is designed to make them dominant! Most people dislike car sales people and would have no hesitation in messing them around. Being forced to shake hands with your hand below theirs is a subtle way of telling you that this person is important, should be respected and that they are in control.

They will usually ask your name, what car you are interested in and whether you have a car to part exchange. Many also ask at this early stage, how much you want to spend – either in total or in terms of monthly payments – you have to be careful what you say here, but we have already discussed this in the previous section.

By getting you to answer their questions like this, they are beginning to get you to “open up”, to get involved, and to begin a “relationship” with the sales person. Plus, THEY are the ones taking the initiative, asking the questions – and you? – you are answering THEIR questions… not the other way around. They have started to take control of you already.

Imagine things the other way around (ie. if they didn’t try to take control in this way): -

You go into a dealer’s and ask if they have got a particular car. If they answer “No” you might walk away. If they answer “Yes” you will probably ask to see it. The sales person would then take you over to the car and you would start looking at it. All the sales person could then do is stand there like some sort of servant while you looked in and around the car. They could try asking you questions at this point but you would be too busy looking at the car to pay much attention. If the price wasn’t displayed, you would then ask how much it was. They might not want to tell you that until they knew whether, and what, part exchange you had and how much you wanted for it. (Some dealers set the price of their car differently for each potential buyer, particularly if they have unrealistic expectations of what they can get for their part exchange!)

You might then decide that you didn’t like the car – in which case you might walk or ask to see something else. Alternatively you might ask for a test drive and all the sales person could do is go and get the keys and arrange for you to drive the car. Soon you will ask how much they would give you for your part exchange etc etc.

In any event, you are in control and have THEM running around after YOU and they haven’t been able to get any information from you to be able to plan how they are going to deal with you. From their point of view, this is a really bad start to dealing with a potential buyer!

Incidentally, this is possibly one of the reasons why you sometimes get treated with indifference by smaller car dealers: they don’t want you to take control so they appear slightly less than helpful until they find out the information they need (about you, your part exchange and your expectations) to be able to handle you.

So, THEY will want to take control of YOU and get the information they need from you whilst at the same time keeping you there (and happy!) so that they can decide how they are going to deal with you!

There is a surprising amount of psychology going on in car sales. What they want is for you to STAY with them, in their dealership, and not leave without buying a car. This is good – this is something that you can use very much to your advantage… as we will see…

The last thing they want you to do is leave. They don’t want you to become a “be back”… a well used phrase for someone who says that they want to go and look at another car, get a quote from the bank, discuss it with the dog, or otherwise go away and think about it, but that they will “be back” later. They know you probably won’t “be back” because if they let you go, you might well buy a car from elsewhere. The sales manager is never very happy with a sales person who lets someone become a “be back” (lets them go).

In fact you, yourself, should always try to avoid being a “be back”. If you leave a dealer only to return later, the dealer will assume that you have shopped around and returned to him because he is offering the best deal. You will find it much harder to negotiate with this dealer; you will find it almost impossible to get them to better the deal they originally offered… why should they? You have spoken to them, gone away to see what else is on offer, and then gone back to that dealer. Why would you do that if you could get better elsewhere? They know they have got you!

It doesn’t matter what you say either, they won’t believe you… which brings us to another fundamental fact:

You tell lies!

Well, it is always assumed that you do! Car sales people listen to people like you time and time again, every day, every week. They KNOW that most people dislike car sales people and would have no hesitation in telling lies, particularly about their part exchange car, if they thought it would get them a better deal.

You know the sort of thing:

• “It’s our second car and we only use it to take the kids to school”
• “I have had it serviced regularly”
• “My mother was the main driver and she only used it to go to and from the shops”
• “No, it’s never been damaged”
• “Yes, it has always been reliable”
• “I have never driven it over 70 mph”

It is also expected that people lie about how much they are prepared to spend, saying that they can’t go above a certain figure – and then in the end, nearly always agreeing to spend a fair bit more.

Most car sales people are actually trained/told that potential buyers are liars! They are trained to disregard just about everything that you say simply because 90% of what car sales people hear from buyers is… well… lies!

Of course, they will listen to you and appear to be impressed because that is part of the process of building a relationship with you. It also makes YOU think they believe you, and that what you have told them might persuade them to give you a better deal. In reality you are just wasting your breath – they take your part exchange car as they find it, give you the Trade price for it and try to make as much profit from you as they can. That may sound a bit mercenary, but that is how it works, it’s that simple.

Some people tell more lies than others… we know of a dealer where the customer went to collect their new car and pulled up outside in the car they were part exchanging. All went well and the customer drove off in their new car. Only later, when the sales person went to move the part exchange off the road, did they find that it wouldn’t start. On closer inspection, they found that the car had no engine! The dealer’s premises was on a bit of a hill and the customer had obviously removed the engine to sell elsewhere, towed the car to the top of the hill and simply rolled it down the road, got out as if they had driven there and drove off in their new car.

This is a bit of an extreme case but it might help you remember the fact that car sales people assume that all buyers are liars!

However, they still want to sell you a car and to have a chance of doing that they need to keep you with them for as long as they can.

Next we look at car dealers tactics...

Buy the best car ⇦ Car Sales ⇨ Car Dealers Tactics