When I walk into a car dealership, I hand the salesperson the following “Top Ten” List.” If they don’t immediately ask me to leave (many have), I present them my written offer for the car I want. Here’s what I hand to them:
Buying a car is the second largest purchase most people will ever make. Unfortunately, it has become one of the worst experiences of our adult lives due to the reprehensible tactics car dealers have used for decades. For that reason, I present this list. If you do not agree with all 10 points, please ask me to leave now. If you do agree and then violate any of these points, I will exit your dealership and you will have lost the sale and any future business from me.
Ten Ways to Not Sell Me a Car
1. I will never speak to or even acknowledge your manager. If you don’t agree, I’ll deal with them exclusively and not speak to you at all. I don’t need to deal with two salespeople.
2. Having researched this vehicle very carefully, I am prepared to make you a fair offer. You will at that time say “yes” or “no.” I am not haggling; I am making one and one offer only.
3. After I make you an offer, I will not wait while you go talk to your manager. If you do not have the authority to make a deal with me, I will work with the person who can (see #1).
4. I do not need you to ever ask me how much I would like the monthly payments to be. If I’m not paying cash, I’ve already figured out how much the monthly payments will be based on my offer and current interest rates.
5. If it’s such a great car, why does it need an extended warranty? I will not discuss an extended warranty with you or anyone. Should anyone even raise the topic, I will walk out of the dealership and you will lose my business.
6. If you mention any law that mandates the fact that you have to mention an extended warranty, I will walk out of the dealership and never return.
7. If I ask for any options, I want only those options and nothing more. If I have to buy a GPS system to get a satellite radio, the deal is off. This goes for any option that cannot be purchased separately.
8. If I decide to leave the dealership without buying the car and you even hint at the fact that the price may go up if I don’t buy today, I’ll buy my car elsewhere.
9. If I leave the dealership without buying the car and you ever call me at home, I’ll buy a car from you when Hell freezes over.
10. If you ask me, “What can I do to put you in this car today?” we’re through here.
Please sign and date this agreement.
(More than likely, they will refuse to sign it, but it never hurts to ask.)
A lot has been written about why people buy things. With all research and study, it really boils down to one factor. People buy things because they wan them. No lofty psychological needs and desires, just pure “want.” If a salesperson can convince them that they want it, they’ll buy it.
That’s the #1 job of any good salesperson. Make the customer want it. Even if they already do, the fact that they haven’t bought it yet means they don’t want it enough yet. The job of a salesperson is to make them want it enough to buy it.
I have always maintained that benefits-first selling is one of the best ways to do that. If you continue to talk about what the product will do for the customer, and do so effectively, they will buy it. No pressure, hype or threats, just an endless stream of benefits about the product. And if you can make those benefits specific to the customer, you’ll be even more persuasive.
Most car salespeople ignore the benefits of their product. They concentrate on price, payments and intimidation. The latter point usually takes the form of statements like “I can’t guarantee this price (or deal) after today.” Bullshit! If you come back in a month and tell him you want the deal, they will take it in a New York minute.
Why are most car salespeople horrible? Most are bound by their dealership’s mantra, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Successful car dealerships make a lot of money and are reluctant to change their modis operandi. They continue to use pressure, double-teaming and actual threats to sell their wares.
The Saturn Company used to tout the fact that they didn’t haggle and “the price was the price.” They went out of business soon after news reports that their “low” sticker prices were really overcharging their customers. Oh yeah, and their cars sucked. That didn’t help them either.
If you’re buying a car, I hope my list helps you have a better experience. And do your homework. Use the Internet to find out how much they paid for the car and how much they are getting in incentives from the manufacturer. There are many sites that will help you calculate a fair price offer for the car you want. Walk in without doing any research and you’ll be plundered and pillaged, maybe worse.
The “10 Ways” list has helped me a quite a bit. But I’m driving an 11-year-old car because I still hate the whole process. Hey, I’m an old fart. Maybe I’ll die before my current car does. Call it wishful thinking.