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Most car dealerships train their salespeople in a process that is designed to lead the customer down a long road to the sale! They process is typically a course of manipulation tactics and even the most unwavering person can be swayed by it.
The Salesperson gets to work on the customer using a professional system in which they are all thoroughly trained and rehearsed.
A good salesperson never mis-sell's or over-evaluates the customer's requirements, and it's very rare they go home empty handed. It takes practise and skill to become a professional salesman and it takes a certain type of person to grind away at customer to get what they want, manipulatively or not.
So be prepared when you step foot in a car dealership. Open your eyes to their charming ways and don't fall for it. Know all your facts, never make an on the spot decision and make sure you get all the facts you need and double check them (especially important when Finance is involved)
Don't get me wrong not every dealership is the same; most salesmen are effortlessly good at their job and pride themselves on honesty and integrity. As customers are wising up to salesman's tactics and their wooing ways, salesmen are laying off the BS approach. I have visited many dealerships and anywhere you go where you know the employees work on commission, be prepared for a good arse licking.
The sales system can take on many variations, For example the "Ten Step" the "Eight Step" and so forth, but the end result is always the same, to get you to make an emotional buying decision right on the spot.
As soon as you step foot inside the door, expect to be greeted by your salesman for the day. They try to be very welcoming and friendly and put you at ease with some small talk, perhaps even tell a few jokes and sympathise with everything you say... then they start to find you a car, showing you 'deals' and 'offers' even when you have a specific make or model in mind.
The salesman will ask your intentions, whether you are trading in, buying outright or financing, and if so what kind of monthly payments you would expect to pay. They start ticking off their check list of your requirements and also making a mental note of who is the decision maker if you go in a pair.
They will try and get as much personal information from you as possible, certainly your name, address, phone number and email so that even if you don't buy they can bombard you with newsletters from themselves and third party companies. This information is also taken so they can follow-up a few weeks later about a specific car you may have taken a shine too. Car Sales Managers have a saying for this type of situation.
"Keep calling them until they buy or die!"
Do not give a dealership any more information than necessary on a browse, even if they want to run a credit report to make sure you are credit worthy and can buy. Once the salesperson has all the information they need, they will try and get you landed on a vehicle and go at great lengths to get you to test drive it.
Most Salesperson know that walk-in browsers are un-likely to purchase anything on their first or second visit; however Salesmen believe it key to build relationships from the first visit so in the event you are ready to buy they will consider their dealership as they have a contact and believe they have good customer service skills. .
If the Salesperson can't get you to test drive - their Sales Manager won't let the salesperson begin negotiating price until you have taken a test drive. They want and need for you to fall in love with it - to become emotionally involved in the car. The theory is that the more emotionally involved you get the easier you will be to close, and the more money they can make out of you.
When a salesperson gets desperate they may ask something like "If we can get together on a price, are you in a position to buy the car today?" Once you signal you are will to make a deal "today" the salesperson will put out all the stops to close the deal with you, even offer you a price that "ends today!"
If you are requiring finance to purchase your new car they will try and close you on payment. This is a bad thing for you and good for them, because you have no clue what the selling price is. If you have another car to trade, be prepared to be offered a lower than low price for it. It is important to know that every move they make is calculated and deliberate. They have all the angles covered, and they're going to come at you with every trick in the book, the only way to save face is turn the table on them.
1. Research, research and research some more! Find exactly the car at the dealership you are interested in and browse on the likes of Autotrader for prices of the same car and Whatcar?.com for reviews of it.
2. Negotiate till you're blue in the face, price, extras, warranty etc...
3. Don't tell them you have a trade until after you have negotiated a firm selling price. Then negotiate the trade-in price separately.
4. Arrange your own financing ahead of time; don't let the dealer do it for you.
5. Consider purchasing your next vehicle online?
6. REMEMBER - there is no 3 day right of cancellation when buying or leasing a vehicle.
I will mention again that not all salespeople adhere to such a strict selling systems. Car dealers in Essex for example take pride in obtaining trust and honesty from their customers and in return give it straight back. Dealerships breed cowboys (the ones to look out for who only care about what is in your pockets) but the majority are actually human and are only out to help you with your decision.
Prepare yourself by researching the dealership online and read reviews to make sure they are legit and trustworthy. Then have fun choosing the car you want, it's exciting to car hunt.