[ The Money Side of Lifeā„¢ ]

Seven Sneaky Car Sales Strategies

By brass Staff on January 31st, 2005 •

A good car salesman can "sell bubble gum at a lockjaw ward in Bellevue" (yes, we quoted that from Boiler Room). So how do you make sure you're not the one buying the bubble gum? We did some investigating to see if we could learn some of the tricks of the trade that are used to get you to sign on the dotted line when you go looking to buy a car.
 

  1. Make me an offer: The most classic line in the business--"make me an offer." As the unsuspecting victim, you have just given them an edge to see if you are really serious. The salesperson responds, "I'll need to get that approved by my manager." They leave you to sweat for what seems like forever. Your own thoughts work against you. They often come back with some random counter-offer that they pulled from you know where just to see if you really want the car. Play it cool while they are gone. Act uninterested because they know how people react when they really like the car. Don't make them an offer in the first place. Be willing to walk away.
  2. The one-two punch: If the salesperson can get you to make an offer, the salesperson may bring in the sales manager or another sales person to join in the discussion. Watch out because they are probably thinking that you are sold and want to push the price up or close the deal by going two on one. They may seem nice but they are increasing pressure. Insist on only talking to the person you started with. Stay in control of the situation.
  3. Changing prices: "This price is just good for this week." Do they honestly think you were born yesterday? Each week there is a new deal. Walk away and you usually get a call back with a better offer.
  4. Gift exchange: They get you to write down what you can afford on a piece of paper. The salesperson comes back with a counter offer and slowly slides the offer across the table to make it seem like they are giving you a present. This process may repeat another four times; be firm with what you wrote down.
  5. "Take it home today!": Sales people know that when you take the car home it is very hard to think about returning it, even if you figure out that you are going to have difficulty paying for it.
  6. Show me you're serious: The salesperson asks, "Can I get your driver's license or social security card to show my boss that you're serious?" Meanwhile they now know your grandmother died of heart disease, you have a huge house and money in the bank. Don't give them any advantages of being able to check you out while you are not looking.
  7. Friend or salesperson?: Often people go to someone they know to buy their car because they think they will get "hooked up" with a sweet deal. But just stop a second and think, if a sales person "hooked up" everyone they knew with great deals, the dealers wouldn't be making the money they wanted to make. So the sales manager always wants to know from the sales person two things. First, "Do you know these people?" followed quickly by, "How much can you get them for?"
The Bottom Line

Keep in control of the sales discussion and always be willing to walk away. If you do, you're more likely to come out with better results. Let the salesperson control the flow, and you're bound to be chewing bubble gum on the way home in your new car.