Last week, we talked about sales systems dealers will often use to take control immediately after you arrive at the dealership. We have all seen that pack of sales reps standing on the lot silently watching your approach. They are waiting to pounce! This mentality is what poisons the fun of buying a car. Granted, these folks need to make a living and doing so on commission is rough. Even so, what they should do is give you a friendly welcome, a strong handshake, and introduce themselves. Don’t be afraid to mince words; tell them your name and why you’re at the dealership. By telling the rep exactly which model you want and which options---you remove a lot of the silly games and questions.
Their next step is to try and get you “inside” so the manager can see you are being worked. Also, this is where he loads up your information on their Customer Management System. As long you stay with basic, innocuous information and no Social Security number up front, its cool! You’ll see offers and coupons even if you don’t buy. Here’s where you start to win. Tell them no more than you want them to know and pay attention! Get back on the lot and look at cars, not computers.
Once they find the car for you to test drive, the sales rep will start trying to qualify and close you. Asking a bunch of questions; most of which are designed to get you to answer with a resounding “yes”. “Doesn’t this car drive well”? “Isn’t that hydro-power seat wonderful’? Yadda, Yadda. You get the picture. They will also try to find out about your income, housing status and trade (if any). Stay on the track you want. You can always disarm by answering with another question. “How long is the warranty”? “Any recalls on this model”? “What other colors do you have”? The bounce-back will stop the flood.
Once you get back to the store---it’s on! Do you want to go in and work the deal? Do you want more time? Do you want to drive another car? The sales-rep has but one mission: to try and close you or “turn” you over to his manager or another sales rep known for closing skills. You have to take charge at this point no matter what you want to do. Once you go inside, expect the full-court pressure. Enjoy it! Do not be afraid or intimidated. One thing that always works is conveying your absolute willingness to walk if you don’t like the deal. Smile. Be courteous. Get a soda or some water and let them sell you. It’s not just about the car anymore.