Car Buying 101

By: Peter Robinson

As is the case with any relationship, of any kind, the party who cares the least about it is in control of it.

In a car deal, if you are willing and able to walk away from the table and go home, you will be able to negotiate from a position of strength. Just make sure that your expectations are reasonable. Never bring any emotion into any negotiation. Don't fall in love with a car before you own it. Buy one that you know you could love, but do not make an emotional commitment until it is yours. Don't propose marriage on the first date!

It is a well-recognized fact in the business that the customers who pay the most for their vehicles ( percent vs. MSRP/KBB) are happiest with their purchase. This is because these folks have decided that they are not going to let buying a car ruin their day or their week. They have determined that it will probably cost more than it should, like many things in life, but they are going to buy a car and drive away in it.

People who negotiate all day long always think they left something on the table, that they could have gotten a better price if only they would have held out just a little longer! They suffer from both a lack of proper research (or they would know what was on the table and what was not) and a need to 'win' something that is not being contested. I have never seen a dealer remove his hat and surrender, proclaiming his admiration for his vanquisher!

Sometimes a novice salesperson will offer to show a customer the invoice, thinking that this up-front honesty will assist in closing the sale. The sales manager will not be happy with this weakest of all sales strategies, but he will usually go and get it. Many times, when the customer sees it, he will claim that it is "doctored"--that it is not the actual invoice. He is dug in like he is storming the beach at Omaha, and his position is so entrenched that he CAN'T buy now.

He will go down the street and buy from someone with more confidence, more experience, and he will not be looking at any invoices, real or otherwise. This was a person who came spoiling for a fight, would not take "Yes" for an answer, and thought himself out of a great deal. His 'negotiation' at the first place was enough to convince him that he had done enough that he could now allow himself to buy. It is quite likely that he still does not feel satisfied, a terrible way to begin any relationship, especially with your car.

The NADA has estimated that the net profit from all car sales increased by 15 percent in 2005, an astonishing number when one considers the sheer volume of information available to consumers. Is it possible that there is too much information, or is it just that we have unrealistic expectations going in?

New Car Buyers
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on New Car Buyers