Used Car Lots: Dealing with the Salesman

Consumer Protection: Buying and Selling

The most important aspect of the client and vendor mix is the relationship between them itself. It's kind of like dating in that when a used car is sold its normally because the salesperson and the consumer hit it off personally, with the consumer trusting the salesperson and the salesperson deciding that he liked the consumer enough to give him the deal that he wanted.

Used car salespeople come in many different sizes and shapes and will exhibit many different types of sales techniques. There are high-pressure Willy Loman, Glengarry-Glenross types and there are the civilized, polished empathetic listener types at the other end of the scale and there is a quite huge range in between. Here are some tips on how to work on the used car lot.

The quick closer – this is someone you need to be beware of. They are all over the place, and tend to be particularly prevalent on used car lots. Their primary aim and motivation is to get your signature on a car registration as soon as possible. A typical sentence you will hear from the quick closer is something masquerading as “care” like “So, what will it take for you to be signing on the dotted line today?” The problem with this approach is that it pays little attention to long-term relationships. All it really says is that they have a commission pay scale and a quota to make so they seem to be being encouraged to be individual rather than team players. That may tell you something negative about their organization. It can also suggest that the company has recently fallen on bad times and has a desperate need to bring clients on board. They therefore act more as a commodity vendor than people looking for a true partnership.

I'm not making a cent on this car – this is also called lowballing. The idea is to come at you with a price that is so low that no other car company will be able to compete. They will say that you are getting the car at factory invoice price – but bear in mind that even if you are, they still get a kickback from the dealer so they are not worried. They may also be doing it because they know you need finance and they know they can actually make more money out of that. If they have worked out you don't know much about finance this is especially true.

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