We have talked about the tricks employed by less than reputable car sellers in a previous article, but there are still legitimate tactics that can be used by every seller on the forecourt.
Whilst almost all dealers are honest and it’s only a very small minority that will try to hoodwink you into a bad deal, there are some tactics that can be used to shift cars and lower prices that you should know about. This article is intended to put you on the front foot and give you a clear perspective when it comes to the buying process.
When You Get Through the Door
This Week’s Deal
Everyone’s seen that shop that has been closing down for the last two years and those promoters who are hosting the last ever event. The thing with these limited time offers is there’s usually another one in a couple of weeks. Don’t be deceived by the flash of goodies and lower prices, stick to buying the type of vehicle you want.
The Car That Won’t Sell
There may be a funny coloured car on sale for a discounted rate. It might seem right on the price but think about how you’ll feel driving it in a couple of years from now and remember that neutral and popular coloured cars, such as grey, white and silver hold their price much better than the wilder shades.
Your Lucky Day
Don’t be fooled by salespeople trying to tell you that you have arrived at the most opportune moment. It’s always a good time for you to buy and the salesperson is simply trying to make you feel special about the deal that you could potentially strike.
We’re Friends, Right?
Salespeople will always try to establish rapport with you and win your trust. After all, you want to deal with someone you like. They will chat you up, compliment you and make you feel incredible. Don’t feel too cynical when you take it all with a pinch of salt and focus on the thing that matters, the price.
Someone I Love
The sales person will often try to convince you that a car is acceptable by telling you that their mum, dad, sister or even best friend drives one. And by implication if it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for you. Considering that the salesperson probably got this person a big discount on the vehicle at sale, you probably won’t be getting the same deal as them.
These are usually created when a model is coming to the end of its production run and apart from a special sticker on the bodywork, they aren’t that special. Sales people simply want to shift them before the new stock comes in.
Hard Sales Tactics
These are tried and trusted methods of selling the car to you. The seller could talk about how the model is popular, how there are not many left and how you need to buy today or it could be gone. Don’t fall for this scarcity tactic. Dealers may offer you a special discount to meet their target but in all likelihood it’s no better a price than you would receive on any other day.
Leaving Out the Details
A salesman might leave out bits of information about the car as they are giving you the pitch, highlighting the features you have confirmed that you like about the vehicle whilst missing some convenient truths. Be careful to ask the right questions and be persistent when you want an answer clarified.
The Test Drive
The Unbelievable Test Drive
This is where the salesperson takes you out in the top of the range model with a big engine and all the extras, giving you a fantastic on the road experience. But this won’t be the actual model you’ll buy and when you get home you might be a little deflated. Make sure you test drive a model that’s equivalent to the one you’re thinking of buying.
Exploiting Your Kids
If you take your children to the car showroom then expect the salesperson to try to use them to close the deal. From asking them what they think of the car to revving them up during a test drive, they’ll start to be involved in the decision making. Do yourself a favour and book a sitter for the afternoon.
The Christmas Puppy Gimmick
The salesman may let you take the car home for the weekend in the hope you might fall in love with the vehicle. Remember that if you have been driving around in an old car, any new car will feel fantastic. Try to think about what you want from the vehicle and price – not how it feels over a couple of days.
The Close and Negotiating Your Price
Not so Freebies
If you’re splashing out a whole load of cash then some freebies are simply a drop in the ocean. Remember that the value to the dealer is not the same as the price they are telling you.
Whilst protective interior and exterior treatments are a great idea, they are only generally worth a couple of hundred pounds at best. Free car mats should be fitted as a matter of course, and dealers should provide a tank of fuel to cover the delivery costs that are part of the charges. Don’t be hoodwinked by these drop off prices.
No Discounts for Cash
Whilst it used to be commonplace for people to use cash to avoid the grasp of the taxman, HMRC are a lot tighter with businesses these days. You’re not doing dealers a favour by expecting them to engage in some kind of tax dodge.
And remember that car sellers are also paid commissions for arranging finance for cars. If you’re trying to purchase with a brick of notes then they can’t get that extra sizzle for selling you a credit package for your car.
Get the On the Road Price
Dealers may be a little economical with the truth when talking about the price of the car, leaving out certain factors, which means you’ll have no idea of how much it will actually cost you to drive away in a car you have seen on the forecourt. Ask them for the full price and to confirm there are no extra costs when they’re quoting you a number.
Take Care of the Pennies
Did you know that almost 80% of new cars are bought on finance? And when it’s not real money in your pocket it can feel a little easier to spend. Dealers can break down the prices of optional extras making them seem quite affordable. £500 spread over 3 years doesn’t seem that much after all.
However if you tick too many boxes, not only will the price rise, but your monthly payment may burst your budget. Especially when you realise that quite a few of these options do not improve the resale or trade-in value of your vehicle.
Cheaper Car Finance
If the salesman won’t budge on the price but will move for a finance deal there’s usually a reason. Be sure to check out all the terms and conditions and especially the interest rates as the chances are that you will end up paying more in the long run than you should for the car. If in doubt, whip out your smartphone, use the calculator and make sure you do the maths.
This one is a classic. The dealer offers you a significantly lower value of your vehicle as a trade-in price and then allows you to haggle down the price of the car you’re buying to make you think you’ve managed to negotiate a great deal and thus you’re more likely to buy off them.
By using the technique of offering you a low price on your old, part-exchange car and a fantastic price on your new one, the sales person is hiding their true profit in the intricacies of the deal, aiming to blind you with figures and make you think you’ve nailed a brilliant price. If you know the value of your car, you can’t get caught out in this fashion.
When dealing with a seller it is always best to respect etiquette and keep them onside. To make sure you approach them with the right attitude and language why not take a look at our article that guides you on the best way to talk to a car salesman?