NOTE from Megan: Dave is a new member of the CarWoo! blogging team. He’s also a car dealer at Diamond Honda of Glendale, CA. If you have any car dealer-specific questions that you’d like him to answer in the form of a post, send them to email@example.com (and I’ll forward them on to Dave!)
Imagine you’re a salesman. You briskly walk through your showroom trying to look busy, your shirt pocket holds a Xanax, your boss is looking around, and your unit sales on the sales board aren’t looking so hot. You need to get six more sales this month to qualify for the bonus. If you don’t hit it, you’re going to live off your draw for another month; you won’t go to the movies, you won’t go on any dates, you won’t go out for lunch, and you just may need to hit up the massive eastern European salesman on the “point,” who’ll charge you 22% interest and likely dump you in a fresh batch of concrete if you don’t pay him back.
The receptionist pauses, maneuvering her head a little as if to transition from the phone world to the showroom one. She politely asks if you can take a sales call. Here’s your shot. You straighten up. You walk to a phone. You tell yourself to smile when speaking – to sound friendlier. In the back of your mind, you wonder how this receptionist gets her teeth so white. Maybe you should lay off the coffee.
“This is Dave.”
The caller says, “I’d like to lease with $1,000 down. Can you tell me the payment?”
Okay. You have a few ways to handle this. One way gives you the lowest payment. The lower the payment, the higher chance the customer will come in to lease the car. The second way is to take a more honest approach, but your payment will be higher than everyone else’s. At this point, your caller is motivated simply by having a number to write next to your dealer name; if your number isn’t near the lowest in their notes, you’ll never hear from them again, your sales figures won’t improve, and you’ll have to blow up balloons on Saturday morning to keep your job. To make matters worse, a second boss who’s immune to HR policies will send you on runs for his coffee, cigarettes, and dry cleaning.
You’re formulating an answer.
You know the customer means $1,000 TOTAL down. That’s what any logical person would think, anyway. However, another totally logical response would be to quote $1,000 down in a different way. And when they arrive, you say, “Yes indeed, it’s $1,000 down – and of course you have to pay your DMV, first payment, doc fee, and so on. You knew that, right, Mr. Customer?”
Most customers go along with that. The others grind it out a little – but at least they’re interested. At least you’re getting closer to another sale. Besides the money down, you can quote a payment with or without tax – the lowest payment being the one with $1,000 down plus fees and your first payment plus tax (as in most advertisements). Lastly, you may simply quote a lease on a car you don’t have, and then give them an adjusted lease quote on a car in stock. All of these fall into the same category. They’re all lowball moves. Their sole purpose isn’t honesty – but rather to get you in the door.
I don’t have to tell you what most salesmen would do.