This article is written by Kevin Bookbinder, one of the newest members of the CarWoo team. As our Dealer in Residence, Kevin brings more than 10 years in the car dealer industry to the table, and he’s here to advise us on all things dealer-related, whether it be the dealer perspective on new CarWoo! features, or blog posts for buyers on the best way to buy a new car. The is the first part in a series of posts from Kevin on simple tips and tricks for car buyers for working with car dealers via the CarWoo! model. I hope you enjoy, and we’d love to hear feedback from all members of the CarWoo! audience, be it car buyers, car dealers, or random passerby’s.
I am excited about sharing the information and perspective I have gathered over the past 10 years as a day-to-day participant in one of the most competitive, pressure filled environments ever created by man. I am a firm believer in trying to make every interaction a positive one, but I understand that there is a limit to my ability to influence a positive outcome as I am only a piece of the exchange. To that end, and through the course of this series, I will not spend any time beyond this first post identifying the key indicators of a handful of rotten apples in the National Automotive New Car Dealership network. I trust that you, as an intelligent adult have developed the ability to spot and avoid these individuals.
There is No Magic formula, there is no mystery for me to reveal, this series is simply a common sense / basic human nature approach to creating a positive experience for the second largest financial transaction of your life. Buying a new car can feel like climbing up a huge treacherous mountain in the dark, I hope by the end of this series to have imparted the wisdom I have gained from actually being that mountain and surviving tens of thousands of climbers.
Do as much research as possible prior to engagement aka “Caveat Emptor”Deciding on which vehicle is right for you requires a varying level of research, how much research is defined by you, one thing that is a basic for everyone is the first hand review of driving characteristics, styling et al. Short of having friends that drive the different types of vehicles you’re considering, a trip to the respective dealerships is required. This is fundamentally the most important part of your car buying experience; it sets the tone and has the greatest impact on your perception of the quality of your purchase.
You need to engage the approaching salesman with a smile and a handshake, just like my granddad used to do with everyone he saw around town when I was a kid. It is simply polite, but more importantly it allows you to take control (more on control to come). A kind greeting is all a salesman is hoping for initially. If you provide this the rest of your agenda will come with little to no resistance. Trust me, it’s human nature; its the golden rule.
Your agenda is short, “I would like to take a <insert car> out for a test drive”
If this request is difficult for your salesperson to deliver then simply and politely ask for someone who can produce keys and go for a ride along. If things are not moving along, then its time for you to move along and just leave. I promise the dealer down the street will be happy to satisfy your request.
Assuming that you have taken the car of your choosing out for a drive you should be on alert for the first “trial close” from your salesman. There is only one line that I would use or train my guys to use – it is:
“Nice car huh?”
It seems simple enough. It doesn’t raise any red flags. It doesn’t move the pressure meter even the slightest. But be forewarned – there is only one safe answer to this question – the truth. If you like it say so. If you don’t, then make that clear as well. Remember why you are there, to try out the car. If you say you like it, be ready for the next series of closing passes characterized by statements along the lines of “look at some numbers,” “if I could,” “I’ve got an idea, follow me.” Assuming you’re still outside of the dealership (if you’re not you might be in trouble) you need to declare to your salesman that your mission is a success, that you appreciate there time, that you would like his/her business card and that if you decide to purchase the type of car he/she represents you will be in touch. If you have followed the above steps this will be the end of this first engagement process step.
Now you need to repeat this process as many times as there are prospective cars on your list. When the list has been exhausted I hope you find that you’re not. Buying a car up until now has been a tiring process, but fear not, you have made it. The rest of your hunt is in the bag, now that you have Carwoo! to take the face-to-face negotiations out of the showroom and into your living room / family room / office / cube-farm…. I won’t tell…..