A root canal and shingles might be worse. But a trip to a car dealership, as opposed to car buying online, is often high on the list of unpleasant experiences. It’s not universally bad. But there’s still plenty of salesmanship, up-selling and other persuasive ways car dealers make the most they can from every buyer.
With Jim Dykstra (www.vinadvisor.net) and Jaclyn Trop (www.jaclyntrop.com) and James Raia (www.theweeklydriver.com) take a look at the Top 6 Things Car Dealers Do To Make Car Buying Difficult in text and a corresponding video.
Car Dealers Price People
Jim Dykstra, Vinadvisor
“What’s the number one way that dealers make car buying difficult? They price people, they don’t price products. You can’t just walk into a dealership and say, “How much for this car?” They’ll look at the car, they’ll look back at you, and then they’ll ask you some deflective questions, talk about rebates, trade-ins, your kids. It’s hard to get a straight answer, ’cause their goal is to have you sit down, relax and then determine how they gain the most profit on the sale of the new car, your trade-in, financing and any after-market products. Nothing wrong with it, except it’s extraordinarily inefficient in a world where everything is purchased online and efficiency has improved. So, time to change that paradigm.”
Car Dealer Advertising
“Dealer advertising is consistently confusing. They’ll promote fixed monthly price point, say $199, but they’ll leave out the cost of the downpayment and they don’t tell you how much you can expect to pay for taxes, license and other options. In other words, the price that they’re advertising doesn’t really even exist. This forces the consumer, basically, to start all over again, once they get to the dealership.”
Car Dealers Sell Cars
“Car buyers sometimes forget that sales people at car dealerships are sales people. They’ll do nearly anything to sell you a car. They’ll bring in other staff members, they try to confuse the public on occasion because they have so many people there they’re trying to wear the customer down. So why not counter that? Why not bring an advocate or two in with you when you’re considering purchasing the car? There’s always strength in numbers, right?”
Car Price Transparency
“So how else do car dealers make car buying difficult? Well, understand they price people rather than products. The biggest challenge is they try to get a different price for the same product from each person who walks through the door. If you walked into McDonald’s and four people walked up to the line at the same time and each of them said, ‘I want a number two value meal,’ imagine how frustrating and time-consuming it would be if each of those four registers tried to price people differently, a different price for every number two value meal.”
“So the most important thing to understand, to take that away from the dealer and then put the control back into your hands, is to get prepared. Have an idea of what the fair market transaction price is for the car you’re buying, new or used, and for your trade-in. You can find that online: Kelley Blue Book, vinadvisor.net, Edmunds. And then, most importantly, be prepared. Be prepared to make the first offer. Negotiating with a car dealer is a lot like playing a game of tic-tac-toe. The player to move first, it doesn’t matter whether it’s an X or an O, has a 71 percent chance of winning or tying. Get prepared, make the first offer.”
Car Dealer Pressure
“Once inside the dealership, sales people are hyper-focused on getting you to say yes. ‘Don’t wait,’ they’ll tell you, ‘You’ll lose money.’ The truth is, most new cars are oversupplied and the incentives that you’re offered don’t evaporate once you leave the dealership. Their enthusiasm to get you to make a decision only makes it harder for consumers to say yes.
Car Dealer Paperwork
“There’s always a lot of paperwork at car dealerships. They bring in all kinds of offers for extended warranties, or other promotions, or different kinds of paint with an extra charge, or this and that. So, when you go into a car dealership, have your price in mind. Certainly, the car dealerships know what their bottom line is and if you go in with your bottom line, all you have to do is wait for it.”