How To Not Buy A Car Informative - Try this instead
So many times prospects come into the dealership with the "Consumer Reports" mentality on how to buy a car and get "a good deal." When I was on the floor as a salesperson (I am now the General Sales Manager), I could usually figure this out within the first couple minutes. Upon initial greeting, these people are direct, in some cases almost rude, refuse to divulge any information as to their needs, budget, trade, etc, and want to "get to the price" right away. Now I am not ignorant to the fact that years ago, many dealerships would take advantage of the customer who gave us "all the details" right away...but this was before the internet and before full-disclosure laws were even a thought. The reason in most cases salespeople ask some of the "qualifying" questions (as we call them) is to simply assist the customer in finding a vehicle that will fit their needs AND their budget. I cannot tell you how many times it happens where the "Consumer Reports Customer" wastes more of their own time by evading questions--only to wind up on a vehicle that they simply cannot afford--2 hours later. Or, they buy a vehicle that 2 months later they hate! On the contrary, if they simply had left the salesperson do their job, the entire process could have been so much more efficient and so much more enjoyable!
In other words, evading questions, being "tight lipped" about everything, and acting like a jerk basically delays the entire sales process--and ultimately makes buying a car so much more of a hassle. Most salespeople at dealerships today are professionals...yes, many make a very good living...but they work hard to achieve this. And...they have to deal with some real jerks and long hours! I always tell a new salesperson who I am training that, in this business, you will meet some of the nicest people and some of the biggest jerks--and also some nice people who simply become jerks when they step foot in the dealership--again, because they think this will get them the deal they want or they will not be taken advantage of.
I realize their are still "scum" that work at certain dealerships across the US and I truly despise these people just like you do...but the scum is dwindling--consumers simply demand so much more in todays marketplace--and in my opinion, they deserve more. But we too, deserve your respect. Contrary to what some consumers still think, dealerships, though profitable (including the one I work for), are not "raking in" the profits that some people mistakenly think...in fact nationwide, the average dealership's net profit has continued to dwindle over the past couple of years. Yet, I am working as much now (if not more) than I was 5 years ago and my salespeople are certainly no exception as well.
Most salespeople work 50+ hours per week...more during sales events. At the average dealership the expense structure continues to rise as well--some of the biggest increases is personnel, advertising (our rates go up every year), floorplan/inventory interest (you can't sell from an empty shelf!), facility improvement and insurance...yet the manufacturers have continued to squeeze our profit margin. However, even better for the consumer, most of the MSRP's (list prices) of many new vehicles stay the same or even GO DOWN year after year...So when a prospect tells me "You can sell this car for invoice, because you are still making money on the holdback" I bite my tongue and explain that we cannot survive on holdback and offer the good service after the sale--even though deep down I would like to say "listen here you idiot, how would you like me to come to your job and tell you how to perform it or, tell you how to run your business--and also how much money you are supposedly making." Obviously, I would not have obtained the success I have achieved if that was my response or attitude...but I'm telling you some days it's tough to hold back!
So here it is, my advice on how to get a good deal: When you begin to deal with a salesperson you like, give him/her the information they are asking for (within reason). If you are approached by the "scum" I mentioned--leave--a reputable dealership will not hire the "I've been in the car business at 15 dealerships the past 20 years" salesperson. (Heck, I won't even interview salespeople who have worked for more than 2 or 3 dealers--and even then, they had better have a good reason why they are interviewing!)
Keep an open mind. Treat them with respect and this will be reciprocated. Allow the salesperson and dealer to make a reasonable profit and understand that the "We always have the lowest Price" or "Well beat any deal by $XXX" dealer is usually the ones that have lousy service after the sale. (I would suspect many of the ones we read about on MY3Cents) It is ok to negotiate the price/trade--we expect it--but be REALISTIC! Most dealerships are not going to have, after the first deal is presented, THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS to additionally take off the price--and if they do, you probably didn't want to deal with them in the first place. And most of all, HAVE FUN...it was always so much better for me as a salesperson when I had customers who ENJOYED buying a car--instead of those who made it such a burden.
Try this approach next time--and throw out your copy of Consumer Reports with their stupid and outdated "How to buy a car" crap printed on the back cover of every issue. The people that write those ridiculous articles are probably the jerks I am talking about.