This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Article: Confessions of a Car Salesman

Posted By Paul

Hi Everyone,

I found this really interesting article where Edmunds.com paid a journalist to go "under cover" and become a car salesmen. Once he learned the ropes they had him write an article about his experiences.

It's a long article, but I found it very interesting.

Check it out:

Confessions of a Car Salesman


Matt said...

Interesting article, but kind of lengthy...here's a few nuggets I found valuable:

1. Negotiate the sale price of the car, not the monthly payment amount. The sales people can juggle the numbers in many ways to get you the monthly payment you want, but usually by hurting you somewhere else like the financing terms or the trade-in value of your old car.
2. Rent first. The test drive helps, but if you rent the same model and use it for several days (or a week), you'll get a better idea of how much you really like it.
3. Know your numbers. Search the Internet (e.g., Edmunds.com) to find the car's invoice cost, sticker price and local market value. Find out what your trade in is worth, and calculate how much you have to finance and what your monthly payments should be. You should use all this to eventually determine a narrow range for what price you will pay for the car you want (again, the total price, not the monthly payment).
4. Comparison shop before you set foot on a car lot. I really liked this one; call one dealer and ask for their best price, then take it to the next dealer and ask them to beat it. Repeat.

There's one more that wasn't covered by the article, but that I remember from a trustworthy former salesperson I know....check out the "loss leaders" in the paper to see if any of them match your needs. These are a few specific cars on the lot that are priced low to bring people to the lot (in hopes of then turning the buyer onto a more expensive car.) You can't ask for a different color, but you also won't have to haggle to get the low price.

Anonymous said...

The article was long, but well-written and entertaining, as well as informative. Matt's summary is great for those of us who don't have time to read and digest for ourselves.

My husband and I actually followed a similar strategy when we bought our beloved Honda in 1989 (it's still a great car!). We did our homework and called 2 or 3 dealerships to lay out the terms WE would accept.

One outfit seemed willing to do it our way. Sort of. (Well, these salespeople just have to "win," so we finally accepted a small extra charge that they said they just couldn't include in the very low sales price; I think it was maybe $125). We felt we won, though. We got a great deal with a little footwork and only enough argument to convince the salespeople we were serious.

Steve Jones said...

I recommend reading the headlines at ByOwnerAutoSales.com if you really want to learn about shady car salesmen. It's an eye-opener!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the summary, Matt. Paul, you always find great articles, but some of them are lengthy. It would be great if you could summarize some of the highlights for those of us who don't have time to read the whole article.