At the moment, I’m negotiating for a new car, and I’ve learned a few things:
- If someone won’t negotiate with you via phone or email, they’re not real interested in negotiating with you in person. This happened to me twice. It wasted a lot of my time and energy and really annoyed me since they weren’t willing to make any good deals in person but assured me if I came to the dealership they would give me a great deal.
- They can give you a very close estimate of your trade-in, sight unseen. Don’t let them tell you you need to drive 3 hours in one direction to get that information.
- Whatever their first offer is, ALWAYS deny it. Do the same with the second offer, they can ALWAYS do better. In other words, BE PATIENT. How much better? Well upon my first phone call one dealer gave me a price of 36,000 and 0%. Second call he offered 31,000 and 0%. Third call he offered 31,000 and 0% and 18,000 for my trade-in. Fourth call he offered 31,000 and 0% interest and 20,500 for my trade-in. So from first to fourth call, we’re talking about a swing of about $7500. :-O And I know I can get the price down even more. 😉 Another dealership, without even me prompting dropped the price on a car by $1000 from one weekend to the next. They didn’t even call me, they just emailed the new better offer to me.
- Invoice prices that you see on Edmunds.com and similar websites don’t mean a thing. One dealership I went to had a “Market Adjustment” markup over MSRP for Mitsubishi Evolutions of over $3,000 and they wouldn’t even drop the price to MSRP!!! Another dealership across town agreed to sell me the same exact car for $3,000 under MSRP which was about a $1000 less than invoice. Do you really think that car dealer was going to sell me a car at a $1000 loss? Of course not. The salesman needs to get paid as well as the dealership. The invoice price doesn’t mean a thing.
As I mentioned in my blog about selling to the Internet Generation, we know how to get a good deal. One of the ways we can the best deal, is by being “dispassionate” about the purchase by negotiating via email and phone. If you didn’t just get out of test-driving a fresh, new car, it’s hard to make that split second decision to buy it cause it makes you feel good. Car dealers HATE unemotional buyers! As a matter of fact, they feed on them. That’s why they want you to test drive their cars, they’re convinced that you’ll give them the valuable information they need about how much you love the car so they can sell you that car. Granted, as Dave Yoho used to say, “There’s no such thing as an unemotional, dispassionate buyer, who buys solely on merit.” I’m no different. So the question is not whether or not I’m going to buy the car, it’s just what do I have to do to get the best deal. And therefore, which dealer will I purchase from.
How dispassionate can I be? I make up a spreadsheet with the numbers I want to see based on the 5 year cost of ownership of the vehicle taking into account gas mileage, insurance, car payments, and up-front costs. If the numbers in the spreadsheet aren’t where I want them, I walk out. I even tell the car dealer that. “Hey I appreciate your time, however this is what I can afford, if you can’t make money on this deal, I’m not going to ask you to sell me the car. I’ll just wait till I sell my car at a higher price.” That’s when they start coming back with better offers. 🙂
It’s worth noting that this is definitely a buyers market. With the sluggish economy car dealerships are hurting and are much more willing to make a deal now than they were 2 years ago. It’s not your fault that they need to badly sell cars. They don’t have to accept any offer that you put forth. As a matter of fact, you’re trying to help them out by buying a car from them. Always keep that in mind when negotiating for a car, business, or anything else.
To your negotiating success, Bryan