Be an Ethical Entrepreneur, Marketer, and Business Builder

How to get the BEST deal on your next car purchase

At the moment, I’m negotiating for a new car, and I’ve learned a few things:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Negotiating – If at first you don't succeed, ask someone else…

This method doesn’t work 100% of the time, however, as my father always told me, “If you don’t ask you never know what you can get.” So let me clarify what I mean. In the last few weeks as I’m negotiating for various purchases twice I’ve called up and asked one person for a great deal. Twice that person didn’t give me the deal I wanted. Twice I called back and got the deal I did want from someone else in the same organization. One time it was even in the same day. Let me explain…

When I was ordering my Sonos, I of course wanted the best deal possible. Heck, I’d been waiting for 2 years, 9 months, 12 days, and 6 hours for the right deal (maybe not exactly that long), so if I was going to bite the bullet I was going to make it worth it. So I emailed my contact to find out if I ordered the bundle with the free speakers along with another zone player if they’d throw in shipping for free. He said no can do. Oh well. I wanted it anyway, so I call to place the order and talk to someone else and ask again. She throws in the shipping (on the extra zoneplayer only) for free along with a free cradle for the controller (which I didn’t even ask for). Yes! Good thing I didn’t just ask the first person and assume it couldn’t be done…

Second instance was working with the Colorado Department of Revenue. They assessed some late charges and penalties that weren’t correct. My payments were postmarked on the proper day and after calling them all I had to do was mail them a letter requesting them to review the file and pull a copy of the envelope with the postmark on it…. But I forgot to write down the address to where I was to mail the letter. So I called back, talked to another gentleman and he said “Don’t worry about it, your account has a zero balance now. I took care of it.” That time I don’t even think I asked. He just volunteered to take care of it for me. Nice.

The third instance I was working with Paychex and they wouldn’t talk to me cause I wasn’t the “authorized” person on the account. Didn’t really matter that I owned the business they were servicing, they wouldn’t talk to me. So I hang up, call back and before they could even ask me who I was, they said, “Sorry Bryan, we need to talk to X or Y.” Well needless to say when they now call me for sales calls (since I cancelled their service) I make sure they know I’m not the authorized account holder.

So the moral here is, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

To your negotiating success, Bryan