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Car Dealers and Their Games

Updated on October 29, 2009

You would think after the beating the auto industry has received, that they would be a little less likely to be playing the same tired old games that turned people off in the past. Let me give you some advice on how to get more business, and how to not have people get mad and walk off the lot.

Advertisement. Advertising through online postings, your own websites, or even sites like craigslist greatly can increase your visibility. And I realize you want to the person to call or get on your lot so you can unload your sales pitch. However, one thing you must absolutely realize is people search online first. We will compare prices and models with other lots. If you don't have the following information, you won't even get a second glance.

  1. Price Price Price! For the love of all that is shiny put the price of the car on there. I don't care what you think, or how you try to get cute, but putting "Ask for price in person" is not going to get me or most people to your lot. And when somebody calls and ask for the price, blowing them off with "its a value, not a price" just pisses me off. Its not a value, its a tool, its a car, its a price. Put it up there. If you are worried about your prices being higher then others, look at your business model and quit being greedy. A truck with 200k miles, dents and bangs all over it is not worth $9,000 no matter how you spin it.
  2. Mileage. Put the mileage on there. Low miles to you may not be low miles to the next person. Sometimes there is miles with no price, sometimes price with no miles. Both need to be clearly indicated.
  3. General information. Is it a manual or automatic? 4x4 or 2wd? V8 or V6? This is the very important information. Things like floor mats and options like that are not as important. That can be added or changed for little or no money, the others is a deal breaker.

These three things are crucial for internet shoppers, and I have many a time passed over a potentially good deal because this information is not available.

Next step, when you get them in the lot, listen to what they say. Don't automatically have a car that is "perfect" for them. I will walk off and not look back once this crap starts. If you don't have what I want, be honest. I will ask you for your card and exchange information with you at that point because you were honest. If you try to sell me something I didn't ask for I am gone.

If for some reason you don't have the price on the car ( a big no-no) and I ask for a price, tell it to me. Don't give me a line about needing to ask your manager, or needing me to fill out some paperwork. Give me the price. There is a lot on Clinton Hwy I recently walked out on because nobody would tell me the price. I got a huge spill about it depends on the color of the sky at the time, and the polar alignment of Venus and Mars. Maybe it was something else, I tuned them out when they started their preprogrammed speech. The funny part was watching the sales manager come running out asking me to come back in. Anyway, neither here nor there but sales managers, makes sure your salesmen have updated price sheets.

Assuming the buyer gets through all this, the next part is the haggling. I think a few people enjoy it, some go just to do it, personally I despise it. It takes forever, and a lot of running on the legs of the salesman running back and forth to the sales or finance manager. Personally I think they have a poker game going on in the back of the office, and its just an excuse to go play a hand. I can't give any advice on this, except when somebody starts to haggle, just take them to the decision maker and let them duke it out.

Dealers have received my advice, now buyers, here is some for you. If you are 2 months late on 6 credit cards, have 2 repossessions and a pending foreclosure, be honest with the salesman. Some lots have financing that can help, others don't. But if you lead the salesman on and waste his time, and their finance departments time, then they find out all this on your credit report, you lose all bargaining position. When you great the salesman, tell him what you are after(car, truck, etc) also tell him your financial standing, along with any positive( been on the job 12 years). Let the salesman know up front what they are looking at. It helps everybody for you to be honest.

Buying a car does not need to be a stressful endevour. Once you find a lot/salesperson you trust, it makes it easier. There are several lots I have been too that I haven't bought from, but because of the nice sales people and their business ethics, I will someday buy from.

  • Preston at Lance Cunningham Ford. I have bought 2 cars from this gentleman, and the experience is always awesome
  • Cars Etc in halls TN. I have yet to buy from here, but will at some point because they are upfront and honest in all the dealings I have had with them.
  • Cogdill Dodge I have bought from before, and may again someday.

I obviously am not going to post the ones I had problems with( all I need is some greedy lawyer trying to sue me) but use your head when shopping.


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