It is like a scene out of an old detective movie. You sit across the table from each other, a single light bulb swinging between you. The room is dark and the tension is so thick you could cut it. He slides a cup of water across the table in your direction and gives a smile. No one wants to be the first to speak and you feel the sweat beads forming on the back of your neck as you wait for him to answer.
He looks up at the ceiling and says those fateful words:
“Let me go talk to my manager.”
Buying a car doesn’t have to be a scene from a terrible movie. It can be positive and end in you getting a good car. . . without the invisible manager ever getting involved at all. You just might need to think outside the box and be willing to approach the process differently. Here are five tips that might help.
1. Stay Out of the Room
Sometimes, the room where it happens is your living room, before you even go to the dealership. There is a back door to every dealership on the internet and you can connect with internet salespeople from your couch. This can make it easier to avoid emotional pressure and simplify the process of comparison shopping.
Do your research using manufacturers’ websites to “build” your dream car, and then do some online shopping and research. Make calls, ask for best deals, upcoming sales, etc. Hold fast if they try to pressure you into coming in. Start the process with plenty of online footwork and you can enter the dealership ahead of the game.
2. Think Like an Auctioneer
In this auction, you are going for the lowest bid, not the highest. After your internet and telephone work, you will probably have a list of top prospects. Now is the time to do some footwork and head to the dealerships themselves. Take a look at a car, drive it around, and get the absolute lowest price that the dealership can offer you. Then say, “Thank you, I’ll be in touch,” and head to the next dealership with that number in hand. Repeat the process and see what happens as dealerships learn what the competition is willing to offer.
Does this mean more work? Yes. Does it mean you’ll likely get a lower price? Also yes.
3. Stick to the Plan
This one is tough. It’s the same reason all the candy bars are right by the cash register–it is so tempting to just add one more goodie to the shopping bag! Once you fix a price and get the check for that amount from either your checking account or financial institution, take that check, and only that check, to the dealership. They will try to throw in countless bells, whistles, protections, and plans. If you want a warranty, work it out in your original negotiations. Don’t let them add a Snickers at the last moment.
4. Timing Matters
It can take some patience, but waiting for the best time to wheel and deal and find the best price can pay off for you. While Saturdays and Sundays might be the most convenient times, they are also the busiest times at the car lots. This means lots of customers vying for the salespeople’s attention, which decreases their willingness to take time with you and lowers the urgency to make the sale.
Dealerships often have goals and quotas for their salespeople. A salesperson might be anxiously working for that last sale that will get them the bonus they’ve been working on for months. That hunger will work in your favor during the bargaining process! These quota goals are usually wrapping up at the end of the month or the quarter, so it might be worth trying to schedule car shopping around those times.
5. Think About a Rebuilt Title Car
If you are looking for a great deal on a great car, then thinking differently at the beginning of the search might get you closer. You may have heard the term branded title car. This is the umbrella term for cars that have had an insurance-related incident. Some of those cars can be restored to like-new condition and sold as a “rebuilt title car” or “restored title car.”
These rebuilt cars provide a fantastic way to get a good car at a good price. All used cars have some damage, but many come with the wear and tear of miles and years. Rebuilt cars aren’t necessarily old cars. In fact, they may not have been used much before the insurance incident. In the right hands, those cars can be restored to their former glory and function beautifully for years to come.
These cars are rebuilt by experts and pass an inspection that allows them to be “retitled” and insured again. This means that a buyer can get a newer car with lower mileage for a much better price. It might feel risky, but it’s often a very safe and reliable way to get a great deal on a car.
If you’re local, call our branded title dealership in Utah, and we can find you the right match. If you’re not from Utah, contact us to learn how we can get you a great deal on a rebuilt title car and arrange for you to pick it up–or, we can deliver it right to your driveway. (We ship more rebuilt title cars nationwide than most any dealership in the U.S.)
There are so many ways to shop for a car, and many of those ways create stress. It does take work to get the price you want for the car you want, but that work doesn’t have to involve sitting across from a salesperson and sweating each other out. Take your time, explore every option, and be patient. You’ll find the right fit.