The danger in "the book".

by Dom Genova

Every once in a while, I come across a customer who has obviously read one of “those books” on how to negotiate a deal. You may have come across one of those books. They talk about tactics to use against the dealer.

I'll list a few of the tactics:

  • Go to the dealer the last day of the month, a couple of minutes before closing, make them stay late. The pressure motivates them to make a deal.
  • Call a competing dealer on your cell phone in front of the salesperson you are currently negotiating with, it motivates them to work for you thinking that they will lose the sale.
  • Have a surrogate (father, friend) be an intermediary (protector) for you so you have to commit to nothing as they are not the buyer. 
  • Tell the dealer you have no trade-in then bring it in when you come to pick up your car and re-negotiate the deal. By that time, the paperwork is all done and you have the dealer at a disadvantage.
  • Shop at least 6 dealers on your price and get the biggest discount.

These tactics may not be in your best interest, and not because they are frustrating for me, but let me explain:

If you come in the last day of the month (or second to last) and need a unique vehicle in another dealer’s inventory, the dealer you see may not have the ability to get it for you from that other dealer. The other dealers are busy trying to do their own business and may not take the "trade call". (This happened this month.) You may lose out on the car and the deal you want. Think of it like a football game - you need to have enough time on the clock to execute your play. You could be shooting yourself in the foot by a pressure play like this.

Calling another dealer while you are in front of a salesperson who is trying to help you tends to erode a relationship. I would not be married now if I called another woman while on a date with Nita! Shopping another dealer is fine, doing in front of my salesperson in order to pressure him....... well it's not nice. (happened this month too). I have a name for people who do this and show so little respect for my salespeople and it's a naughty name.

If you have a “surrogate” negotiate for you the communication tends to be very muddled. The surrogate will never be as clear on your wants or needs as you are yourself. Also, I find that “surrogates” tend to have to show that they got you something you were incapable of getting yourself. 

“Springing a trade” on the dealer at delivery can backfire. You have a signed legal contract that a dealer can enforce without the trade in if he wants. You can legally end up with two cars.

The “biggest discount” may not be the best deal. This month we found a customer was going to buy a vehicle from another dealer because it appeared to have a “bigger” discount. There were two problems with the figures, however. The bottom line price was bumped by $500 in “fees” and the vehicle he was looking at had $1,500 more equipment than he wanted. (Why pay for something you do not need?) He bought here and ended up with what he really wanted for $2,000 less than the other dealer. Some options are worth it; some are not. Who wants the "high discharge headlamps" for $1,800?

I think if I were to sum this up I would say that the issue is what is your objective? I have seen customers who were simply looking to “win” not getting what they actually want! 

Be careful, no matter where you shop!