When selling your car for the first time, you may find yourself relying on what other people said, be it your parents, co-workers, or even your neighbors. You take their words as a guide in dealing with a buyer. How can you be sure if these are true? On the other hand, if you’re an expert car dealer, sometimes, you’ve embraced old habits out of a good experience and accepted them as sure-fire tricks to selling cars. It might have worked for you or for someone then, but acting based on these myths could end up badly for you.
These misconceptions either limit your selling powers or place you on the pedestal too high. The ultimate goal is selling your car for the most reasonable and highest price possible. To do this, sometimes you have to think of what you’re doing and do the exact opposite. Here are myths about selling cars you should stop believing:
Car salesmen are dishonest.
If you think about it, those who lie often in this industry are the ones on the other side of the spectrum — the buyers. It’s not a bad thing as it is just a way for them to have control in a situation that involves a lot of intense sales pitch and now-or-never pressure. Anthony Curren, a marketing manager at Rick Curren Auto Sales, finds that car salesmen are quite the opposite of dishonest.
“I’ve found that the most dishonest people in the car buying industry tend to be customers. They will mislead about how much money they have to put down, what kind of payment they can afford, and what kind of offers they have gotten elsewhere. Obviously, this isn’t an attack on customers. They tend to be unsure and feel uncomfortable with the car buying process, so their dishonesty gives them control over the situation. Ultimately, if you go to the right place, you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. If you aren’t sure, go somewhere else and see if you feel more or less secure with your buying decision,” says Curren.
Overpricing for the sake of negotiating.
When selling cars, there’s this mindset of overpricing in the anticipation of a major negotiation with buyers. Shayrgo Barazi, automotive engineer and founder of CarSumo further explains, “It is a well-known practice in the automotive industry, as well as others, to overprice items so that they may be negotiated to the buyer. This is done primarily for two reasons. The primary reason to overprice is that buyers have come to expect sellers to negotiate. There have been many instances where I personally listed a vehicle with a firm price and buyers insisted on negotiating despite my being up front that the price was non-negotiable. To avoid these scenarios it’s common to overprice cars, property, or other items.”
In this generation where everything can be found on the internet, buyers already know the average price of the car they want. You’ll probably get a lot of snorting from buyers seeing your overpriced listing. Study and review other sellers’ prices and put up a reasonable price to grab buyers’ interest.
Holding potential buyers until the end of the month.
It is common for car buyers to shop around at the end of the month. It is also known that car dealers have a monthly quota automakers have laid out for them. When they’re still short of sales, they tend to become desperate when the end of the month is approaching. Some dealers bend prices to the lowest they can just to reach their quotas and those are the ones car buyers are hunting for.
“Car buyers do indeed shop around at the end of the month because dealerships try to meet the goals laid out to them by the automakers. This may work at some dealerships, but if the dealer has already met their goals for the month they won’t be so inclined to offer discounts. When this happens smart car shoppers typically shop around at a few dealerships until they sense that one hasn’t met their quota and is in a position to discount the vehicle,” adds Barazi.
For direct sellers, however, they are likely to hold potential buyers in the hopes of getting better deals, but car dealers are also going the extra mile to get buyers. Even if it’s not what you’re asking but you know for yourself that it’s a great deal, grab it!
People in suits have a lot of money.
If you think you have a higher chance selling your car to a man wearing a suit than a man wearing shorts, then you’re wrong. On the other hand, if a buyer looks like a vagrant, you should not assume he doesn’t have the money to match your price. Assuming someone’s buying power on his clothes is not something you would want to rely on when negotiating.
The benefit of omission
What you don’t know can’t hurt you is a common attitude of car sellers in which they intentionally withhold a vehicle’s unpleasant history just to keep the buyer’s interest.
“When going to sell a vehicle, the key is to show the vehicle’s full history, and identify any potential issues that have occurred in its previous owner/s. This will not only show your buyer that you are looking out for their best interest, it will also help you better price your vehicle,” shares Roslyn Whitehurst of AutoCheck.
Buyers buy the “I’ll check with my ____” excuse.
It could be your boss, wife, husband, or mechanic. Bottom line is, the buyer knows it is your call. If you’re a dealer, for sure you have selling guidelines you follow and no boss can simply snap his fingers and change the rules of the game. Don’t waste time making excuses that it’s not up to you and you did everything you can. Instead, make the negotiation clear and straightforward.
Kelley Blue Book prices are definitive.
KBB is a great price point but it’s not as definitive compared to what everyone else is really paying for cars. More often than not, their prices are much higher than what people are paying. They go a few thousand more than the actual trade-in prices. Again, Kelley Blue Book is just a guide, but there’s no fine line in the world of selling cars. One must do an extensive research across all price sources within your area and not just rely on one blue book.
You need tricks and gimmicks to sell cars.
This could have worked once upon a time but car buyers are more sophisticated these days. Before speaking to you, you can safely assume that they have done their homework and have researched everything they could about the cars they want. Sales tactics won’t work. When selling cars you have to assume that the person you’re speaking to is armed with internet research and data — a lot of them.
“Usually, the first minutes of seller and buyer conversation is a battle of who-knows-better. They will test your knowledge so you have to be careful about statements you say. It safe to assume they know the answer to their questions, so don’t just guess,” explains Todd Eskow, owner of an auto repair shop in Edmonton.