To make car dealers compete for your business, you’ve got to put in a lot of work.
Dentist of dealership? If you ask 100 people if they would rather visit the dentist or visit a car dealership to buy a vehicle, I am confident it would be a pretty even response. As a former car salesman, I know there is a better way to buy cars.
How to make car dealers compete for your business?
Think about how the internet has changed the way we shop for the products we love and ask yourself why car dealerships still require you to visit their store to give you the information you need to make an informed buying decision when buying or leasing a new car.
The car buying experience is not enjoyable for most. So I have to pose the question: why don’t dealerships try to make it easier?
There are companies that currently offer an online car buying experience for pre-owned vehicles. The problem with them is that you cannot test drive the vehicle without putting down a deposit in most cases. In addition, there are costs associated with delivering the car to your door. There is currently no way to buy a brand new vehicle from a dealership without speaking to a dealership sales person.
When you reach out to a dealership that has the vehicle you want they will claim that you need to give them your credit information or come visit their store to give you the complete information you need to make an informed buying decision.
What’s the reason for this?
The reason there is no way to buy or lease a new car online is because the dealerships will not allow it. If they were to make it that easy, you would easily be able to compare deals between dealerships and that would be how to make dealers compete for your business. They don’t want that.
One of the things I was taught when selling cars is to tell my clients that if our prices were not competitive we would never be able to get anyone to visit our store. This is something I am sure you have heard from a car salesman if you have shopped for a car in the last couple years. They say that the internet has changed the way dealerships do business.
That statement is only a half-truth. It’s true if you are talking about the sale price of pre-owned vehicles. The problem is there are many other ways to be taken advantage of at a car dealership even if you get a great sale price. And if you are wanting to buy a brand new vehicle you will be hard pressed to even find an actual sale price.
To make dealers compete for your business, stay away from the dealership.
Dealerships put misleading ads all over the internet hoping to drive traffic to their store because once you are at their store; they’ve got you. Let me give you some examples of ads that mislead the consumer.
Lease this brand new SUV for $99 per month.
Sure, you can lease the SUV for $99; but you need to put $5,500 cash down.
The required down payment amount is in such fine print that you may not have even been able to read it. And certainly there’s not enough time if the ad appeared on a tv commercial to read the fine print. Not only that, but the payment does not include taxes, title, and dealer fees.
Get 25% off on all [Name of Vehicle].
Here’s the problem with this offer. The 25 percent is coming off of a number that no one has ever paid. That number means nothing. It would be like me offering my shoes for sale for 75 dollars and saying they are 25% off. I made up the first number of 100 dollars and no one paid it. Does that make the 25% off a good deal? Of course not! Those percentages off are nonsense. Ignore that noise.
Those are just a couple of examples I talk to my clients about. So what are we as consumers to do?
I say it over and over again. We need to make car dealers compete for your business. That means being informed and confident consumers. Make them play by your rules.
Get proposals over the phone
You can contact a dealership and get a proposal without visiting their store or doing a credit application. They know what they are willing to sell the vehicle for. Make them be transparent in their pricing. Ask them send it to you by email or text. They may be resistant but if we keep playing by their rules our kids will be buying vehicles the way we do. There are plenty of dealerships who will gladly be upfront and honest in their pricing.
We should reward those dealerships instead of those who still use smoke and mirrors. I tell my clients to simply call a few dealerships and see if they are willing to send you a proposal in writing on a vehicle you choose.
It will not be easy for you to convince them to play by your rules.
But here’s what to say:
Remind them that the proposal you want is a non-binding proposal.
You need to pick out and drive the car. Tell them you know what you want and that you will not be visiting their store without a proposal in writing first.
You see, buying a vehicle without stepping foot inside a dealership does a few things. It makes it easy to make dealerships compete which is the only way to be sure you do not get ripped off. If you only visit one dealership or if you only buy based off the sale price, chances are you are going to overpay. Make them play by your rules. You will get a far better deal that way.
In my time as a salesman, the customers who made me compete to earn their business always got the best deal. They didn’t have to visit the dealership because I knew I wanted to make a deal with them. I was willing to do it over the phone. A salesman is not going to lay down and give you the best possible deal unless they have to earn your business. The goal for a traditional car salesman is to sell the vehicle for as much as they can because every dollar that the customer saves is a dollar out of the pocket of the salesman and/or dealership. Veteran car salesmen, especially, are willing to compete, but you have to challenge them.
Your turn. Have you made dealerships compete? What was your experience? Tell us in the comments!