Somehow, cars have a masculine tag. It may be a remnant of the way cars were seen at one time. Today, when it comes to private cars, men are in the minority; women buy and drive most cars, and also control nearly every family car buying decision. Studies have observed time and again that women tend towards greater patience and careful research when they make buying decisions, too. While men are known to go with emotional dreams, women are known to favor deep, practical thought.
In other words, women are the ideal car buyer.
Oddly, in spite of personally experiencing the shift towards female car buyers, car salespersons often cling to old beliefs. They do not expect female car buyers coming in to be well-informed and in charge of their purchase.
To car buyers, it’s always an advantage to be underestimated; salespersons tend to let their guard down with women. If you are aware of this advantage, you can use it to arrive at a better deal. Going in educated about the buying process, they usually find far more success than men.
It’s all about the price that the dealer pays
According to Car-Buying-Strategies (www.car-buying-strategies.com/car-buying.html), starting the process knowing the dealer’s price is the best chance that anyone has of striking a fair price. Unfortunately, most buyers tend to be under the impression that it is the invoice price that represents dealershipâ€™s cost of merchandise. This isn’t completely true, though. While the invoice price is easy to come by on Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, Car Buying Strategies and various other dependable car pricing websites, the price includes a couple of holdbacks, fleet buyer concessions being one among them.
It’s important to go in with an invoice price, but also to let the dealer know that you’re aware of the 2% or 3% in holdbacks that the figure includes. You want to begin negotiating using the real invoice price as the baseline.
Search hard for rebates and cashback programs
Car buying information is easy to come by online. Edmunds, for instance, runs a section called Incentives and Rebates that offers information on every low-interest finance deal, cashback program and rebate program seen around the country. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the best deals online. If you see a spectacular offer a specific model, variant or color, you might decide to get it.
Inquire about Internet-only deals
Every car dealership runs an Internet sales desk that offers special pricing to buyers who are willing to conduct their business over the Internet, rather than in person. You should start by emailing every dealership in your area for the models that you are interested in to ask for their lowest quotes. You will usually find that the highest and lowest bids for your business are thousands of dollars apart.
It’s possible to take the lowest bid and shop around further. As you look around and keep writing to the dealerships, you will begin to develop a working business relationship with a couple of them. With a friendly relationship comes the possibility of fair treatment. It can be far easier to allow such friendliness to develop over email than over the phone or in person. It’s also far more possible to be tough online when you need to. You may not manage it in person.
Line up your financing elsewhere
Clubbed deals are always harder to work with. You want to separate your deals — car buying, car financing and trading in your old car if you want a clear picture of what you’re doing. You even want to make the buying of accessories and extras a separate process. There’s a vast aftermarket out there, and you can buy online to save. When you do it all at one dealership as part of a single deal, you give the dealer too much room to hide what’s really going on.
Read their expression
Once you truly have the best deal that you can find, you need a push for more. Ask for things like free oil changes for a year or two. If you’re really pushing hard for a good deal, the salesperson shouldn’t be all that pleased with you. If he seems pumped up, happy and willing to shake your hand when you’re ready to sign, something’s wrong. It means that you left some money on the table. You havenâ€™t done all you can, and you need to push harder.
Paul Hollins became a personal finance blogger after layoffs at the car showroom where he worked for 7 years. He writes on a number of topics from home repairs to food bills and more to save his readers money.