Everyone hears about how car salesmen are the worst, and how they will thoughtlessly rob their customers out of house and home to line their pockets on each car that they sell. It can help to actually put a figure on it — 25% of the profit that the dealership makes on sedans is what goes to the salesman. For hatchbacks, the commission earned can be as little as 5% of the profit made. In other words, it doesn’t make sense to think of car salesmen as rolling in money. Selling cars can be hard work, and salesman don’t make that much.
The point isn’t to sympathize with the car salesman’s position; it’s information that can actually help you have a more productive time at the dealership. Getting the commission out of the way can greatly help both you and the salesman. Many car buyers today offer the salesman a commission of their own — a tip of sorts. If you’re willing to do this, the tip will ensure that the salesman works with your interests in mind.
You don’t need to make a secret of the offer. You simply need to call all the dealerships that you might buy from, tell them that you’ve been doing your research and know what the going price is, and you expect them to work on a great deal for you, because you are willing to offer 4,500-peso tip to the salesman who comes to you with the best plan (which would be fair if you were, say, buying a Chevrolet Malibu for 450,000 pesos).
This is only the start. There are a number of other approaches that you need to adopt to make your time at the dealership work in your favor.
When you call the dealership, ask to speak to their top salesman
In many people’s minds, success in the car sales business can only come to those who are unscrupulous. While lowlifes do exist, though, they aren’t the norm. Duplicitous, doubledealing liars actually tend to not be very successful. They bring repute disrepute to their dealerships, and often don’t get very far in their careers. Those who do go far tend to be skilled at salesmanship, doing well both by their employers and by their clients. In general, working with the best salesman in any car dealership will nearly guarantee that you get a great buying experience.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking for the best salesman on the floor over the phone, you only need to go to the dealership, and look at all the salespeople standing out front waiting to pounce on anyone walking in. They are usually not the star performers. You can walk right past them and ask the receptionist or manager in person for the salesperson who has sold the most cars over the past several months. They are your man.
Drive a hard bargain
Twenty years ago, there was no way that consumers could ever really know what to pay for a car. Now, the best figures are all over the Internet, even ones for specific spec levels and dealerships. Do you research, and call the dealership with a figure lower than you’ve ever found anywhere. You should call as many dealerships as possible. You’ll usually find someone who really wants to sell one more car that day, and take you up on your offer.
Pursue the dealer
The best deals go not to those who simply make a call and then let the dealership try to get their business, but to those who continue to work every angle. One good angle is to bide your time. It’s always a good idea to keep watching the news for reports of sales slowdowns. It’s an even better trick to look for a day when sales are likely to be slow — such as when it’s snowing hard. No one’s likely to be walking up to the dealerships then. When you walk in, the dealership should be extra eager to get you to buy.
Don’t fall for the little scams
Unscrupulous salespeople can break every angle, too. Being aware of what these are can quickly help. You might go in with a figure in mind, but they could make you forget about it by coming up with a story about how you may have to wait weeks for the specific color that you have in mind, and how you could pay more if you want it right then. The Internet is full of advice on the little angles and tricks that salespeople work to get buyers to pay more. You do need to go in knowing what might happen.
Erik Hervas is a Marketing expert at Seminuevos.com, a company that publishes car listings in Mexico. We provide a friendly platform to help users sell their cars. And we bring buyers by promoting the listings through many channels. Erik has worked for many companies in marketing and he is currently seeking to succeed with Seminuevos.com. He graduated as Food Engineer in 2004 but after owning his business he decided to pursue a career in the Marketing field. He currently reside in Ecuador with his wife and two children.