When you say “used car salesman,” a very specific picture starts to form. Greasy, aggressive, sweaty handshake–everyone has had a bad experience with this type of pushy salesman. It is unfortunate, but when you need a vehicle at a low price, sometimes the only way to get the deal you need is to go to a used car dealership. The fact is that while the stereotype exists for a reason, many pre-owned lots are actually very reputable establishments with employees who genuinely want to give you a great deal. However, even when your defenses are already up, it can be difficult to spot the wolves among the sheep. Here are a few methods that can help you determine if you’ve found a gem or walked into the lion’s den.
When a company cares about their customers, it is reflected in the cleanliness of the establishment. A dirty bathroom, a disorganized desk, ripped waiting room chairs–anything of the like screams that this car dealership is too concerned with fooling customers with numbers to take the time to grab a scrub brush. If you feel uncomfortable sitting in the office, there’s a good chance you’ll feel uncomfortable driving away in one of their vehicles.
Ultimately, sales boils down to two major philosophies–the consultant and the peddler. The consultant is someone who genuinely wants to help you find something that will make your life better. This type of salesman wants to meet your true needs while educating you about what is available. On the other hand, the peddler has already decided what you’re going to buy before you’ve finished parking, and his goal is to convince you to take whatever he wants to sell. You’ll be able to spot the difference in their method of up-selling. The consultant will ask you questions, listen to your answers, and recommend several different options for you to choose from based on your needs. The peddler may ask questions, but he is merely looking for buzzwords in order to figure out which features he can push on you. This will be especially evident when you resist the first up-sale. The consultant will usually understand why a feature may not be important to you. They may potentially give a counter argument, but they will ultimately move on. In contrast, the peddler will continually return to his main selling feature, because whether you need it or not, whatever he wants you to buy gives him the biggest bump in commission.
For people not used to negotiation, navigating a used car dealership can be extremely stressful. It is perfectly natural to walk in with your defenses up and look around for any possibility that the salesman in front of you is a liar who wants to unload a crummy automobile on you. However, if you are armed with some knowledge about how to spot a charlatan, you can actually have a very wonderful shopping experience with the right dealer. Walk away immediately from any shady situation, but make sure to give the good ones a chance to impress you.