The Car Buying Process
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The Car Buying Process
Various “methods” are used by car salespeople. In general, however, a description of the process can be
condensed into a simple set of steps (which are actually taught to many salespeople during their training
sessions). The number of steps varies according to the source, but the basics are virtually the same.
Remember, car salespeople are not “evil.” They are simply doing their job. To get the “best deal,” you must
also work.
Step One: Establishment
Most people are more likely to buy if they feel comfortable with the salesperson. For that reason the
salesperson is urged to quickly establish a “relationship” with you. A firm handshake, name exchange (usually
including the repeating of your name), and an introduction to any other parties with you is compulsory. A good
salesperson will pay equal attention to spouses (or significant others), but often will pay less attention to
someone brought along to “help you” (unless the other person is a party to the deal such as a co-signer).
Step Two: Investigation
Here the salesperson will try to determine your interests. A good salesperson will ask questions to assess your
tastes, financial characteristics, and intentions regarding time of purchase. Beyond an assessment of your
tastes, questions may include some of the following. How much do you want your payments to be? How much
do you want to pay? How much do you want for your trade-in? How much do you plan to pay down?
(Usually the less information you give at this stage, the better off you will be.)
Step Three: Presentation and Demonstration
This step usually starts with the isolation of the vehicle. This is done to focus your interests. The salesperson
will often lead you around the vehicle pointing out its styling, safety, and convenience features. This is to let
you know as much about the vehicle as possible before you drive it.
The demonstration phase consists of your driving the vehicle. Usually, the salesperson will go with you.
However, many dealers will let you drive the vehicle alone if you provide a copy of your driver=s license and
proof of insurance. Driving the vehicle without the salesperson allows you and any others in your party to talk
openly about what you like about the vehicle without fear that it will later be used against you in negotiations.
During this phase carefully check the sticker price and look for any “dealer add-ons.” Common add-ons
include fabric protection, paint sealant, dealer prep, etc. Most of these items can be negotiated down to zero if
the vehicle is in sufficient supply.
Step Four: AIf I, Would You?@ (Negotiation and Write-up)
If you indicate that you want to think about the purchase or leave to drive a competitor=s vehicle, the
salesperson will usually try to move negotiations forward by asking if you are willing to buy the car today if
you are offered a great deal. This is the true start of the negotiation phase. If you are really interested, tell them
that you will buy if the deal is good enough. Otherwise, you usually will not be offered the “best deal possible”
because the dealer is afraid you will take the offer elsewhere to use as a bargaining chip.
Often at this point the salesperson will ask for the keys to a potential trade-in vehicle. Be smart regarding what
you leave in a vehicle. Although most dealers will not allow employees to rifle through your belongings, they
are trained to notice all that is “in plain view.” Don=t be surprised if after the test drive the salesperson begins
to talk about fishing or camping if you leave a copy of Field and Stream in your seat. (Sometimes copies of
flyers or printouts with information for competing vehicles may be strategically left in view to let the dealer
know that you are not “locked-in” on their vehicle.) Often, you will not see your keys again for a while.
Dealers seem to think that holding your keys increases your commitment. If you start to leave, it also gives
them time to send the manager to ask what is wrong or try to switch you to a different salesperson to try to help
restart negotiations. If this bothers you, remember that the keys are yours and you have every

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Simple Set Of Steps And Isolation Of The Vehicle. (June 14, 2021). Retrieved from