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Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Buying a car today can be one of the easiest purchases of your life  with no time waste if you have the right plan and know what to do. You can buy with complete confidence you are car agreementgetting a great deal while avoiding going through a long drawn out and what seems to be a painfully endless process.

With all of the endless amounts and sources of information available on the internet, from dealers, and from other sources it’s pretty easy to get totally frustrated, confused, and end up with a massive migraine. What you need more than information is a simple plan that will ensure you get a good deal without spending 3 weeks in research, shopping a 1/2 dozen dealerships and spending countless hours in painful negotiations going back and forth between the sales person and manager…Done that before?

These 6 steps will get you a great deal without wasting time and confrontation:

1) Connect! Approach the Dealer as a buyer. Your best offense when buying a car, contrary to popular belief, is to identify yourself as a buyer, not a shopper. Don’t be defensive, present yourself with wide open demeaner and approachable. This will actually make it easier for you and the dealer representative to make a connection. The customer that approaches a car dealer defensive and pushy tends to cause the dealership personnel to respond the same way.

2) Don’t make Price your greatest concern… Let the sales person know that the most important thing to you is NOT price but knowing, first, you are on the right car. This will be music to the sales person’s ears and assure a great connection. Communicate that you are confident than once the vehicle is perfect the dealership and you can come to agreeable terms. This is going to make the sales process quicker by reducing confrontation and later make getting your best terms even easier.

3) Make sure you are on the right vehicle. The single biggest mistake a buyer can make is buying the wrong product. Don’t put price in front of selection of the right vehicle. If the product is not right the terms can never be good enough! The best way to determine the right unit is not online or on the phone but at the dealership. A trick to make sure you are on the right vehicle is to look at the vehicles just above and just below what you think you want. Any interest on either of the other two product choices means you are not yet on the perfect product for you.

4) Get behind the wheel and test drive the vehicle. Dealerships love for you to drive their products. This makes the dealership feel like they have done their job and provides them with more confidence in giving you the information you want and their best price. Taking time to demonstrate the vehicle will save you time later and give both parties more confidence when negotiating.

5) Ask for a computer generated proposal. Ask the dealership if they could please present their offer to you electronically, rather than by hand. Because of technological advances the most customer driven auto dealers today utilize software technology to provide the buyer with computer generated proposals. The proposal should include price, trade figures, purchase and lease payment, down payments and interest rates all at one time.  Computer generated proposals avoid wasted time in the negotiations and unnecessary figuring by management. An electronic generated proposal should produce 9 or 10  purchase payments and  lease payment options and can take less time than it takes to fill out a credit app. This also reduces chances of mistakes and wasting time going back and forth. Computer generated worksheets guarantee a full disclosure, complete transparency, and a quick and easy negotiation process that is non-confrontational. Customer oriented Car dealers know that time is important to to the 21st century car buyer.

6) How do you determine a fair price? First of all,  franchised automotive dealers in the US operate on about the same net margins as a grocery store–about 2% net margin (after all expenses). Most car transactions generate more money to state and local taxes than profits for the dealer. For instance, the taxes in California are 8.75, so if the dealer has a mark up of 6% on a 20,000 car, they will have a gross profit (before any expenses) of 1200 while the state will collect almost 1800. Keep in mind the State of California isn’t even in the car business, doesn’t wash the car, service it, or inventory the products only promises you schools, roads and hospitals for the taxes they collected. If it were not for dealerships’ service departments and pre-owned cars, the car dealer wouldn’t be able to even stay in business to sell new cars. Can you find another dealer 50 miles away to sell for a couple of hundred less? Probably, but your local car dealer who you will be servicing your car with is a human being too. Remind him that you are a loyal service customer.

There is no reason that buying a car should be a painful or a long drawn out ordeal today. Most auto dealers are not interested in taking advantage of you and are extremely interested in making you happy. It is time wasteful to shop 5 locations to get a good deal.

Follow these steps when you are ready for something shiny and new. let your dealer know you are there to buy and make a connection with your sales representative. Be sure you are on the right car and ask that they present their proposal electronically. Follow this plan and you will have a great car buying experience, not waste valuable time, and know that you have received a great deal.