Hey, if you're in your pajamas you've got to be at home, and that's exactly where your vehicle search should begin. Why is this important? When I was actively selling cars as Internet Manager for a major car dealer, I compiled a list of the most common mistakes my customers made when buying new and pre-owned vehicles. These mistakes cost consumers hundreds, and often thousands of dollars more than necessary. This article is the first in a series entitled, "Top 5 Mistakes New Car Buyers Make."
The first mistake most car buyers make is to begin their car buying experience by walking in the front door of a major car dealer and exclaiming, "Help! I need a car NOW!" The sales staff that runs to help this customer undoubtedly has a big smile on their face, and hopes to get to this most generous customer before any other sales staff grabs them.
Where to Begin
The truth is, it really doesn't matter if you're in your PJs or not. What's important is to begin shopping for a new or used car on the Internet. The last thing you want to do is start the car buying process by walking in the front door of your local dealership. Do that and three things tend to happen:
1. You may be directed to a vehicle the dealer wants to sell, and not the best car that fits your needs.
2. You'll begin negotiating from the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP or sticker price) or higher. It's much more difficult to get a great selling price when you start at the top of the price range Why not begin negotiating closer to what you actually want to pay?
3. Sales staff are trained to get customers to buy now--TODAY! Many is the customer who went into a car dealership just looking, and drove out a few hours later surprised that they had just bought a new car. Stay in control. Stay away from the dealership until you're ready.
Begin Your Vehicle Search Online
There are many websites to use when researching the vehicle you want to buy. You can check out a 360-degree tour of the vehicle, inside and out. Check the specifications, colors, and even what other consumers say about the car. You can also research everything you need to know about price. In fact, before you walk into the dealer's showroom you should already know the dealers Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), the dealer's invoice price, what the dealer actually paid for the vehicle, as well current incentives available.
Not sure which tools to use to get all this information? See my previous article, "Save Big on Your Next Vehicle Purchase: Tools to Use."
Tomorrow we take on Mistake #2 - Not Comparative Shopping.