Car Dealer Tricks: Beware The “Closer”

November 3, 2010
You’ve been haggling over the price of the new car you want to buy for well over an hour. You’ve done well. You arrived at the dealership committed to paying no more than $21,000 for the new car. And you knew that you needed to get at least $6,500 for your trade. No matter how hard your salesperson has tried, you haven’t budged off your figures.

You’re confident you’ll eventually get the deal you want.

Finally, the salesperson excuses himself and takes your final offer to his manager for approval. You’re very close to wrapping it up. You sit back, relax and wait for the final word.

The Closer

You couldn’t be more surprised when a strange man walks up and sits down in your salesperson’s chair. He introduces himself as the dealership’s Sales Manager. Your shoulders sag as he begins going over the basics of the deal. You realize that he is not only a fresh face with renewed energy, but he’s starting from the beginning. All your hard work at negotiating the deal for the last hour and a half is down the drain. You wonder if you have the energy to do it all again.

When I was Internet Manager for a major car dealer I was also used as a “closer” for other sales staff. On the surface, sending in a closer makes sense: a fresh face with a different negotiating style can help get things moving if negotiations have bogged down. A new face may see an opportunity for compromise that the regular salesperson missed. It’s also an opportunity for the customer to develop a different, and possibly better relationship that can help both sides come to terms.

The Dark Side

No matter how noble the motives for sending in a closer, inherent in the process is a dark side that can work against the customer. As we saw in the example above, a fresh face can wear down the resolve of a customer. Too often when faced with the closer’s vigorous new approach, customers simply give up to get it over with.

However, there are also specific tactics that closers use to get a determined customer off their figures. It’s those tactics that we investigate in tomorrow’s article.

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