I just received a desperate call for help from a friend of mine. She lives in Connecticut on the East coast and I’m on the West coast in the San Francisco Bay Area. She had walked into her local car dealership browsing for a new car. The salesperson convinced her that with current incentives from the manufacturer, now was the best time for her to buy. He assured her that she didn’t have to worry about the selling price because he would make sure that she got more than a good deal.
A short time later my friend found herself at the salesperson’s desk about to sign the contract for her new car when a little voice inside began wondering if she was getting the great deal the salesperson told her she was getting. At this point my friend did the right thing: instead of signing the contract, she put down the pen and picked up her cell phone and called me.
Internet Research to the Rescue
After my friend explained what was happening I began asking questions. What’s the year, make and model of the car she was looking at buying? What was the selling price and trade-in value from the dealership? After checking online, it was obvious my friend was paying too much. In fact, she was paying almost two thousand dollars more for the car than she should. This was based on what others in her area have been paying for the exact same car. Then I checked trade-in values and I saw that the dealership was giving her about a thousand dollars less than what was considered to be fair in her area for her used car.
Next, I asked my friend to put the salesperson on the telephone. I started by identifying myself as an ex-Internet Manager for a major dealership on the west coast. He wasn’t impressed. The next thing I did was tell him that I had three minutes to try and save this deal for him. I told him that my good friend was ready to stand up and walk out if he didn’t bring his selling price down to a reasonable level. Unfortunately, he didn’t believe me and began lowering the price in fifty dollar increments.
Sixty seconds went by. I told him that he now had two minutes and the clock was ticking. I stressed how important it was for him to get his price in line with what others in the area were actually paying. He continued to dally and the clock continued to tick. He now had one minute and he still wasn’t taking me seriously.
What happened next? And more importantly, what websites did I use to do my research and find trade-in values and what others in my friend's area were paying for the exact same car. That’s in tomorrow’s article.