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11 Expert Tips for Going to the Dealership Alone


Women are so used to doing things, taking care of the family and taking care of the home, so it should be no surprise that 7 times out of 10 she is the one to go to the dealership and is the first line of offense when buying a car. These tips will provide a more empowered and smooth experience and transaction when buying a new car.

  1. Research the Cars. Know what type of car you want to buy - make, model, features. Narrow it down to 2 or 3 models. This will save you time running between dealerships.
  2. Research the Dealerships. Know what dealerships you want to do business with. Visit consumer rating sites like www.women-drivers.com to read reviews on women’s actual experiences while Browsing, Buying or Servicing a vehicle. Take the Negotiating Test to find out what type of negotiator you are and to receive customized negotiation tips – know your strengths and weaknesses. If buying a GM brand, Google the list of closing dealerships and start with those dealerships first.
  3. Take your time. Be sure you are buying a car that works for you – functionally, technologically, and financially. Do not fall in love with a car that you cannot afford. Remember that you will typically make payments for 3-5 years; be reassured that it is a payment you can manage for that period of time. In fact, after you’ve been to the dealership and know what their final offer is, visit sites like www.autotrader.com or www.autobytel.com and see if there are any other dealerships in your given mileage radius that are offering the car at a lower rate than your offer – log on with your blackberry or PDA right there at the dealership.
  4. Know when to shop. Go to the dealership during the day, in nice weather. Shop towards the end of the year or the end of the month. Summer months are still typically when new years models are unveiled, and dealerships are ready and willing to work out premium deals. Some dealerships impose quotas on their sales people to hit monthly numbers, so going to the dealerships the last week of the month can make a difference. And, shop towards the end of the day. A long day with no sales may prompt a salesperson to offer you a better offer.
  5. Be clear that about your expectations. Let the dealership know exactly what you are willing to pay and how much time you have to finalize the deal. Even bring in other offers and let them know “the lowest price wins.” Know what you are willing to trade your current car for, also. Backup what you say with actions. Do remember, in the dance of negotiating, the other person needs to make money, too.
  6. Don't sign the contract "just to get it over with." Salespeople are good at wearing buyers down. But if you give in to them, you will lose money. Unsure if you are purchasing the right car, or if the payment is something you can truly afford? Leave the dealership, return home and sleep on it. There is no need to feel guilty about leaving the dealership. It's your hard-earned money!
  7. Exclusively Deal Electronically™ Another way to buy a car is to exclusively deal electronically (EDE™). For those that know precisely what they want to buy, options included, are only interested in getting the lowest price, locate 4-5 dealerships in the area and contact the Internet Sales Manager via their website. You will get back 4- 5 different prices, and simply work with the lowest priced dealer. EDE™ saves time and your energy while fast tracking the entire process for.
  8. Take it for a test drive. Once the car selection is narrowed down have your partner, husband or friend drive with you in the car – they may notice things that you may have missed. He or she can try the passenger seats, see if the door opens wide enough, determine if there is adequate foot and backseat space. If you drive the car during the day, come back later and take it for another test drive at night. Make sure that the headlights, interior lights and fog plans all work for you. Your road-test minded friend will be able to give you his or her opinion as well.
  9. Get a Vehicle History Report. When buying a Certified Pre Owned or Used Car, make sure to receive a vehicle history report from a reputable source. You will need the Vehicle Identification Number (usually found on the windshield). This comprehensive report can uncover any hidden problems that the dealership did not make you aware of. It also includes mileage history, who has owned the car, how many people have owned the car and where it’s been. Use a top company like www.carfax.com. Finding out the car’s history is worth the $40 investment!
  10. Don't do business with a salesperson that is pushy, disrespectful or intimidating. You do have a choice and you do have the power. If the negotiation process is not working for you – or, if you don’t like the way the salesperson is talking to you, let them know what is not working. Be upfront and ask them to shift their tactics or tone with you. If there is no change in behavior, then, ask the General Sales Manager to assign you a new one.
  11. Express Yourself. Register (it's free) and write a review about your visit at the dealership on sites like www.women-drivers.com. Share your experience with others and help future car buyers locate women-friendly dealers in your city.

Written by Anne Fleming, Car Buying Advocate and President of Women-Drivers.com LLC. www.women-drivers.com connects women and families to Certified Women-Drivers Friendly™ car dealers. The site allows consumers to rate their Purchase, Browse and Service experience at dealerships nationwide. The company markets Women Satisfaction Index™ (WSI) reports to the industry showing what women really experience when visiting dealers. These analytics provides insights for dealerships to convert more browsers to buyers as well as pathways to educate and improve the customer experience.

Contact 412.327.2604 to schedule Anne Fleming for an interview. Learn more at www.womendrivers.com.