Two heads are better than one. When approaching the car buying experience we suggest a few strategies when going to the dealership with your partner. Car Buying Advocate and President of Women-Drivers.com, Anne Fleming suggests it really works for you to have your partner join you. After all, they can add support – a second opinion, or be the better voice of reason - a reminder that you that you don’t necessarily need the $3,500 upgrade package.
- Research the Cars. Know what types of cars you want to buy – make, model, features. Narrow it down to 2 or 3 models with the help of your partner. This will save you time running between dealerships.
- Research the Dealerships. Do business with Gay Friendly and Women-Drivers Friendly™ dealerships. Visit GayWheels.com and Women-Drivers.com to read reviews on consumers 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 in the dance or negotiating.
- 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. Be sure to have your partner remind you of what payment you can reasonably afford.
- 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. September and October are when the new years models are unveiled, and dealerships are ready and willing to work out 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 deal.1
- 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."Backup what you say with actions.2
- 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 salesman hanging. It's your hard-earned money- stay empowered.
- A Good Deal is whatever YOU say. Going to the car dealership is like going to Target or Tiffany’s. You made a purchase and you got a good deal. Why? Because you said so! Don’t listen to other opinions about your exchange and what you paid for. Do remember, in the dance of negotiating, the other guy needs to make money, too.3
- Take it for a test drive. Your partner will be able to help notice things in this case that maybe you wouldn’t. He or she can try the passenger seats, see if the door opens wide enough, determine if there is adequate foot or backseat space. If you drive the car during the day, come back and take it for another test drive at night. Make sure that the headlights, interior lights and fog plans work for you. Your road-test minded partner will be able to give you their feedback as well. 4
- 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.
- Don't do business with a salesperson who 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 sales person, or leave the dealership. There is another dealership that is a better fit and will be happy to work with you.
- Express Yourself. Register for free and write a review about your visit at the dealership on Women-Drivers. Share your experience with others and help them locate Women-Drivers Friendly™ dealers in your city.
1 The Truth About Cars, 2006
4 Car Buyer’s Bible, 2006
Women-Drivers.com connects women & families with certified Women-Drivers Friendly™ dealerships. Consumers rate their Browsing, Purchasing and Service experiences at 16,500 dealerships in the United States. The company markets Women Satisfaction Index™ subscriptions which provides personalized analytics showing what women really experience, allowing dealerships to improve their level of service to this powerful purchasing group.
Contact 412.327.2604 to schedule Anne Fleming for an interview. Learn more at www.womendrivers.com.