Once The Decision Is Made, Make It a Fun Project!

Automobile and salary negotiations occur often in most of our lives. Whether we are buying a car, settling a debt, or going for a salary increase, we are negotiating.

I believe that buying a car can be fun. After all, we can choose to buy a used or new vehicle. We are making all of the decisions. Sure, it's hard to part with all that money or commit to lease payments or a loan.

But, once the decision is made to do it - try to make it a fun project.

Negotiating the Purchase of a Car!

This is a fun thing to do if you can find a way to enjoy the process. Keep in mind that the salesperson is experienced and well trained in the art of negotiating. You may not be.

The salesperson wants two things to happen:

  • They would like to have a happy customer who sends other people to them.
  • A healthy commission.

The customer also wants two things:

  • A pleasurable experience.
  • The lowest price possible on the car.

The typical car salesperson will try to befriend you. They will ask lots of questions, pretending to have a genuine interest in you and your family. Usually, that is not the case. They are trained to look for that which will help them make the sale.

They may try "low-balling", which means mentioning an (unrealistic) attractive price that will keep you interested. Another tactic is to state a high price for the vehicle, but quickly inform you that the price can reduced. This provides negotiating room.

Soon the discussion is likely to get muddled with all sorts of details. These are: MSRP, financing, trade-in value, and extras. Remember, these facts are everyday information for the salesperson.

After what seems like hours, your information is taken to a "sales manager". Two things are designed to happen during the salesperson's departure.

  • You will be allowed to discuss this with the person you came in with or allowed time to think about it. (I often wonder if they "bug" the room.)
  • The salesperson will return with the bad news. Remember, he or she is your friend and the sales manager is the bad guy. There may even be a deadline after which the "Sale" will be over. (This is a typical, but fictional story.)

Buyer Is The Boss!

Before setting foot into a dealership, I know exactly what I want. I know every feature, the color, etc. I've checked Edmunds.com, TrueCar.com, or KBB.com and the manufacture's website. I know the wholesale and retail price and what the car usually sells for.

Then when I get to the showroom, if I'm dealing with a salesperson, I'll let them know that I will be working with, at least, one other dealership. I ask them, "Do you want to compete?"

However, I prefer to deal with the owner or the sales manager directly.

I'll go through all of the features and colors with the salesperson as they may be able to explain some things to me in more depth. They may have an insight that I had not thought about.

Of course, they will want to sell me a car that they have on the lot. Seldom is there a car that has every feature that I want. And considering the cost of the car, I deserve to have exactly what I want. So, invariably, I end up ordering the car to my personal specifications.

The buyer has the ultimate advantage. There is no need to abuse this fact, but the buyer has the money and the ability to go elsewhere.

Most of the negotiating tactics that are available to the dealership are also available to the buyer. As the buyer you too can:

  • Set a deadline.
  • Play the "good guy - bad guy" game.
  • Keep the following items separate: new car cost, trade-in value, extras, and financing.

The best time to buy a car is the last day of the week, last day of the month, or better yet, the last day of the year. I once bought a used car for my daughter on the last day of the year, in a blizzard. They had to bring the car inside to melt the ice so we could take a test drive.

It was many years ago, but the list price of the used car was $7800. I told them that my budget was $5000. After over two hours, they said okay to the $5000.

When the paperwork was presented for a signature, there were extras: sales tax, license fee, etc. I told them that they was a problem and reminded them that my budget was $5000.

In their mind, they had made the sale. Finally, they made the necessary adjustments. I paid $5000. Now, I ask you: "How many times have you purchased a car and found out that they had tacked on some extra expenses?" In this example, I was able to use the tactics (get you sold on the deal, then add extras) that they typically use - to my advantage.

Remember, buying a car is a business transaction. Keep the emotions out of it. The dealership, I promise, will not get emotional. Try it. I know it works!

Salary Negotiations!

Either you are applying for new job or you deserve a raise. This can be tricky. You don't want to price yourself out of a job, yet you need to get paid what you are worth.

In both situations, the main rule is to be patient. After all, getting the job at the right salary or wage or getting a raise is the primary objective.

The temptation is to explain that your expenses are increasing and you need your pay to keep pace. That, however, has nothing to do with what the job pays. It is your worth to an employer that is of value. No employer wants to lose someone that is valuable to the business.

If you are awesome at your job, you should be able to get the raise. I was an employer for over 35 years. We expected people to become more valuable to the business. We had no problem giving raises. We, also, were willing to suggest that employees find other employment that suited them better (aka "You're fired!").

If a prospective employer asks you what salary you would require, tell him that it depends on the position and the responsibilities of the job. Both of you need to be reasonable and realistic.

It will, also, depend on commissions, bonuses, benefits, hours, promotions, growth opportunities, and projected salary increases. For a any interview, it will help to have documentation of another offer.

Of course, timing is everything. When times are good and the business is making lots of money, go for it. When the economy is poor, it may not be the best time to seek a raise or find another job.

Automobile and salary negotiations may be difficult, particularly for some people, but knowing some of the negotiating tactics can make it easier.


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