Tips on buying a Mazda from me
Or a used vehicle for that matter...Well of course from me! I'm not here to get you to buy a car from someone else! Though I suppose other salespeople may appreciate it as well. Plenty of what follows may seem to be self-serving and to a certain extent it is, but I promise that it will help you, the customer, as well.
1. Take the day off of work and come see me on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
There are many reasons for this tip.
- Friday and Saturday are obviously our busy days, so if you really want me to take my time to help you as much as I possibly can, don't show up when everyone else is showing up.
- Why not Monday then? Monday is the day that we are often finishing deals up from the weekend. We probably have deliveries scheduled and again, I can devote more time to you on the other days.
- Why should you take off of work? Because buying a car is a process. It is nearly impossible to do in the time between when you get out of your 9 to 5 job, make it over here, and when we close at 7pm. Will I stay late? Of course, but just as I plan to take my time with you and give you all the respect you deserve, it's easier for me to do that if I'm not missing my very late dinner and time with my family. Even car salespeople deserve respect, despite what you read online.
- The service department will be open. That means I can properly introduce you to the people you will be dealing with months down the road. I'm very fortunate that my service department has an excellent staff and reputation, and I want to be the one to introduce you to them.
- Will I sell you a car on Monday, Friday or Saturday? Well, of course. Don't be silly.
- I joke that the first part of my job is to make people stop acting like they've just stepped into the ring with Clubber Lang (that's a Rocky 3 reference for the younger people...look it up). I don't want to fight with you. I want to sell you a car, and more importantly, I want you to feel you had the best car buying experience of your life. Why? Because if you do, you're more likely to buy another vehicle from me down the road. You'll be more inclined to recommend me to your friends and family as the guy who made the process easy. That means I make more money. It has the added benefit of me feeling good about my profession.
- What is your natural reaction to a person that is standoff-ish, or even antagonizing? Do you want to help them? Will you go the extra mile for a person that is not treating you with respect? No. And I don't want to either. The Golden Rule doesn't stop when you step on to a car lot.
- I understand the the car business has quite the bad reputation. Heck, there are still plenty of dealerships that I would consider to be shady. But, I don't work at those dealerships. I'm about to celebrate my 3 year anniversary (update: over 4 years now - Editor Dave) here at Gem Mazda. That's a long time for a salesperson to be at one dealership. I've told many customers (some that bought and others that didn't) that I work here for a reason. I like the way we do business. I never have to feel bad about what we do here. And I hear stories, about other dealerships, which is why I'm staying right where I am.
- If you feel that we shouldn't make any money on a deal, how are we supposed to stay in business, so that we can continue to sell YOU cars over the years. The attitude of "just make it up on the next guy" doesn't work. Why? Well what if you're the next guy? Do I get to say that we sold the last guy at full sticker, so you we can lose money on? Even better, do I get to tell you that the last guy didn't let us make any money, so sorry you'll have to pay extra? Of course not. It's an antagonistic and unproductive way of dealing with anyone.
3. I don't have supernatural powers to make you buy a car.
- Tell me your name. Answer my questions. Come inside. All of the things I say or do, are to help you figure out which vehicle will work best for you. Here's the dirty little secret no one believes. I can't make you do anything you don't want to do! If I could, my job would be SOOOO much easier. By giving me information, you're allowing me to help you more effectively. That's it.
- Hopefully you're on my lot to buy a car (even if it's not that day). I have to be here all day, but you don't, so don't make it more difficult. Help me to help you. I need to know what it is you want to accomplish, so that I can help make that happen, assuming it is even remotely possible.
- What car do you want/need/desire? Are you looking for new or used? Sedan, hatchback, SUV, truck or convertible? 4, 6 or 8 cylinder? Blue, silver or chartreuse? Is the car for you, your significant other, your child, your dog? Who? I need to know this so we can maximize your time in finding the correct vehicle.
- Do you have a tag to transfer or need a new tag? In Florida there is about a $250 difference between the two. That affects your bottom line. And it is State regulated, meaning I can't make money off your taxes, tag, title or registration.
- If you're financing, I need to know what your credit is like. This affects the rate you're financing at, which in turn affects your payment. Additionally the lender may only approve you with money down. But I won't know that until we take a look.
- I need to know that you what you're looking to spend. Otherwise we may be looking at the wrong vehicle. If you have expectations of a $200 payment on a fully loaded Mazda6, we need to reassess your mental condition or at least your math skills, because that isn't going to happen (unless you have whatever down payment would be necessary to get you to that payment). If I know your budget I can help find a car in the correct price range for that payment. But speaking of money down...
- I need to know if you're planning on putting money down. Here's another secret. I don't care if you put money down or not. I know many of us can't afford to do so. However, let me know since it will change the payments I show you. Not because you'll get a better or worse deal, but because of math. Of course, you may not have a choice if the lender requires money down from you.
- If need to know if you're financing, or paying cash. I need to know that, because we often have different incentives based on which way you are wanting to buy. Note: the days of "Cash is King" are over. In the old days, it took a long time to get the money from the banks. Now we have electronic funds transfers, so it doesn't take any longer that depositing your check. Actually we usually make more money if you finance!
- I need to know if you are trading in your current car and what you are expecting to get for it. There is a school of thought that says to hold your trade out of the deal. The idea is to work me to death on the one you are buying, and then let me know about the trade, and ask for the top dollar on your trade. That just creates friction. Here's why. If I sell you a car at wholesale, I'm not giving you retail for your trade. Dealerships are in the business to make money (see the last bullet point under #2). If you want retail for your trade, then I want retail on my sale. If you want to buy at invoice, then I need to show you wholesale for your trade. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?
- Do you owe any money on your trade? If you do, guess what? We have to pay off the lien holder before any remaining equity can be applied to your deal. Conversely, if you have negative equity (owe more than it is worth), that still has to happen, which means your new purchase goes up the exact amount your are "upside-down" in your current loan.
- When are you planning on making a purchase? If it is anytime later than the end of whatever month we are in...the numbers I will give you won't be any good. Incentives from the manufacturer change monthly. Your trade value also changes all the time. I'm not opposed to helping a customer that isn't buying for another 3 months, but let me know that. If it is today, let me know that as well.
I'm certain I've forgotten some stuff. I'm sure I'll get negative feedback from the people who hate sales people, and car sales people in particular. But, hopefully this can help you when you go to buy a car. I can't guarantee that your salesperson works the same way I do. I can't say that they aren't at one of the shady dealerships. But if they are...maybe you should just come buy a car from me. I've already told you how to do it!