When you think about the things in life that stress you out -- dealing with your pain-in-the butt boss, being able to pay your bills, having way too many things on your to-do list, and financial worries probably come to mind. You get the picture. Things like buying a house or a car, or planning for a big happy event are probably less likely to come to mind. However, these can be just as stressful.
One recent client told me about his high anxiety shopping for a new car and how just stepping foot into the car dealership led to a panic attack. This isn't surprising. You see, when people make a big purchase such as a car, there's uncertainty and questions will abound: "Am I getting the best price?" "Am I buying the right car for my needs?" "Can I afford this?" "Is the salesperson pulling a fast one on me?"
These types of questions introduce doubt into a person's otherwise confident thinking. Theoretically, asking ourselves such questions ultimately leads to making a better, more informed decision. The problem is that people sometimes get stuck in this anxious mode of thinking and never act on the decision. This uncertainty leads them to feel fearful of outcomes that they think they can't control.
After a few coaching sessions the client mentioned above was in good shape and able to walk into the dealerships with a sense of confidence and purpose and get the car for the lowest price he possibly wanted to pay--not a penny more. And he didn't even read Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal.
Here's how you can get the best price:
1. Forget about negotiating.
You're not going to get into a back and forth with the dealership. Do your research and find out the True Market Value of the car, which reveals how much people in your area have paid for the vehicle. Edmunds.com is a good resource for this data. I recommend offering less than this value, by $500-$1000.
2. Look forward to buying your car.
See your visit to the showroom as an opportunity to get the car you want for the price you're willing to pay. That's it. So often people fear the dealer and they do so because they feel powerless. No need to when you're in control.
3. Educate yourself on cars and know what you want and need in a new one.
The more you know, the less you'll be influenced by the salesperson. This will safeguard you from the salesperson's appeal to your emotions by suggesting things such as "SUVs are safer than mid-size cars," or "You'll look great in a convertible with leather seats."
4. Change the dynamic.
Sure, they have something you want, but so do other dealerships. After you tell them the price you're willing to pay, simply walk away. By doing this you maintain control and then it's up to them to entice you.
5. Be strategic.
After you've stated your price and walked away, follow up at key times. At the end of a weekend shift is a good time because they may be trying to push cars out the door before the end of the week. This is also true at the end of the month as they try to hit certain sales numbers. Rainy days are good too because chances are not many people shop for cars when it's bad out and the dealer will be hungry to sell.
6. Be prepared to walk away guilt-free.
You're under no obligation whatsoever to buy, even if you've taken the car out for a few hours -- or an entire day like I once did.
7. Advertise their dealership, but only for a fee.
You know those customized frames around license plates that you see or the dealer's logo adorning the back bumper, well that's advertising for the dealer. Tell the dealer you're happy to do that for them, but they'll have to knock $500 off the price. Works like a charm every time.
So, rather than fear the dealer and car buying experience, implement the sevens tips above and embrace buying your new car. Look forward to it and know that ultimately you sign on the dotted line and only when you agree to your terms, no one else's.